Cutting Dry Walnut

Yes, that wood is hard. August 31, 2005

A neighbor brought a piece of walnut over this evening 4" thick, 14" wide and 9' long. It was twisted and had some cup due to drying. It was bone dry. My 18 hp mill would barely cut the 14" width. Blade and bearings smoked, but I finally trued the lumber. It is going to be a mantel. That was all my mill could ever handle. Anyone else had anything like that? I'd rather cut through a bolt.

Forum Responses
Maybe there's a reason the military used walnut for most rifles, till recently.

Maybe it came from a tree like the one I cut last month. The walnut tree was about 30" in diameter. I started cutting with a new chain on the chainsaw and it felt like the blade was as dull as a hoe. Had to sharpen the chain with every gas tank fill-up. A friend that worked in a furniture factory said that walnut that has grown next to a dirt road will be so hard that it has to be steamed to work. I haven't put it on the mill yet, so I don't know how it will saw up.

I sawed some walnut last weekend that the guy said was down between 10 and 20 years. The log was only around 18 to 20 inches in diameter, and was dry all the way through. My blades, Wood-Mizer Double Hards, dulled fairly quickly, and the cutting speed was slower than normal.

From the original questioner:
That might have been the case. My blade wasn't fresh but still had a lot of cutting left. Even though I only took 1/4 to 1/2 inch off each face, some pinching might have occurred. The main bog was the hardness.

Sawed a walnut last summer that was felled in 1978 and was under the shed beside the barn since then. No one with a circle mill would saw it for him, as it came out of a field. I sawed it and there was no metal. We made 16 very nice 1x12's and it was dry to the core. Sawed about as easy as fresh walnut, just needed a bit more water.