Value of Dead Standing Oak

Moth-killed Chestnut Oak (also called Rock Oak) need not be felled immediately, and can produce valuable boards and timbers. October 1, 2009

We are 50 acre woodlot landowners and have about 250 trees marked to cut because they died in the last few years from gypsy moth and drought. We have cut and marked some logs over the year ourselves with a tractor and Farmi winch. Itís too dangerous for us to cut and we are approaching someone with a feller buncher to do the cut. We will skid and market. We are not getting much dollar interest in the cut. We will probably end up marketing some nice firewood but my question is this - will this dead oak make good timbers for framing or something more valuable? I hate to see the nicer trees go down the road for $300 a load. I'm thinking of buying a bandsaw mill to square timbers for framing?

Forum Responses
(Sawing and Drying Forum)
From contributor A:
I am considering buying a Cooks Mp-32. I like chestnut oak for furniture. I have also heard it called rock oak but I want to make sure we are talking about the same wood.

From contributor S:
Chestnut oak and rock oak are the same thing, marketed commercially as white oak, although itís really a different tree than white oak. If your logs are big enough, you can get lots of good lumber from the butt logs and second cuts, beyond that the lumber gets knotty pretty quick, but making any kind of timbers would be great. $300 a load is too cheap.

The lumber biz is dead right now, you would be better off to leave them there and cut down a few for firewood/lumber when you need them. The standing trees don't rot away as quick as you think. The smaller logs will get checked up but your bigger butt logs will last a long time as standing dead timber. Hire a guy to cut skid to your landing and pay by the hour, or get someone to just fell the trees for you and drag them out with your tractor.

If they are 12" and up and at least 8' 8" long, a load of oak "tie logs" should bring at least $750 in PA, but that depends on your local market, and how far gone the dead trees are. I cut a lot of chestnut oak here, and it actually opens up better than regular white oak, so don't sell your butt logs off too cheap if you have any use at all for the wood. Good Luck and be careful.

From Gene Wengert, forum technical advisor:

Chestnut oak is a white oak, but the pores are not plugged like most white oaks. Hence, it cannot be used for barrels that will hold liquids. It does make a fine white oak wood with the heavy rays, so it is a good overall white oak wood.