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Thread: What to do with this lumber.

  1. #1

    What to do with this lumber.

    This is what remains from a cottonwood that fell at my work. I took it to a local saw mill and they cut it into boards for me. This was before I new about Anchorseal. The end result was a lot of checking, splitting and warping. The boards range in thickness from just under 4 quarters to about 6 quarters and from about 5 inches wide to 8 inches wide. The overall length of each is about 80 inches but the useable length after cutting out the splits will probably be about 2-3 feet. My question is what can be made, if anything out of the lot? Any suggestions, including firewood, would be welcomed.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails cottonwood.jpg   cottonwood1.jpg  

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Indianapolis area
    I'll bet the pen turners are drooling. That looks like 1000's of pen blanks.


    "Individual commitment to a group effort--that is what makes a team work, a company work, a society work, a civilization work."
    Vince Lombardi

  3. #3

    I'm not too sure that's true. I posted this on another site and the reply was that the anything made from this wood would crack. I'd like to use it for pens but that might be problematic also.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    West Central Ohio
    Yes, I agree with Steve. Anchorseal and cottonwood don't really work. Cottonwood is worthless in these parts. Cant even give it away for fire wood as it takes 4 or 5 years to get it dry enough to burn.
    Just my $.99 worth

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Brentwood, TN
    I would make something that could exploit the rustic quality of the wood. I often use wood that I reject from furniture making for cabinets and such for my shop. Cotton wood wouldn't be good for outdoor purposes.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Houston, Texas
    Hi Rick,
    The fact that you felt it was worth saving is worth something, so now we need to figure a say of making your initial decision a good one. Pen blanks, they are a limb on every tree. You have some dimensional lumber that can be used for a really neat project, plus you can add the history of where it came from.! Let us push the limit and get some brainstorming going with your thread.
    No idea is a bad idea!
    Wierd ideas can lead to worthwhile projects.
    All suggestions have worth, even if only to the suggestor!!!!!!!!
    I really think you have something here. I don't know if it is for flat work of turning or sculpture, but don't burn it before it is time!
    thanks for the post,
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  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    No, not all of SoCal is Los Angeles!
    I wonder if it were sliced into veneer if the attachment to a stable backing material would solve the inherent problems with the wood? Hey, Shaz said to try for some ideas here.
    Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.
    - Arthur C. Clarke

  8. #8
    I have sawed a lot of lumber and a lot of trees, and it should not comes as any surprise that not all logs are designed for fine furniture. In fact that is why the sawmills pay a scaler so much use his knowledge and skills to cull out the logs that will not amount to much.

    In looking at the pictures, its apparent that the tree had internal defects. There is not much any sawyer or woodworker could do with that. As for the anchorseal, I would not beat myself up for not using that. In my opinion, its a waste of time to even put the stuff on. I have seen plenty of lumber crack with it applied, and I have seen plenty of lumber not crack when it was not applied too. Far more lumber is saved by using proper stickering, stacking and drying methods than any amount of anchorseal.

    I realize you are disappointed, and I can understand that, but after working with logs and sawmills all my life (my family has always owned a sawmill), I have just come to appreciate wood, trees, logs and forestry. They are truly like never know what they will turn out to be like.

    Two years ago I sized up a nice Maple on my property. It was decent sized, tall, straight, had an even crown to it, and grew on flat, well drained soil. There was no indication whatsoever that it would give me problems. As I went to take my second cut, the board started lifting right off the saw as fast as the blade went through it. When I was done I had a 1 inch board on each end and a 3 inch board in the center. It was the biggest, hardest banana I had ever seen!! Obviously it had some internal stress on it that was unforeseen.

    I have also seen the opposite, a log squeeze together so hard that it pinched the blade of a 52 inch rotary sawmill and stall the 327 motor we had driving it. Considering the hp we had, and the gearing and belting, that takes a lot of pressure by two boards to stall!

    Now please don't feel to disappointed over all this. Some of the greatest forestry geniueses a few years ago concluded that if the loggers would take the big limbs off from hardwood to use as woodworking material, the would be wasted wood could help save forests. After a lot of trial and era they concluded that "some logs are just not pre-disposed to good woodworking."

    You got a bad tree, I just hope it does not discourage you from ever trying to harvest your own wood. It really is a blast to make something from stump to polyurethane.
    I have no intention of traveling from birth to the grave in a manicured and well preserved body; but rather I will skid in sideways, totally beat up, completely worn out, utterly exhausted and jump off my tractor and loudly yell, "Wow, this is what it took to feed a nation!"

  9. #9

    Thanks for the insight. I live in northern New Mexico where I'm surrounded by mostly pinion and juniper trees and very few neighbors. The predominant wood used here is Ponderosa Pine and I'll probably be using that mostly. I have two chainsaws so I don't think I'll be discouraged from felling my own. I also have a saw mill close by and, in fact they were the ones that sawed the cottonwood for me.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    When I see that wood I see more rustic natural looking pieces of furniture, boxes, etc. Something that is made not to be perfect but use the natural look of the wood as its center point.
    Rise above the rest

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