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Elm?

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Forum topic by Dallas posted 548 days ago 1056 views 0 times favorited 24 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Dallas

2691 posts in 992 days


548 days ago

I will be taking down an elm tree soon in an effort to keep the campers in our RV park safe.
It’s still living, but with our drought of the last few years it’s losing the good fight and dropping limbs and allowing insect invasion.

I’ve used a couple of chunks of it to make a mallet and some chisel handles, but am not sure it would be worth slabbing any up into boards.

Any ideas on how stable it is and the best thickness if I do cut slabs? The tree is pretty small, only about 26” at the butt and 20” across 8’ up.

No bugs in the main trunk yet, but I don’t want to let them get to it if I can help it.

Thanks all! Carry On.

-- Improvise.... Adapt...... Overcome!


24 replies so far

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Grandpa

2985 posts in 1180 days


#1 posted 548 days ago

I thin the cracking and checking will be pretty bad. Don’t know about how thick to slab it. I have seen Elm Tables. I think they were veneered but it was absolutely beautiful. I don’t know how they were able to cut veneer off an elm log. Have you ever tried to split that stuff as in firewood?? Just plain nasty to split!!

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waho6o9

4457 posts in 1082 days


#2 posted 548 days ago

http://lumberjocks.com/projects/73055

Interesting comments on elm there as well.

View Dallas's profile

Dallas

2691 posts in 992 days


#3 posted 548 days ago

Thanks Wahoo, I saw that one as well, that’s why I asked this question.

Grandpa, I have a couple of pieces of the limbs that fell off last year that I cleaned up and had almost no cracking or checking. They were totally dead nd obviously air dried, but are as hard as a rock and solid all the way through.

Oh, and yeah, I’ve tried to split the stuff with a 5 ton splitter before… I won’t try that again. It’s easier to cut 1/4” mild steel than that stuff and have it remain square and straight.

-- Improvise.... Adapt...... Overcome!

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Grandpa

2985 posts in 1180 days


#4 posted 548 days ago

I have a 22 ton log splitter and have come across logs I couldn’t split.

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BentheViking

1692 posts in 1069 days


#5 posted 548 days ago

We have had a few elm floors at my work that are pretty cool including one right now that is a 5” width. lengths tend to be less that 3’6” (maybe a few closer to 5’)? could be hard to come by long lengths without splitting???

-- It's made of wood. Real sturdy.--Chubbs Peterson

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sikrap

968 posts in 1864 days


#6 posted 548 days ago

I had an elm tree cut down a few years ago. It is incredibly hard and I watched one guy bust 3 chains on his chainsaw trying to cut the smaller logs into firewood. Research I did revealed that elm was used a lot for barn floors because its so hard. At any rate, I had one of the big (about 30” diameter) logs cut into 2” thick slabs. I sealed the ends of the slabs with Anchorseal, but some of them still checked. I stickered them in my driveway and let them dry for 3 years before I cut them into manageable boards. They are now about 1 1/2” thick and the checking didn’t really affect my ability to cut them into boards. There was almost no warping/cupping. I’m thinking of using some for a base for a bench, a couple step stools and who knows what else. Oh, if all else fails, its unbelievable as firewood. If its white elm, it will actually burn with a blue flame :)

-- Dave, Colonie, NY

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gfadvm

9578 posts in 1195 days


#7 posted 548 days ago

Dallas, I have sawed some elm with my little chainsaw mill (way too much work). I cut it 1” thick, stacked and stickered in my shop attic for about 4-6 months, and got shallow checks on the ends but minimal cupping (except on the top board which I should have weighted down more. It really is some beautiful stuff. My slabs were about 7 1/2’ long and 11” wide. Worked well enough that I’ll cut 2 more logs when it cools off.

-- " I'll try to be nicer, if you'll try to be smarter" gfadvm

View thahorrah's profile

thahorrah

5 posts in 1585 days


#8 posted 548 days ago

Dallas, I have minimal experience with elm, but I recently made a stool from it. The single board I bought, from a local sawmill, was kiln dried, but had been sitting for quite a while. It was about 5/4, but had considerable cupping. I didn’t need the full thickness, so a few hours on the drum sander at a slow speed took care of that. I was pleasantly surprised with the results. I found easy to work, and the grain was superb.

-- Chris, Nebraska

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Monte Pittman

10897 posts in 843 days


#9 posted 548 days ago

Nice wood. Can get twisty if you don’t stack and dry it right. I love the grain in elm.

-- Mother Nature created it, I just assemble it. - It's not ability that we often lack, but the patience to use our ability

View WDHLT15's profile

WDHLT15

985 posts in 981 days


#10 posted 547 days ago

Beautiful wood. Spiral grain, though, so difficult to dry straight, especially 4/4. I would saw it 2 3/8” thick for tabletops.

-- Danny, Located in Perry, GA, Forester, Wood-Mizer LT15 Sawmill

View rrww's profile

rrww

203 posts in 618 days


#11 posted 547 days ago

I got a few hundered feet of it for next to nothing all 5/4. It was cupped and twisted a bit, but I don’t know who cut and dried it. I really like the way it looks. This is just a clear lacquer.

View Dallas's profile

Dallas

2691 posts in 992 days


#12 posted 546 days ago

Thanks all! I’ve been following this thread closely, but had trouble replying until I replaced my Keyboard… I’m not a touch typist and the letters are really worn!

I really like the elm and have used it for a couple of things, although not big stuff.

Like Andy, (gfadvm), I use a chainsaw mill and it take awhile to cut a slab especially from really hard wood.
I did learn that if I use an LPX Oregon chain instead of a Vangaurd Oregon chain, I can cut longer and a lot faster.

One thing I noticed is that my elm stays a lot whiter than what I’ve seen pictured here. I know most of it is sap wood, but there is enough of it that is well aged that should have turned dark by now.

Any Ideas?

-- Improvise.... Adapt...... Overcome!

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knotscott

5154 posts in 1881 days


#13 posted 546 days ago

Elm isn’t the easiest stuff to work with, but it’s so beautiful (IMHO) that it’s worth the effort. It’s more prone to movement than some woods, and is also prone leaving jagged fuzz on the boards even when using high quality sharp cutters, but the grain can be spectacular. Once dried, I let it acclimate well, then oversize the initial dimensions, let it acclimate another day or two before dimensioning to final size. There’s a unique secondary “bird feather” detail in the grain that gets lost in the resolution of the pics below, but even the primary grain is really attractive IMO.


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

View grfrazee's profile

grfrazee

320 posts in 645 days


#14 posted 546 days ago

My parents bought an elm bedroom set for their guest bedroom. It has some of the prettiest grain I’ve seen, very similar to what knotscott posted above. Kinda reminds me of feathers.

If you can get it slabbed or milled into serviceable boards, I would highly recommend it. Heck, if you have any offcuts you don’t want, I would love them for some lathe tool/chisel handles.

-- -=Pride is not a sin=-

View Dallas's profile

Dallas

2691 posts in 992 days


#15 posted 546 days ago

Thanks Scott, I’ve only used small pieces of branch wood before and never really saw much in the grain.
Hopefully These bigger logs will will prove out nicely.

gfrazee, I’ll be slabbing it myself with my little chainsaw mill. I’m not sure how long it will take to dry them in the wood shop as I’m going to take some advice above by another poster and cut it at 2 3/8” plus some at 4”.
When it’s usable I’ll be happy to send some off to you.

-- Improvise.... Adapt...... Overcome!

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