Apple log

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    Hi all,

    I wonder if any of you have experience of seasoning wood that you’ve felled yourselves?

    Last weekend I had the onerous job of removing some espalier apple and pair trees that had been forming a border with the next door garden. Three of the trees were pretty small and in not very good shape, the fourth though was quite a sturdy specimen. This fourth (apple) tree has now been felled and is currently outside waiting for me to do something with it. It’s probably about 1.8 metres long and probably about 30cm in diameter. As you can imagine, given that it’s probably still full of sap, it weighs a ton, well probably nearer 100kg at a guess. I can just about pick one end of it up and stand it on it’s end, but that’s about it, and I would say I’m a reasonably strong bloke. It’s too heavy to drag at the moment.

    Anyway, the question is what to do with it. The easy thing would be firewood, but it seems such a shame given that it looks like such dense, clean, tightly grained wood. Would you try and dry it out (seasoning it?)? Anyone have any tips for doing this (always assuming I can somehow man-handle it into a suitable location for drying)? Is it sensible to try to do this yourself.

    Any tips gratefully accepted.


    Yorkshireman currently living in Hampshire


    While I’m no expert, I can offer some advice; dry the log either indoors or outdoors, supported so it does not lay directly on the ground. If you dry the log indoors, be warned that you may be bringing pests along with it! You will want to support it at either end and in the middle. Covering the log is optional, but better to cover it than not. Be sure to leave air space; do not try to seal out the elements, but rather give the log some protection from direct rainfall without hindering airflow. Apple will need at least a half year to a year, perhaps longer, to dry/season properly.

    George Bridgeman

    Hi Jon,

    It’s certainly worth drying it if you’ve got space. How you do it depends on what you want to do with it once it’s dry. I’m no expert, but I recently came into a lot of plum wood which I’m going to be drying myself, so here’s my input!

    Firstly, if you don’t know what you’re going to do with it now, paint the ends of the logs to stop them drying out too quickly. The ends can start to check only a couple of hours (sometimes less) after the tree has been felled.

    Fruit trees are great for carving and turning but aren’t used much for joinery because you can’t get very wide boards from them. If you’re going to be using it for carving or turning and want to dry the wood first, cut the logs to a decent length (1.5ft or so, depending on what you think you’re going to make), paint the ends, stack them off the ground under covers, and leave them to dry for a couple of years. If you want to try getting some boards and you don’t have a band saw, take the logs to a local mill ASAP and get them sawn, then stack and sticker the boards, again off the ground and under cover. If you’re carving spoons or somesuch, you can work the wood while it’s green – just split the log with an axe.

    I’m going to try getting some boards from the plum logs I have. There are often some gorgeous colours in plum wood so if I get any pretty boards I’ll use them for drawer fronts or small boxes. I’m making a jig for my band saw so that I can hold the log securely and saw 3/4″ or 1″ boards from it. Then I’ll just leave the boards to dry and see what sort of state they end up in after a year or so.

    I hope something here helps!


    "To know and not do is to not know"

    Michael Petre

    You could also possibly rive it into rough planks, paint the ends then sticker it. Dry it for a year per inch of thickness. While riving is a bit of a workout, it gives you very good quality wood. Apple does move a fair bit when drying so you may want to make your rough boards larger than the wished end product.


    Ah… I obtained a few logs of Camphorwood a couple months back, and just got around to split it yesterday (after watching a few youtube vids) by using wedges and a sledge. I am not a stranger to toil, but it nearly killed me and I gave up. My split veered off toward a big ole knot. The knot won. ๐Ÿ™

    In the end I got so tired I overhit my sledge and split the hickory handle…insult to injury. Someday I will try again, or buy an 20″ bandsaw. ๐Ÿ˜‰

    -Scott Los Angeles

    Michael Petre


    I do recall the first tree I had to split by hand… it was a cedar from my garden. I went through most of it, but it took 7 days for the pain in my wrists, shoulders and lower back to subside. I still have 2 nice wide mostly clear logs that I set aside especially to make planks for boxes.

    It gets better with practice, or maybe some woods rive way better than others ๐Ÿ™‚ I did rive a few cords of beech without any pain since.

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