At Lumber Capital Log Yard in Cogan Station, Pennsylvania, we are fortunate to be located near forests containing some of the most impressive black cherry trees imaginable. Special care must be taken when harvesting this mature growth, as the surrounding young trees can be damaged easily. One method is to top the tree prior to felling, which will minimize residual damage as well as prevent cracks in the sawn logs.
Of the various species we regularly mill, black cherry is a standout. Often referred to as American cherry, Prunus serotina grows to a height of 50 to 100 ft with a diameter of 3 to 5 ft. Its relatively straight grain coupled with a medium Janka hardness rating of 950 lbf (pounds-force) means cherry is easy on our mill blades. We also appreciate its mild, pleasant smell. Cherry sawdust has the potential to be irritating or even toxic for horses, therefore we keep it separated from our animal bedding.
Our cherry logs are between 8 and 10 ft in length with a 28″ maximum diameter. At our zero-waste log yard, the outer bark slabs that are sawed off initially will end up as smoke wood for grilling or home heating firewood. For cabinetry or flooring, 5/4 flitches are removed as needed to square up the heartwood, proceeding with 5/4 boards having minimal sapwood. However, our favorite way is to mill live-edge slabs. These rough-cut 6/4 and 8/4 pieces can be quite remarkable with wide sapwood around curvy live edges. It is easy to envision these beauties becoming artistic tables and other specialty items.
Lumber Capital Log Yard is a family-run sawmill business owned by Ken and Teri Breon. Teri (center in photo) and daughters Emerald and Jade are partners in the milling business selling lumber and lumber byproducts. Their goal is to produce zero waste. Ken runs the logging company and assists at the log yard. Their son Judah, Grandpa Larry and Roxy, the shepherd mix, all play a part, too. Visit their website and their YouTube channel.