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Sapwood.....

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Blog entry by Philip Edwards posted 01-28-2007 11:25 PM 1496 reads 0 times favorited 41 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Hi Folks
Well, with the workshop looking so inviting I couldn’t help myself. Yes, I’ve started work on a new table design. Dug out all the 2 inch black walnut I had and got planing and thicknessing. And my, what did I find?
Sapwood. LOTS of sap…..
Now is this right?? When you Guys buy walnut do you expect it to be two thirds sapwood? I appreciate the walnut tree isn’t grown for timber and that it doesn’t grow to be a huge, straight tree. But come on, this is expensive timber. And I don’t want to be “incorporating sapwood in an original manner” in this piece. Grrrr…...
So out of 24 components, 6 of which could be mainly sapwood, I got nine clear pieces. That is high wastage in anyones book!!!! After pacing the workshop and swearing mildly I tried swearing a stronger. It still didn’t help though. Luckily my brain later kicked in and I realised I could glue a veneer of clear walnut onto the sappy backs of most of the components. Going to be close, though, and I may have to laminate up some one inch stock to get sap free components.
None of which has put me off. I am buzzing with excitement over this project. It has been a while since I’ve been real excited about making something. Sometimes you just need to “inspired”!
Cheers
Phil
Sappy Walnut



41 comments so far

View Don's profile

Don

2600 posts in 2921 days


#1 posted 01-28-2007 11:33 PM

Philip, is it the color that disturbs you, or the quality inherent in sapwood? I believe that walnut sapwood tends to a yellow/blond color. Is it not suitable for your table design?

-- CanuckDon "I just love small wooden boxes!" http://www.dpb-photos.com/

View Philip Edwards's profile

Philip Edwards

244 posts in 3184 days


#2 posted 01-28-2007 11:43 PM

Hi Don
The sap is very much a different colour and you can’t really disguise it as the walnut gently fades to a little colour over time. Structurally it is sound but it doesn’t fit in with my design – I wanted a dark, fine grained timber that would accentuate the shaping of the piece. I’ve put a mock-up picture on my website.
I just feel a little cheated that I pay a premium price for this walnut and well over half of it is sapwood. Like buying steak and getting mostly fat….....;)
Cheers
Phil

View Bill's profile

Bill

2579 posts in 2906 days


#3 posted 01-28-2007 11:43 PM

Since I have not used Walnut, I do not know this but couldn’t you stain it to closely match the rest of the wood? Or, like Don said, is there something wrong with the quality of the sapwood that would not make it usable in your project?

I know I have some Pine right now that has a reddish sapwood, compared to the yellow of the rest of the pieces. The wood is just as good, but definitely a difference in color. I believe I can find a good project to use these pieces on though.

-- Bill, Turlock California, http://www.brookswoodworks.com

View Philip Edwards's profile

Philip Edwards

244 posts in 3184 days


#4 posted 01-28-2007 11:44 PM

Sorry Bill, I was typing at the same time as you!
No, it is fine structurally it is just the aesthetics.
Cheers
Phil

View Karson's profile

Karson

34912 posts in 3145 days


#5 posted 01-28-2007 11:45 PM

I feel for your frustration. The utilization of expensive wood that you would hope to be #1 or select and better and then find it to be #3 common with the exception nots running through it. I’ve also found that when you get a piece of nice clear walnut you end up with the pith core running through the middle of it. and it not just one board but a couple of boards.

The other day as I was restacking some of the wood in my shop i can across some sequential walnut that I was able to restack as the way they came from the log. I haven’t done any evaluation as to what the quality is but at least I have them stored together.

I’ve veneered some walnut burl on some walnut raised panels and it worked out OK. See the first contest winner here

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Southern Delaware karson_morrison@bigfoot.com †

View Philip Edwards's profile

Philip Edwards

244 posts in 3184 days


#6 posted 01-28-2007 11:49 PM

Karson
The cot looked great, especially the burr veneer.
It is a pity with the walnut. I love cherry and that is also another timber that is getting hard to find in clear and/or wide boards. The last lot I bought was no wider than 6 inches and again, there was a fair bit of sap.
Maybe I should find other favorite timbers…....;)
Cheers
Pihl

View Karson's profile

Karson

34912 posts in 3145 days


#7 posted 01-28-2007 11:54 PM

Phil: I picked up 6 boards at a sawmill in trade for the pulpit I made for him and the 6 boards = 86 Bd ft of cherry. Probably rated #1 2 boards 19” wide by 12’ long and the rest were 16” wide. one knot goes through them, 50” from one end and almost in the middle of the planks. Very little sapwood. I also got some other planks 2 3/8” thick but they look like branch wood because of wind shake splits in them. They are about 10” wide and have about a 1” bow over their 10’ length.

