|Forum topic by RichardDePetris||posted 08-25-2015 02:50 AM||1352 views||0 times favorited||11 replies|
08-25-2015 02:50 AM
This weekend I was driving through my residential neighborhood and saw something that made me hit the brakes and turn around. No it wasn’t a beautiful woman or a stack of benjamins, but it may have well been. It was a stack of logs neatly piled on the curbside next to large brown paper bags of clippings. I pulled up and started loading them into my trunk. They were very wet and appeared to be cut the previous day. I chose the largest diameter ones and hesitated about getting the smaller ones. They were mostly limbs, but they were remarkably straight. In typical junkie fashion, I rationalized that it beats paying $5 a bag for wet firewood at the grocery store so I grabbed them anyway.
When I got home, I piled them up under my porch until I can find time to properly mill them. I found some wilted leaves still attached to some of the logs and used them to identify the tree on the web. My excitement ebbed a bit when I discovered it was crepe myrtle a classic ornamental tree with little utility in woodworking besides turning stock or walking canes. Neither of those appealed to me. I figured that I could cut it up for use as turning stock when I get around to getting a lathe.
I took my ax and cut off a flat on one side to inspect the grain. I finished the flattening it with my hand plane when I nearly dropped my Stanley on the concrete floor in awe:
I just struck gold. The wood was absolutely gorgeous. Even as wet wood, it had a very striking figure that was prettier than any curly maple I’ve seen.
I don’t have any specific plans for this wood, but I am considering using it as paneling. I may use it for making some kind of musical instrument as it has some interesting tonal properties. When I was unloading it, one of the logs fell on the floor and made a piecing ping sound. Not sure if it is a characteristic of a tonal wood, but the resemblance to curly maple makes me wonder.
I will have to seal the ends and wait for it to loose some of its moisture and then move them inside during the winter. I store logs near the intake of my HVAC. So far, I’ve had excellent results drying lumber this way, taking a couple of months to dry most species to useable levels.