DIY Lumber to Firewood: I made a big mistake


I’ve been using my Alaskan mill to create a lot of my own lumber from trees that fell down or are dying. My neighbor had a California madrone that was dying and needed to be taken down. It was a nice size, so I slabbed it up with my chainsaw. This was a difficult process on a hot summer day; the madrone’s sap really gummed up my chainsaw rip chain, and I had to constantly clean it. I had some big slabs that I put in my DIY kiln and held them at about 90-100F for a week or so. Relatively low heat with the de-humidifier running to remove some of the moisture and accelerate the drying process. A lot of the smaller slabs (about 1 to 1.5″ thick) would not fit in the kiln, so I air dried them in my garage.

Fast forward to about a month ago when I started working the wood. I discovered that they immediately were infected by the Western Ash Borer as soon as I had slabbed it up. Check out and for more information on this insect.

Most the wood is destroyed. I managed to cut around some of the infected areas and get a few small pieces of lumber out, but the process is time consuming for such a small gain. It kept us warm for about a week ;)


  • Alaskan Mill
  • Chainsaw – Stihl ….oh I forget which model, but it has a 36″ blade.

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