Box elder wood. What is it good for?

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Forum topic by pontic posted 03-19-2017 11:43 PM 942 views 0 times favorited 7 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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634 posts in 786 days

03-19-2017 11:43 PM

I have quite a few old and lightening cracked Box elder trees in my back 2 acres. Just (Sadly) had to cut one down. It has 9’ run of straight 30” diameter trunk.
My question is this is it worth planking for the 285.00 it will cost me? The Tree trimmer that fell it said that they were worthless. Is box elder wood worthless?

-- Illigitimii non carburundum sum

7 replies so far

View JollyGreen67's profile


1676 posts in 2941 days

#1 posted 03-20-2017 12:13 AM

Not even ! Woodturners love Box Elder, a member of the maple family.

-- When I was a kid I wanted to be older . . . . . this CRAP is not what I expected ! RIP 09/08/2018

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Don Broussard

3675 posts in 2429 days

#2 posted 03-20-2017 12:14 AM

A quick search on LJs turns up a bunch of projects with the term “box elder”. Looks like most of the projects are boxes or pens. I would not say it’s worthless, but it might not be worth slabbing. Note that the color inside the wood is what makes it attractive, and your trees may or may not have that palette.

EDIT: I’ve also seen table tops, bench tops and fireplace mantles made from box elder.

-- People say I hammer like lightning. It's not that I'm fast -- it's that I never hit the same place twice!

View Monte Pittman's profile

Monte Pittman

29975 posts in 2516 days

#3 posted 03-20-2017 12:17 AM

I would take it in a heartbeat. Of course I take all logs, but that’s besides the point.

-- Nature created it, I just assemble it.

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634 posts in 786 days

#4 posted 03-20-2017 12:53 AM

Pink rays in the heart. As far as I can tell. The top of the trunk where it got narrower I did cut a “test slab off. Saw pink wavy strips in the grain. Is that a good color or not. The tree must have been pretty wind twisted sitting on top of the mound. The grain is definitely not smooth. I think I’ll pull the trigger and get it planked and peel and chop the larger branches for turning.
While I was down there I noticed that on of my bigger walnut trees has some large burl swellings on it’s base. If it’s viral I’ll just let it grow, if it’s fungal I will have to treat it. Gotta take a plug to see.

-- Illigitimii non carburundum sum

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3555 posts in 2155 days

#5 posted 03-20-2017 12:55 AM

Worthless? No way! Some of the most beautiful wood there is! IMO

-- We all make mistakes, the trick is to fix it in a way that says "I meant to do that".

View firefighterontheside's profile (online now)


19274 posts in 2034 days

#6 posted 03-20-2017 01:30 AM

I have been on a search for box elder to have made into,lumber for a while now with no luck. It’s not all gonna have the red streaks, but what does is beautiful. As said, box elder is a maple. It is soft like silver maple.

-- Bill M. "People change, walnut doesn't" by Gene.

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7783 posts in 2221 days

#7 posted 03-20-2017 02:26 AM

I had a box elder cut down a coupe years ago. A lot of it had the flame color in it. I cut 20’’ logs on my bandsaw and use it for different projects. Some of it after it is milled looks even better. Check out the box I posted in January. Well worth keeping if there is any flame in it. Great for turning too.

-- Dave, Downers Grove, Il. -------- When you run out of ideas, start building your dreams.

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