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Conscious Living and Design by Amy Kunkle / Materials  / Heavy Timber Addition Using My Own Trees

Heavy Timber Addition Using My Own Trees

If you have large trees in your yard that need to be removed for you to build on to your home... you need to read this!

We have a lot with dozens of large trees, like 12'-36" dia. trunks, and upwards of 50' tall. So when I was laying out the addition with twine and steaks, I realized I would have to remove one tree and maybe two.

Does my tree need to come out?

My landscape guy said the roots have about a 10' area around them where the roots need to get nutrients. You can see in the picture below (from my hometown of Minnesota) he seems to be right.

If you'll damage the roots by digging (aka you are digging in the Protected Root Zone, you probably want to remove it or it'll just die over the next few years.

Things to do with your tree:

  • Firewood: Our first inclination was to cut it up for firewood as we are adding two fireplaces. Our neighbors had told us the trees were Pin Oak and not good for lumber. Well, as we found out, it's a matter of opinion.

If you try to sell your tree for lumber, it may not go for top dollar. You really want to talk to the right people, like a tree company at the least.

  • Heavy timber: My second idea came as I was meeting with my heavy timber contractor. Being in the heart of Ohio (Canton area) we are surrounded by craftsman, farmers, and lots of Amish folks. I learned it's one of the largest communities of Amish people in the US.  They can mill the wood and make it into any number of wood components for your project.

Note: The heavy timber pieces will need to air dry eight weeks before being used in the project. Check with your local mills to get exact information.

This house we looked at as a sample of heavy timber, and as it turns out, it's very similar to our project!

  • Finish Materials + Flooring: The last thing I'm doing with my Maple tree is to have it cut down and milled into flooring and plywood for cabinetry. The drying process for this is 8 weeks to 6 months, depending on the method.

Planning for your project

It's difficult to know what you can and will use the wood for when you may not have your project fully designed. If time is on your side, you can design the project, then have the trees cut to the specifications.

For the #KunkleReno I had the drawings to a Schematic Design level, so we knew approximately how long the ridge beams would be, and how tall the posts would be. That's what we will use our trees for, and the trees were cut to about 2'-6" longer anyway!

Amy Kunkle

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