LumberJocks

Waiting for Elm lumber...

  • Advertise with us

« back to Wood & Lumber forum

Forum topic by Jarred posted 11-18-2012 01:53 PM 1497 views 0 times favorited 15 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View Jarred's profile

Jarred

49 posts in 733 days


11-18-2012 01:53 PM

Topic tags/keywords: elm air dry lumber

Finally had our American elm tree taken down this month after the signs of Dutch Elm disease were too blatant to ignore. Sad to see it go. Took it to a local mill that specializes in urban trees to have it milled (also picked up a couple of large silver maple logs from the tree service).

I’m going to build two stacks on my deck to air-dry. Knowing the reputation of elm for tendency to warp, I’m going to try to follow optimal practices (12” spaced stickers, same thickness of all boards in the stack, etc.). I’m having the top end of the bole with a nice crotch slabbed, probably to 6/4, along with the maple. The rest of the elm I’ll have sawn at 4/4.

I’ll post some pictures of the project in process when I have the chance.

Any thoughts or advice are welcome.

Jarred

-- No reserve. No retreat. No regrets.


15 replies so far

View knotscott's profile

knotscott

5514 posts in 2063 days


#1 posted 11-18-2012 03:33 PM

I have zero advice on how to dry it properly, but I sure think it’ll be worth the effort. Elm can be amazing….it’s kind of a pain to work with, but the grain can be spectacular. I found it to be prone to movement after milling it, but if you let it acclimate, mill it slightly oversize, let it acclimate for another day or two, then mill to final dimensions, it’ll hold it place pretty well.

A lot of detail is lost in the resolution of the pics, but you get an idea of what the grain can be like:
http://i6.photobucket.com/albums/y203/hewood/Towel%20Chest/TowelChest023.jpg
http://i6.photobucket.com/albums/y203/hewood/Towel%20Chest/TowelChest035.jpg
http://lumberjocks.com/assets/pictures/projects/54724-438x.jpg

Good luck and please follow up with pics when it’s ready!!

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

View Monte Pittman's profile

Monte Pittman

14586 posts in 1026 days


#2 posted 11-18-2012 08:12 PM

Elm is beautiful wood. Just takes patience getting it there. You won’t be sorry.

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

View Jarred's profile

Jarred

49 posts in 733 days


#3 posted 11-18-2012 09:44 PM

Here are a couple of pictures of the tree, stump, and the maple logs I should have left in the tree lot :). I have set up, leveled the concrete blocks for the lumber stacks, although I think I’ll be waiting awhile for the lumber. Good thing its winter and not very much drying should be taking place!

-- No reserve. No retreat. No regrets.

View WDHLT15's profile

WDHLT15

1172 posts in 1164 days


#4 posted 11-19-2012 04:18 AM

As long as the sticker stack is covered, looks like you have a good plan.

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

View Jarred's profile

Jarred

49 posts in 733 days


#5 posted 08-30-2013 12:34 AM

Update

Got the first two logs back from the mill late Saturday afternoon. Spent a good part of the night crosscutting them in half, trimming, end-coating and stickering/stacking them onto my two stacks. It was quite a bit of work considering that the butt log and crotch aren’t among the sawn logs yet! The remainder are supposed to be done sometime in the next week.

Here are a couple of pics of the (semi-)finished stacks

Ja

rred

-- No reserve. No retreat. No regrets.

View hydro's profile

hydro

208 posts in 439 days


#6 posted 08-30-2013 01:11 PM

I have cut and dried a lot of elm over the years and it looks like you are doing things right. You will find that the wood will do more or less what it wants to do regardless of your precautions. The wide boards will split and check through the center if the pith is in there and there will be end checking and splitting. Just go with the flow and let it dry, then see what you can use and how it works into your projects. Do not expect to have wide flat solid planks when done. Watch the maple and get it indoors as soon as it has dried. In the outdoor MC (about 15%) you can have problems with insects boring through the wood, but that will become unlikely once it dries further indoors.

As far as drying time, here in Minnesota it takes about one year per inch of board thickness to reach equilibrium MC outdoors, so for a 2” plank, let them sit a couple of years. At that point the wood won’t move much more and it can be brought indoors to stabilize to the indoor MC climate. As mentioned above, elm can be tough to work with hand tools like a plane, but cuts nicely with sharp power tools.

