anyone burn chinese elm before?

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Forum topic by bent posted 12-29-2009 03:13 AM 8172 views 0 times favorited 5 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View bent's profile


311 posts in 3692 days

12-29-2009 03:13 AM

my dad cut down a chinese elm tree that was in his yard for firewood. when he burns it, it does something really wierd. instead of turning to ash, it forms rock hard grity clumps. it looks like a clump of wet sand, and they’re too hard to break apart by hand. i told him that our cat makes them too, because it looks just like “buried treasure” from the litter box.

has anyone else seen this before, or know what causes it? i’m guessing there’s something about the cellulose that’s waxy and causes it to melt rather than completely burn to ash, but i really don’t know.

would this trait affect the wood’s workability? i was going to turn some of it just to see how it looks finished, but now i’m not sure that’s a good idea.

5 replies so far

View Daren Nelson's profile

Daren Nelson

767 posts in 3929 days

#1 posted 12-29-2009 05:37 AM

Turn it is better than burn it…

View saw4fun's profile


176 posts in 3363 days

#2 posted 12-29-2009 06:46 PM

Definitely turn it. Its great stuff!!

View Bobin29's profile


12 posts in 2809 days

#3 posted 09-18-2013 04:39 AM

I was going by a park today and a crew was trimming a bunch of Chinese elm. Some of the sections were about 18 inches in diameter and two feet long. I asked if I could have some and they said sure. So I grabbed five HEAVY pieces and took them home and painted the ends with parafin to cut down on splitting. What is next? Should I strip the bark? Should I split the pieces lengthwise? I don’t have a chainsaw or a band saw big enough to cut them length wise so I was thinking about using wedges to split them. All recommendations graciously accepted. Thanks Bob Oh, my plan is to turn bowls.

View kaerlighedsbamsen's profile


1248 posts in 1737 days

#4 posted 09-18-2013 12:30 PM

I have one of these in my garden that needs trimming so would love to hear your experience turning the elm!

-- "Do or Do not. There is no try." - Yoda

View Bobin29's profile


12 posts in 2809 days

#5 posted 09-18-2013 02:52 PM

Hi Yoda, so far since I’ve heard from no one else, I’m going to try what Wyoming woodturner suggests. One difference is I’m going to split the sections with wedges instead of a chain saw. See the link it’s full of some real good information and techniques. Bob

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