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Southern Delaware karson_morrison@bigfoot.com †

View Bill's profile

Bill

2579 posts in 2906 days


#8 posted 01-28-2007 11:55 PM

I think we all find the wood we buy many times is not at the quality we think it should be for the price. Afterall, I would like straight grain Red Oak, 12 ft long, quarter sawn for $ 1.98 bdft, but doubt that will happen. Instead I try to get good wood that looks nice for the best price I can. Sometimes I pay a bit more for a special piece (because of size or cut), but I usually find I have to settle for “good wood”.

Maybe I should start planting trees and harvest my own. Of course, I will have to wait around 25 years or so to build anything…..

-- Bill, Turlock California, http://www.brookswoodworks.com

View Karson's profile

Karson

34912 posts in 3145 days


#9 posted 01-29-2007 12:01 AM

Well Bill you can get it at this sawmill but its green, but probably not quartersawn. he mainly cuts railroad ties and the lumber is somewhat scrap wool. He only has one customer that buys almost all of the white oak to make mouldings. But he doesn’t seem to cut quartersawn because that where the railroad tie comes from. What a waste of good lumber.

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Southern Delaware karson_morrison@bigfoot.com †

View Bill's profile

Bill

2579 posts in 2906 days


#10 posted 01-29-2007 12:05 AM

Wow…what a waste indeed.

I wonder how much he gets for a railroad tie? I bet if he figured out the price on a board foot for what he would get on other cuts, he would change. I mean even flatsawn red oak here is around $ 3.50 per bdft on 4/4 lumber. The price of 6/4 and 8/4 is even higher. Not to mention that white oak costs more than the red oak.

-- Bill, Turlock California, http://www.brookswoodworks.com

View Karson's profile

Karson

34912 posts in 3145 days


#11 posted 01-29-2007 12:17 AM

He said the other day that there is no market for red oak so he has maybe 20,000 bd ft stacked in his building. I keep putting a moisture meter on it to see how it is drying. Some is about 15% but the latest is 30%.

A friend that I made in New Jersey owned a sawmill. He was going to sell the mill and the deal was all lumber on the property at closing date belonged to the new buyer. Anything he sold before that date was his. He told me there was Walnut up on top of the hill all cut. I went up and came back and told him I didn’t see any. We went back up and he started pulling boards out of what looked like a mound of trash. 2 3/8 slabs 24” wide 8’ long. lumber etc. I saw him mumbling as he was trying to figure out how much lumber was there. I saw his lips say 200 and he asked me what I’d pay and I said $200.00. He said that was what he was thinking. I started to haul it home and there was over 600 BD ft of walnut in that pile.

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Southern Delaware karson_morrison@bigfoot.com †

View Don's profile

Don

2600 posts in 2921 days


#12 posted 01-29-2007 12:19 AM

Karson, this story makes me weep.

-- CanuckDon "I just love small wooden boxes!" http://www.dpb-photos.com/

View Karson's profile

Karson

34912 posts in 3145 days


#13 posted 01-29-2007 12:26 AM

If you can make friends with a sawmill owner – Do it. I took a couple of pens that I made and gave to him, even before we started to talk lumber. One day he said can you make me a pulpit. I said yes. Then he said how about we trade lumber for the pulpit. I said no problem. And now he is on the lookout for any strange or unique lumber. He cut about 150 BD Ft of Holly for me a few weeks ago. Its drying in my barn now. It’s sitting about 14% moisture. But what do you make out of Holly. I’ve not seen any blue stains yet and no noticable twisting and warping that is common to Holly. Some 2” planks have a slight bow, but not bad.

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Southern Delaware karson_morrison@bigfoot.com †

View dennis mitchell's profile

dennis mitchell

3994 posts in 3059 days


#14 posted 01-29-2007 12:47 AM

I have sent walnut back to the supplier when its that bad. I like the color of walnut with sapwood, but not when I paid for #1. One more great lumber deal, Karson, and I’m going to turn green(er) with envy!

View Karson's profile

Karson

34912 posts in 3145 days


#15 posted 01-29-2007 01:28 AM

But Don you get all of the exotics. Or, is it I’m getting all of the exotics. and you get local woods.

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Southern Delaware karson_morrison@bigfoot.com †

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