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American Elm

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Forum topic by JADobson posted 08-25-2012 03:29 AM 1522 views 0 times favorited 11 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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JADobson

323 posts in 801 days


08-25-2012 03:29 AM

Topic tags/keywords: elm

My neighbour is thinking about cutting down a great big elm tree in his backyard. I thought it might be a good opportunity to stock up on some lumber but then I thought, I don’t think I’ve seen anything built with elm. Does anyone have any experience working with it? Another problem I might have is dutch elm disease. The tree is healthy but here in Saskatchewan it is illegal to transport elm firewood. I’m not sure if they make exceptions for wood one wants to work with. I’d love to hear from anyone who knows more about that.

-- James


11 replies so far

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WDHLT15

1176 posts in 1166 days


#1 posted 08-25-2012 11:27 AM

Elm has spiral grain so it can tend to twist and warp in drying.

-- Danny Located in Perry, GA. Forester. Wood-Mizer LT15 Sawmill. Nyle L53 Dehumidification Kiln

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knotscott

5517 posts in 2066 days


#2 posted 08-25-2012 11:54 AM

I’ve built a couple of things from red elm. It is a bit more difficult to work with than some woods, but the grain is so worth it….it’s incredible. Once it’s dried and ready to work with, I let it acclimate well, then joint and plane it a little oversized, and let it acclimate some more, and dimension to final size….no issues with movement after that.

The lack of resolution of the pics obscures some of the detail in the grain, but you get a taste. There’s a secondary “bird feather” effect that the pics don’t show well that captures my attention every time I see it.


-- Happiness is like wetting your pants...everyone can see it, but only you can feel the warmth....

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JADobson

323 posts in 801 days


#3 posted 08-25-2012 12:41 PM

Thanks, make sure it is well dried and well acclimatized. Patience is a virtue as they say.

-- James

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tyskkvinna

1308 posts in 1676 days


#4 posted 08-25-2012 12:42 PM

I had the opportunity to turn some elm that was super green and it was beautiful.. the bowl stands strong today.

-- Lis - Michigan - http://www.missmooseart.com - https://www.etsy.com/people/lisbokt

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JADobson

323 posts in 801 days


#5 posted 08-25-2012 01:04 PM

I was wondering about turning. Its good to know that it turns well.

-- James

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Moron

4666 posts in 2584 days


#6 posted 08-25-2012 07:31 PM

As you can see its beautiful and as tough as a pigs nose………as one said, Patience is a virtue with this wood.

I’ve been in so many homes where the owner is in a second heaven with a barrage of remarks on the mission/craftsman style trim work. Rightfully so but they seem quite shocked to learn that the ash or oak trim work is in fact…….”Elm”

You cannot and should not transport the elm due to the potential of spreading the disease but if its kiln dried, the disease is dead.

-- "Good artists borrow, great artists steal”…..Picasso

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RogerM

451 posts in 1089 days


#7 posted 08-25-2012 08:50 PM

I get it from a local mill with logs cut in my community. It is open grain, light in color with some gold in it. It is heavy, hard, and very strong. The grain indeed twists and makes it somewhat difficult to work with. It works well when using scrapers, sanders, and sharp circular saws. Joiners power planers and routers can result in some chipping. Hope this helps. I have made a number of things with it and it can be very attractive especially when using an analine dye on it.

-- Roger M, Aiken, SC

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Barbara Gill

153 posts in 1350 days


#8 posted 08-25-2012 08:51 PM

I cut an American Elm up into very wide boards many years ago. They dried nice and flat. Elm has interlocking grain so it an be a challenge to power plane. Often hand planes are used to avoid tear out.
I love to use Elm for platters. The interlocking grain makes for a very pretty plate.

-- Barbara

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WDHLT15

1176 posts in 1166 days


#9 posted 08-26-2012 01:41 AM

The latewood pores in the elms are arranged in wavy bands, making for a striking grain pattern.

-- Danny Located in Perry, GA. Forester. Wood-Mizer LT15 Sawmill. Nyle L53 Dehumidification Kiln

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Moron

4666 posts in 2584 days


#10 posted 08-26-2012 02:18 AM

definitely a peculiar wood, quite distinct in its what it likes and what it hates. Seems to be a longer learning curve then most specie, quite unique in its properties and characteristics. Bends like no other, add steam and it turns into rope : ))

-- "Good artists borrow, great artists steal”…..Picasso

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Moron

4666 posts in 2584 days


#11 posted 08-26-2012 02:25 AM

Always wondered if after time, one could read the grain, to make an unbreakable baseball bat ?

So similar to ash, but at the same time, so different.

-- "Good artists borrow, great artists steal”…..Picasso

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