The "old growth" days

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Forum topic by pontic posted 04-02-2017 07:12 PM 914 views 0 times favorited 17 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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651 posts in 814 days

04-02-2017 07:12 PM

I wonder what kinda trees we would find if we could go back into time. Say; around 1400’s. We could have our chain saws with us and 10gal of gas. winches and such what kind of trees would we be able to harvest? Chesnut for sure.
How big do you think those hard woods were.

-- Illigitimii non carburundum sum

17 replies so far

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William Shelley

595 posts in 1675 days

#1 posted 04-02-2017 07:44 PM

It’s an interesting idea to think about. One thing for certain – there would be fewer diseased trees. When humanity really kicked up the exploration game, localized diseases became widespread and wrecked havoc on forests that didn’t have any built-up resistance to these new infections.

-- Woodworking from an engineer's perspective

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651 posts in 814 days

#2 posted 04-02-2017 10:01 PM

How would you like to slab out some pristine primeval Maple, cherry, walnut or such. 24” diameter hardwood log; drool.

-- Illigitimii non carburundum sum

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Dan P

723 posts in 2097 days

#3 posted 04-02-2017 11:52 PM

There are still some ancient Redwoods in Northwest California. Probably not a good idea to go after them with a chain saw though.

-- Daniel P

View TheFridge's profile


10763 posts in 1691 days

#4 posted 04-03-2017 01:48 AM

Probably the biggest cocobolo tree I could find.

-- Shooting down the walls of heartache. Bang bang. I am. The warrior.

View GrizzlyBeardWoodwork's profile


17 posts in 635 days

#5 posted 04-03-2017 02:10 AM

..? Circuit overload…brain implosion…


View DocSavage45's profile


8725 posts in 3048 days

#6 posted 04-03-2017 03:12 AM


Don’t have to go farther back than 20 years. I have some old plywood which protects the surface of my cabinet saw when not in use. The tight nit pattern in that wood is truly amazing.

Those old trees were truly dense and heavy. MN use to be a rain forest before they clear cut 2/3rds of it to send east.

-- Cau Haus Designs, Thomas J. Tieffenbacher

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12431 posts in 2585 days

#7 posted 04-03-2017 03:45 AM

I bet they’d be awesome

-- Rick M,

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212 posts in 684 days

#8 posted 04-03-2017 03:53 AM

Rosewood, definitely rosewood…

-- Y'all need to locate a sense of humor. Borrow one if you can't find yours...

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651 posts in 814 days

#9 posted 04-03-2017 04:14 PM

Yes;it’s incredible what “civilization” has done to the American hardwood foriest.
Historical records from some of the 18th century Mass. cabinet makers show that they “rendered” logs that were as much as 38” wide. All done on a saw pit.

-- Illigitimii non carburundum sum

View Frank's profile


15 posts in 643 days

#10 posted 04-03-2017 10:33 PM

Small shop woodworkers should -not- feel guilty about the demise of old growth trees. Most were killed off by industry, ships, making pigments, farmlands (Imagine here in Costa Rica, in the 60s the government encouraged land owners to remove all trees visible from the street side and make room for cattle raising) and other stuff. Or flooring… who ever though ” yeah, stepping on it as hard as I can is the best use I can think of for such a beautiful piece of wood. I’m glad it lived 500 years just for that” ? Crazy!

Few if any of us will ever have the pleasure to work with that kind of material. Even fewer will be able to produce furniture that will be respected as an antique when it’s been 100 years.

Back to the original question, around here back in 1400 the population was fairly close to zero humans, in a fairly heavy tropical forest, I wouldn’t have to walk over 50 feet to find a huge tropical “exotic” hardwood tree. 50mile radius would land me straight into cocobolo, rosewood, cumaru, almendro, tigerwood, nispero, tamarindo, granadillo, jatoba land and an extra 50miles will give me a list twice as long, without counting those that are now extinct and would’ve been common then. I guess I missed out LOL.

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1687 posts in 3070 days

#11 posted 04-03-2017 10:41 PM

Don’t forget Elm trees.

My grandfathers garage had some chestnut in the loft when we sold his house, I did not have a truck then and couldn’t take it, I wish I did because it was some big ole boards that had been up there for at least 50 years.

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2644 posts in 1593 days

#12 posted 04-03-2017 10:55 PM

You can still find some of that old growth stuff in old barns and houses. There was a guy here in Texas a few years back who salvaged some long leaf pine from barns and made beautiful furniture from it. The grain was simply amazing. There are also a few places where old growth timber that was being floated downstream to lumber mills sank to the bottom of deep pools and is now being salvaged. The spruce they find is especially sought after by guitar and other string instrument makers.

-- Nathan, TX -- Hire the lazy man. He may not do as much work but that's because he will find a better way.

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877 posts in 756 days

#13 posted 04-03-2017 11:09 PM

I’ve often heard the theory that years ago a fire could start on one end of the country An burn through to the other end. By that I doubt that there were many trees past a few hundred years. I do know a property close to me that supposedly has never been logged that anyone alive knows of. Supposedly there r trees over 6ft wide

-- Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with all thy might

View JCamp's profile (online now)


877 posts in 756 days

#14 posted 04-03-2017 11:16 PM

Here in Ohio our forests use to hav lots of nice big trees but our governor has been clear cutting them. I do not support that crap expecially since he’s done nothing at all for the towns An cities that r close by. Although he’s not totally at fault since the previous guy only left like 60 cent in our “rainy day fund”. Still you’ll never get those nice bigger trees back in several life times

-- Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with all thy might

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651 posts in 814 days

#15 posted 04-04-2017 12:10 AM

Yes there was a large fire following a drought in the00 mountains of Penn. This fire burned several million acers. The researchers think it happened around700to 800AD. The seed that survived the fires the best was the cherry tree seed. So they got a big jumpstart after that. So this is why Pennsylvania is famous for it’s cherry trees. Indiana isn’t steller in it’s conservation efforts either.

-- Illigitimii non carburundum sum

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