# how do you turn the crazy structure of an oak tree into board-feet?

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I currently live in the PNW and it’s pretty easy to see how redwoods and other large evergreens are converted to straight board. I’ve got two huge oaks I can see from my backyard and I’ve been looking at these wondering how you would process that.

I’d love to hear from anyone who has experience on the commercial side or the home woodmill side.

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You will need to get a diameter of the tree 4 feet off the ground, in inches. You can measure the circumference and divide it by pi to get the diameter. Then get an estimate of how tall the tree is to where it starts breaking up into limbs. Convert that into 16 foot logs: 32 ft =2, 40 ft= 2.5 etc. Then get online and search tree scaling table. Doyle form class 78 is pretty accurate for large oak.

There’s many different types of Oak and some are a **lot** easier to turn into boards than others, especially if grown surrounded by other trees rather than as solitary trees.

Eg Northern Red Oak will grow straight and to about 70-90 feet tall. A stand-alone tree will have lots of branches, but in a forest they end up with only branches at the very top.

Similar is true of a fair number of hardwoods – when grown on their own they often end up a lot bushier than when grown in groups.