How to Use Fallen Trees for Furniture Building

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Using fallen trees for furniture is a green strategy that reduces the need for chopping down healthy trees. Though it can take some extra work, knowing that you were able to recycle fallen trees for furniture can give you a good story to tell family and friends. You may need some help milling the trees in order to get usable wood for furniture. Local carpenters or mills will often be able to help you with this part of the project.

Things You'll Need

  • Milling saw
  • Kiln dryer
  • Moisture meter
  • Look for fallen trees that do not have bugs or signs of disease. Fallen trees are often more susceptible to these problems and can have poor-quality wood.

  • Move the trees into a stable working environment and remove the bark. Hand tools are available for this process, although you also can use a milling saw.

  • Run the trees through a milling band saw to cut the trunks into planks. You can rent the mill from an equipment-rental place or take the trunks to a mill for this process.

  • Dry the planks by placing them in a large covered area with good airflow. It can take several years to dry the wood in an open-air environment. Taking the planks to a commercial kiln dryer can decrease the drying time.

  • Test the moisture in the wood using a moisture meter. Follow the manufacturer's directions for using the meter; in general, moisture levels should be less than 6 percent.

Tips & Warnings

  • Determine if there are local and state laws on gathering fallen trees for use in furniture.
  • Contact local mills prior to reclaiming fallen trees to get advice on how to complete this process.

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