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Looking for eastern hophornbeam boards

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Forum topic by jay_m posted 08-12-2012 11:27 PM 2525 views 0 times favorited 17 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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jay_m

5 posts in 798 days


08-12-2012 11:27 PM

Topic tags/keywords: question

Hi all -

I am a banjo maker, and have been looking, for some time, for some nice, straight grained hophornbeam. Ideally I could get some 3” wide lumber, mostly heartwood, to use for some projects. I’ve looked all around, talked to tree removal guys, small lumber yards, ebay, etc., etc., but all to no avail.

Anyone have any ideas?


17 replies so far

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Planeman40

483 posts in 1446 days


#1 posted 08-13-2012 11:29 PM

Its interesting that you asked. I would love to have some Hornbeam too (most woodworkers leave off the “hop” as that only refers the appearance of its seeds which look like hops that beer is made with). So after your request I did an Internet search for both “Hophornbeam” and “Hornbeam”. What I got were a lot of scholarly descriptions but no suppliers. It appears to be available as a tree all across most of the USA and is often used an an ornamental in people’s yards. Apparently there is no commercial call for it. I suggest you find a local sawmill, preferably a smaller one, and put in an order there and wait. Maybe with an order for it they will scrounge up a tree for you. If you find a source I wish you would post it here. This and keep an eye on eBay.

Planeman

-- Always remember: It is a mathematical certainty that half the people in this country are below average in intelligence!

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jay_m

5 posts in 798 days


#2 posted 08-13-2012 11:33 PM

Thanks planeman. The problem is, it’s tough to disambiguate between species, and regular old “hornbeam” is usually used to describe any of several variants, while hophornbeam is a specific subspecies. It gets more confusing because they’re all generally referred to as ironwood—an all-encompassing name that is also used to refer to a few other, totally unrelated species.

I actually do have one of my suppliers—a tree removal guy in the midwest who also runs a small but excellent lumbermill—looking for me. But the wait is killing me! It grows all around New England—I wish I had the gumption or equipment to just go out and cut one down and it to a mill.

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jmos

681 posts in 1054 days


#3 posted 08-13-2012 11:36 PM

Here’s a longshot, but might be worth a try; Lie-Nielsen use Maine hornbeam for chisel handles. If you contacted them they might turn you on to their supplier.

-- John

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ayryq

71 posts in 876 days


#4 posted 08-14-2012 04:10 PM

My parents have one of these in their yard. It’s older than me, and not much bigger. Seems like it’d have to be pretty expensive given how slow it grows. 30 years to get a three-inch-wide board is a serious commitment.

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RockyBlue

270 posts in 1378 days


#5 posted 08-28-2012 12:39 PM

Try Monte http://lumberjocks.com/projects/67878
He has a small mill and access to this wood.

-- I haven't had this much fun since hogs ate my little brother. www.rockybluewoodworks.com

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jay_m

5 posts in 798 days


#6 posted 08-28-2012 12:43 PM

Hey thanks. I will do that as soon as I can send messages. I have one potentially promising lead, but it’s just as likely that t won’t pan out.

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hairy

2062 posts in 2217 days


#7 posted 08-28-2012 01:35 PM

I did a quick peek at searchtempest.com for hop hornbeam.

http://www.searchtempest.com/results.php?search_string=+hop+hornbeam&category=8&Region=na&cityselect=zip&location=45230&maxDist=50000&region_us=1&srchType=&showeb=1&keytype=adv&minAsk=&maxAsk=&subcat=sss

It’s a site that searches multiple craigslists.

-- the last of Barret's Privateers...

View Monte Pittman's profile

Monte Pittman

14551 posts in 1023 days


#8 posted 09-01-2012 11:05 AM

Actually there are about 180 different species of trees that get referred to as Ironwood according to department of agriculture. There are only a few of those that are actual Ironwood and most of those are considered endangered and are illegal to harvest.

Yes, I have access to hop hornbeam. Incredibly hard strong stuff. Jay, it looks like either today or tomorrow we’re going in there after some more old oak trees. We will cut the biggest we can find. The land owner has 50-100 acres being overrun with this stuff and would like it clear cut. I am looking for uses for it if anyone has suggestions.

Tool handles, sure. But there’s a limit to how many of those you need. I make walking sticks out of the thin stuff and it works great. But that only used up a couple hundred square feet of clear cut. Once you get a hundred or so on hand, don’t really need to store more. I have carved it into spoons and utensils. Once again looking for suggestions.

-- Mother Nature created it, I just assemble it.

View Planeman40's profile

Planeman40

483 posts in 1446 days


#9 posted 09-01-2012 12:35 PM

One use that Jay_m is probably thinking of is fretboards of musical instruments. Ebony has been the usual wood for years (hard, resists wear from string use) with Rosewood being the alternate wood (same properties). But now with both being on the endangered list and considering all of the trouble Gibson has recently gone though I am sure other woods are being considered. Hophornbeam though not as beautiful as ebony and rosewood would do the job. Maybe it could be dyed to “spruce” it up. :)

Planeman

-- Always remember: It is a mathematical certainty that half the people in this country are below average in intelligence!

View Clint Searl's profile

Clint Searl

1473 posts in 1046 days


#10 posted 09-01-2012 12:41 PM

I have both Eastern Hophornbeam (shaggy bark) and American Hornbeam (smooth muscled bark) growing on my property, neither of which get over about 8 inches in diameter nor very tall, so I doubt that you’ll find any boards in the dimension you referenced.

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

View Planeman40's profile

Planeman40

483 posts in 1446 days


#11 posted 09-01-2012 12:55 PM

Three to four inches in width is all that is needed for the soles of wooden planes and two to three inches in width is all that is needed for instrument fretboards.

Planeman

-- Always remember: It is a mathematical certainty that half the people in this country are below average in intelligence!

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ChristmasCat

2 posts in 725 days


#12 posted 10-24-2012 05:48 PM

I wonder where you are? I just happen to have Hophornbeam logs just trimmed from its 40’ tree in my back yard. Tree was identified by arborist. Logs are “man size” at about 20in long by 12-18in diameter (and I dont think I could carry them). Big ol’ fella. My Dad is a woodie so I thought someone like you might like access to hardwood. If interested – or know someone in Atlanta area who might be – let me know.

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Planeman40

483 posts in 1446 days


#13 posted 10-25-2012 06:57 PM

Hello ChristmasCat,

I live in the Sandy Springs area of Atlanta, GA and would like some of these logs. I just sent you an e-mail through the Lumberjocks website. I will be out of town for the weekend but will be back Tuesday. We can talk then.

Thanks!!!

Rufus Carswell
(404) 843-3007

-- Always remember: It is a mathematical certainty that half the people in this country are below average in intelligence!

View Ric124's profile

Ric124

5 posts in 409 days


#14 posted 09-05-2013 07:24 PM

Jay m…. My friend has hophornbeam trees . He is hospitalized an saw this post, I have access, are you still interested ? He wants to know their worth.

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ChristmasCat

2 posts in 725 days


#15 posted 09-05-2013 09:12 PM

My big ol’ Hophornbeam in inner city Atlanta, GA seems to be having a tough time. Neighbors have taken upon themselves to cut off too many overhanging limbs, despite warnings from arborist. I’m a little mad, but mostly sad to see this fella failing. In any case, I’m likely to have to get it removed. This tree is about 40 feet tall and has girth of 36 inches. If anyone has any interest in some/all of the timber, we may be able to help each other out.

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