American hop hornbeam question.

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Forum topic by Combo Prof posted 10-26-2015 01:42 AM 1066 views 0 times favorited 10 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Combo Prof

3502 posts in 1273 days

10-26-2015 01:42 AM

Topic tags/keywords: hop hornbeam ironwood quarter sawn question

I have acquired a fresh cut 5 foot by 12” diameter hornbeam log.
Locally its called ironwood not to be confused with western ironwood.
My plan is to take to my local sawmill wood mizer guy and have him cut it into 8/4 slabs
making sure to get a slab centered in the log so to get as much quarter sawn as I can.
Is this the best plan for such a log? Wood to be used for tool handles, wood planes, etc.

-- Don K, (Houghton, Michigan .. Soon Holland, Michigan)

10 replies so far

View terryR's profile


7137 posts in 2304 days

#1 posted 10-26-2015 02:02 PM

Congrats on scoring Hop Hornbeam!
We’ve got it growing down south, and I need to grab some before the move!

-- tr ...see one, do one, teach one...

View gfadvm's profile


14940 posts in 2686 days

#2 posted 10-26-2015 02:06 PM

The thicker you cut it, the longer it takes to dry. And the more cracks, warps,etc. Stack and sticker it with weight on it as soon as he mills it.

-- " I'll try to be nicer, if you'll try to be smarter" gfadvm

View Ocelot's profile


1975 posts in 2634 days

#3 posted 10-26-2015 02:39 PM

I wish I had some. Don’t know what I would do with it, but I understand it used to be used for things like wagon wheel hubs. I have a 100-year-old toy wagon I would like to duplicate some day, so that was my excuse for wanting some. That project would not require very much wood at all, however.

Is this Eastern Hop-Hornbeam? I thought “American” and “Eastern” were different. Can’t recall.

One of our local sawmill guys says that it’s often good to actually slow down drying at the beginning to limit cracking. He dries white oak in the kiln and says in the first couple weeks it dries more slowly in the kiln than it would in the open air. I don’t know how or if that applies to hop-hornbeam.

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Monte Pittman

29222 posts in 2334 days

#4 posted 10-26-2015 02:44 PM

I have lots of hop hornbeam. It’s the shrinkage I have ever got drying any wood. it’s also the strongest and hardest wood I have dealt with locally. Just wish it was a different color.

-- Nature created it, I just assemble it.

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Combo Prof

3502 posts in 1273 days

#5 posted 10-26-2015 04:02 PM

Ocelot: I believe Eastern and American Hop-hornbeam (Carpinus caroliniana) to be the same.

EDIT: Maybe its Ostrya virginiana.

EDIT EDIT: OK we have both species. But I have the later: Ostrya virginiana which is what we call ironwood.
Carpinus caroliniana is what is apparently called muscle wood here.

We call this wood ironwood here, but ironwood is often the local name for any very very hard wood.

The iron wood in Arizona/southern California is not the same as the iron wood we have here. Nor is southern Ironwood the same (I think).

My saw mill guy was hesitant to cut it into lumber for me, but when he saw the nice straight log he said he would put on a new sawblade and cut it 8/4 for $15. So good for me I said yes and left it with him. His tells me his blade will be half dull when he is done, but he will still be able to cut pine with it.

The owner who gave me the log, said it was dry deadfall. The sawmill guy’s moisture meter put the log at 24 MC.
I will anchorseal the ends and sticker it probably under ratchet-strap pressure.

I’m all new to this lumber harvesting

TerryR: Where do you move to?

BTW I made my jointer-mallet handle with the stuff and found it easy to work with.

-- Don K, (Houghton, Michigan .. Soon Holland, Michigan)

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7137 posts in 2304 days

#6 posted 10-26-2015 05:22 PM

Don, we are moving to Colorado for better pay and weather. hate the humidity in the south.

The most obvious change so far is going to available trees! Here in AL, we own 95 acres of hardwoods; not a single pine to be found. The spots we’ve looked at in CO have just small, twisted pines. But, I’ve already found a hardware store within an hour’s drive!

I know that stuff is hard as nails, but cannot believe the sawmill will use up a new blade with ONE 12” diameter log. I think he’s pulling your leg. But who among us has a tool that could slice that log for $15?

You’re gonna have a ton of dry wood in a few years…where do you sticker it all?

-- tr ...see one, do one, teach one...

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Combo Prof

3502 posts in 1273 days

#7 posted 10-26-2015 06:00 PM

^ That Terry is a good question, where will I sticker it. I’m on 2 acres in the city so I do have some room.

I may sticker this ironwood outside. My worry is that when we freeze the moisture in the wood (particularly fruit wood) will freeze and crack the wood.

But I too hope to move and have a bigger shop and smaller house. We moved off of our 15 acres and now that I am back doing wood working I wish I didn’t. On the other hand people here just seem to be giving me wood. My bones want me to retire somewhere warmer but the access to trees and wood here are making me want to stay.

We lived two years in Laramie, Wy and loved it. So now you have tell me where in Colorado you will move to.

-- Don K, (Houghton, Michigan .. Soon Holland, Michigan)

View Clint Searl's profile

Clint Searl

1533 posts in 2357 days

#8 posted 10-27-2015 12:11 AM

We have a lot of hornbeam, both hop and American. around here, and I’ve never seen either larger than about 6 inches in diameter.

-- Clint Searl....Ya can no more do what ya don't know how than ya can git back from where ya ain't been

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Combo Prof

3502 posts in 1273 days

#9 posted 10-27-2015 01:18 AM

Yes it is an unusually thick log, but not unheard of.
It must be very old I’ll have to count the rings.
I have another thats 6” in diameter, unfortunately the owner
of this smaller log tried to split it unsuccessfully
so it has some unfortunate cracks.

-- Don K, (Houghton, Michigan .. Soon Holland, Michigan)

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Combo Prof

3502 posts in 1273 days

#10 posted 11-04-2015 12:04 AM

Cut slabs are back from the sawmill:

The useable wood is about 10” across on the left two and 8” across on the right two.
All are 2” thick. I have them anchorsealed and will stack and sticker them tomorrow.

-- Don K, (Houghton, Michigan .. Soon Holland, Michigan)

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