"useable or firewood" part 2-sliced up!

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Forum topic by TJ65 posted 09-20-2010 09:25 AM 1685 views 0 times favorited 11 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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1378 posts in 3045 days

09-20-2010 09:25 AM

Topic tags/keywords: question birch

Well thanks to those who helped me decide whether this lot of birch tree was viable as timber to use in projects or not.
As Grizzman said -”cut up all of it and see what you have”. Well I did just that.
I asked my husband to slice it in half with the chainsaw then I cut it up on the bandsaw into lengths and finally I used the thicknesser. All the time checking it out and looking at what was useable. Once I had cut it to about 18-20mm thick I could see really what was any good and I thought that if I could break it off with just my fingers wel…. it was too far gone. Mainly it was just around the outer layers, the heart was still pretty good and I was surprised at just how much was decent for one project or another. Also there was some nice spalting going on (which you really cant see in pic 3, never mind you get the general idea!) and other surprises. I cant wait to use some now!! :-)
Some wood still has areas that have spots of rotten timber but I can work around that!
But now I have a question , It seems as though the wood is still pretty damp, how long does it have to dry out for before I can use it in say a box or somthing? I know you can use it as it is with carving. It has been dead for a couple of years but out in the lovely rain that we have been experiencing lately (but covered up since it has been felled – a few months).

last pic the wood is nicely spalted but fibres are weak, thinking about putting PVA mix with water.

-- Theresa,

11 replies so far

View Jamie Speirs's profile

Jamie Speirs

4168 posts in 2852 days

#1 posted 09-20-2010 09:56 AM

I just love Spalted wood. The Birch looks very similar to Beech.
Cant wait to see the results.

-- Who is the happiest of men? He who values the merits of others, and in their pleasure takes joy, even as though 'twere his own. --Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

View mafe's profile


11725 posts in 3085 days

#2 posted 09-20-2010 10:37 AM

Beautiful wood Theresa,
8-10 % moisture dry slow.
Best thoughts,

-- MAD F, the fanatical rhykenologist and vintage architect. Democraticwoodworking.

View rivergirl's profile


3201 posts in 2834 days

#3 posted 09-20-2010 12:15 PM

I use my big convection oven in my house kitchen. Very low heat- electric oven- though it really doesn’t matter- 200 degrees or less with convection fan on- will kiln dry the wood for you.. Takes a couple of days. I run the oven during the day- turn if off at night and restart the process the next day. I do swap the ends of the baord or log with olive oil before putting it in the oven and also a couple more times throughout the drying process. I use olive oil because it doesn’t muck up the wood and it has a higher burn temp (not real flammable) than reg oils etc. YOu could try it on some small pieces and see if this works for you?

-- Homer : "Oh, and how is education supposed to make me feel smarter? Besides, every time I learn something new, it pushes some old stuff out of my brain."

View helluvawreck's profile


31044 posts in 2862 days

#4 posted 09-20-2010 01:42 PM

That looks like a lot of good wood to me. I’d sure like to have it. Congratulations!

-- helluvawreck aka Charles,

View FloridaArt's profile


851 posts in 3293 days

#5 posted 09-21-2010 01:28 AM

I’ve been into making band saw boxes lately, and this wood would be perfect. :-)

-- Art | Bradenton, Florida

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile


18267 posts in 3671 days

#6 posted 09-21-2010 06:39 AM

Hi Theresa, I would seal the ends right away. I cut up some dead cherry. My meter said it was 18% moisture, but I am getting some checking!! :-(( After it is sealed, figure out what to do :-) Latex point will do.

-- Bob in WW ~ "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

View Dick, & Barb Cain's profile

Dick, & Barb Cain

8693 posts in 4295 days

#7 posted 09-22-2010 01:00 PM

PVA carpenters glue works real good to seal the ends. I brush it on full strength. Give it a couple of coats until it has a glazed surface. Stack it with stickers in between. It takes about a year per inch of thickness.
Cut off all the real weak wood before you do this.

-- -** You are never to old to set another goal or to dream a new dream ****************** Dick, & Barb Cain, Hibbing, MN.

View HerbC's profile


1755 posts in 2855 days

#8 posted 09-22-2010 03:55 PM

If you have an attic space that gets warm from sun on roof you can stack the boards there (with stickers between each board) to dry them quicker… Do use some type of end seal product to minimize checking.

Be Careful!


-- Herb, Florida - Here's why I close most messages with "Be Careful!"

View woodjewelry's profile


49 posts in 2904 days

#9 posted 09-23-2010 10:37 PM

I use a lot of spalted birch in my work. The pieces you have sliced thinly if sticker-ed in a warm dry workshop should be usable in a month or so.

Assuming the wood is dryish now, I would sand a piece and apply a finish (a clear lacquer work well) to see how it will look, some times spalted birch can be amazing. Other times it can look pale and uninteresting, better to test finish before you spend hours making somthing!

Usually wood with black zone lines and contrasting browns finishes well, you wood doesn’t seem to have this. Also the white rot tends to be very “punky” and where it isn’t can slump after finishing.

Spalted birch can be amazing, but its hard to work, you need really well spalted pieces to make it worth the effort.

-- Mark, Lithuania,

View Dick, & Barb Cain's profile

Dick, & Barb Cain

8693 posts in 4295 days

#10 posted 09-23-2010 11:44 PM

Did you happen to see the bowl I just made from spalted Basswood?

-- -** You are never to old to set another goal or to dream a new dream ****************** Dick, & Barb Cain, Hibbing, MN.

View DaddyZ's profile


2475 posts in 3036 days

#11 posted 09-23-2010 11:52 PM

Nice Lumber, who would a thought. ;)

-- Pat - Worker of Wood, Collector of Tools, Father of one

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