• Advertise with us

« back to Wood & Lumber forum

Forum topic by Dallas posted 10-22-2012 01:38 AM 1650 views 0 times favorited 24 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View Dallas's profile


3599 posts in 2509 days

10-22-2012 01:38 AM

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

View Grandpa's profile


3259 posts in 2697 days

#1 posted 10-22-2012 01:48 AM

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!!

View waho6o9's profile


8204 posts in 2599 days

#2 posted 10-22-2012 01:50 AM

Interesting comments on elm there as well.

View Dallas's profile


3599 posts in 2509 days

#3 posted 10-22-2012 02:04 AM

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!

View Grandpa's profile


3259 posts in 2697 days

#4 posted 10-22-2012 02:12 AM

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

View BentheViking's profile


1782 posts in 2586 days

#5 posted 10-22-2012 02:24 AM

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

View sikrap's profile


1121 posts in 3381 days

#6 posted 10-22-2012 02:30 AM

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

View gfadvm's profile


14940 posts in 2712 days

#7 posted 10-22-2012 03:31 AM

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


5 posts in 3102 days

#8 posted 10-22-2012 03:49 AM

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

View Monte Pittman's profile

Monte Pittman

29379 posts in 2360 days

#9 posted 10-22-2012 06:38 AM

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

-- Nature created it, I just assemble it.

View WDHLT15's profile


1747 posts in 2498 days

#10 posted 10-23-2012 03:05 AM

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 LT40HD35 Sawmill. Nyle L53 Dehumidification Kiln.

View rrww's profile


263 posts in 2135 days

#11 posted 10-23-2012 03:39 AM

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


3599 posts in 2509 days

#12 posted 10-23-2012 05:43 PM

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!

View knotscott's profile


8055 posts in 3397 days

#13 posted 10-23-2012 06:50 PM

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


388 posts in 2161 days

#14 posted 10-23-2012 07:45 PM

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


3599 posts in 2509 days

#15 posted 10-23-2012 09:36 PM

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!

showing 1 through 15 of 24 replies

Have your say...

You must be signed in to reply.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics