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Thread: Need advice: bald cypress, what's it good for?

  1. #1
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    Need advice: bald cypress, what's it good for?

    I have been offered a bald cypress tree for free. Currently live and standing, it is being taken down because it is too close to the house. I have yet to see it in person, but am told it is 40" in circumference at 5' and 7' from base to first branch.

    There is a member of our local ww club that has a band mill and I believe I can get this sawn I expensively. Is it worth the trouble and cost?
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  2. #2
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    I don't know about BALD cypress, but when I was commissioned to build an outdoor thing to hold a Big Green Egg, I asked my Lumber Yard manager about Cypress. Extracting from his very long response...

    While the lumber is famous for its resistance to weather and is used all the time for outdoor applications, it is actually over rated for its water proof characteristics. It garnered its reputation largely from the old growth, all heartwood varieties that existed 100 years ago. That product was incredibly weather resistant. Today’s product still holds up much better than your typical hardwood species (excepting for Teak, Spanish Cedar (hardwood?) and maybe some Mahoganies) but the sapwood mixed in with the heartwood will rot over time. It is much more affordable than the aforementioned hardwoods. Just like your Firs and Pines, it is a good exterior wood but requires re-application of paint, stain or sealant over time to maintain its look and durability. It is a good outdoor wood but not as good as it is proclaimed to be but with proper maintenance will hold up pretty well and remain beautiful for years.

    Cypress is beautiful lumber with nice color and grain. It is a softwood (Conifer) but has so many hardwood type applications that the NHLA grading rule book is called the NHLA grading rules for Hardwood and Cypress. It costs 2.39 per BF Planed and straight lined. Grades commonly kept are #2C for a really nice, sound board with knots, and select that has only occasional knots.

    The color ranges from light yellow (Sapwood) to a rich yellow with some beautiful reddish tones. The sapwood is still attractive and usable. The lumber is famous for its weather resistance. It is a good outdoor wood and is used mostly for exterior applications but is also nice for interiors as flooring, walls and ceiling and cabinetry.
    Charlie Plesums, Austin Texas
    (Retired early to become a custom furnituremaker)
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  3. #3
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    I've used some to build bird houses and feeders. It weathers to a lovely silver gray. Mills nicely, but as Charlie said it's not that rot resistant. I also made some very nice light weight shelves that my wife used in one of her macrame projects. 40" circumference is about 12" diameter, not a lot of lumber in there. If you can bring the log to your friend and he doesn't charge much, it might be nice to have some in the stash.

  4. #4
    Here is something I made from cypress to give you an idea.
    Click image for larger version. 

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  5. #5
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    Now that's worth it, I'd say!
    ++++++

    Some say the land of milk and honey; others say the land of fruits and nuts. All together my sort of heaven.

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  6. #6
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    Need advice: bald cypress, what's it good for?

    Here is the tree. Obviously standing dead. Anyone care to offer up another opinion?
    Last edited by Rennie Heuer; 03-04-2014 at 09:59 PM.
    Host of the 2017 Family Woodworking Gathering - Sunken Wood

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  7. #7
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    Is it dead, or just winter dormant?

    Who takes it down, and hauls away the debris? If it's you, then take a pass.

    There isn't gonna be a lot of lumber in that one, and the potential liability of taking one down that close to the house (it's actually leaning towards the house!) is high.
    Jim D.
    Adapt, Improvise, Overcome!

  8. #8
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    They are deciduous, Rennie. Butt section would give you some clear stock, but the uppers are gonna be knotty. IMHO only if you take pleasure in making something out of a tree you felled and milled would it be worth the effort. If you are interested, I'd cut it at the butt and just above the third branch whorl, pop that thing in my pickup and haul it to the mill. I bet the guy wouldn't charge much, if anything.

  9. #9
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    rennie, from what i see your gonna have more in than its worth, look at the bf out of that tree compared to what you can buy it for already milled and dried.. i will look up the bf for it in minute rennie tops for the 7ft log is 50 bf of lumber..
    Last edited by larry merlau; 03-05-2014 at 12:49 AM.
    If in Doubt, Build it Stout!
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  10. #10
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    Need advice: bald cypress, what's it good for?

    Larry, I was kind of thinking the same thing. She is an acquaintance from church and really does not want the tree to wind up as firewood. I'd like to help her out but, as you say, it might just not be worth the trouble.
    Host of the 2017 Family Woodworking Gathering - Sunken Wood

    “We all die. The goal isn't to live forever; the goal is to create something that will.” - Chuck Palahniuk
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