-- Minnesota Woodworkers Guild, Past President, Lifetime member.

View Jarred's profile

Jarred

49 posts in 733 days


#7 posted 09-02-2013 02:46 PM

Thanks for the input Hydro. Hoping to get enough useable material for a couple of small pieces of furniture, small boxes, etc. I’ve dried some maple in the past, which seemed to do well. I’ll keep the area around the stacks clear so that insects are less likely to be a problem.

-- No reserve. No retreat. No regrets.

View Jarred's profile

Jarred

49 posts in 733 days


#8 posted 09-17-2013 11:02 PM

More lumber added. This time I had the crotch milled into 6/4 slabs in hopes that one will make a good coffee table.

-- No reserve. No retreat. No regrets.

View Arlin Eastman's profile

Arlin Eastman

2118 posts in 1249 days


#9 posted 09-17-2013 11:07 PM

One Idea to cut down on the cracks on any drying timber is to put anchorseal on the ends. It has really helped me alot.

Or another type is called Sealtite by Klingspor’s

Arlin

-- It is always the right time, to do the right thing.

View Jarred's profile

Jarred

49 posts in 733 days


#10 posted 09-18-2013 04:56 PM

Arlin,

Thanks for the comment. I Anchorsealed theends when they were freshly cut (not 10 months ago), but I think the sap drainage kept the wax from sealing the pith, and so there was some degrade. All of the boards except for the bottom 5 crotch slabs I have recut at the ends and anchorsealed. It doesn’t show up very well in the pictures.

Hope that helps keep checking at a minimum.

Jarred

-- No reserve. No retreat. No regrets.

View SteviePete's profile

SteviePete

224 posts in 1991 days


#11 posted 09-18-2013 06:00 PM

Like Hydro I really like elm. You can lose lots if the drying is done without best practices. I have found I waste a lot with 4/4 and end splits, even under good conditions. In the end I found at least 6 months to air dry in the stickered stack. Cover top and sides with heavy (6-10 mil) clear poly, ends toward prevaling wind. I restacked after a year and culled twisted and heavy knots. Cut this material up for small gifts—book marks and gun scales and knife handles. Remainder is planed flat and square—waxed and stacked in heated shop. My sawyer is slow to change dull headsaw blades so I find tapers on ends and around knots. (Due to drift of BS when pushed hard.) I try to square these up. What I had left was all the 6 to 12 quarter sawn which will need to be resawn over the next few years. I have been able to find red elm – just as few logs at a time. They will be sawn through and through—6/4 and up. I heard God gives you extra lifetime days if you are waiting for wood to dry. Good Luck. On Wisconsin. Steve.

-- Steve, 'Sconie Great White North

View Jarred's profile

Jarred

49 posts in 733 days


#12 posted 09-29-2013 12:54 PM

Steve,

Thanks for the advice. Will take the stack down after about 6 months. At that point I’ll see what makes it and what doesn’t.

Don’t know if God gives extra days while waiting for lumber to dry, but I sure hope so! Being a “doer” it is hard to look out at the stacks every day and not be able to speed up the process!

Jarred

-- No reserve. No retreat. No regrets.

View Jarred's profile

Jarred

49 posts in 733 days


#13 posted 10-20-2013 05:10 PM

I’ve been tracking the moisture content of the elm boards every week or two. Makes me feel like I’m doing something. I haven’t been so thorough as to take down the stack each time to access central boards, but it gives me some idea of the drying rate. I figure I’ll add 2% to the MC of the outside boards to figure out when to take down the pile.

Here is a graph of the MC% since I got the lumber back:

-- No reserve. No retreat. No regrets.

View Jarred's profile

Jarred

49 posts in 733 days


#14 posted 10-23-2013 01:02 AM

Still waiting for the last couple of logs to be sawn. Hopefully will get those stacked before the first real snow.

-- No reserve. No retreat. No regrets.

View Jarred's profile

Jarred

49 posts in 733 days


#15 posted 11-04-2013 05:02 PM

Apparently I have too much free time on my hands. Made a couple of other grpahs from my data along with weather data from www.ncdc.noaa.gov for Cleveland during the drying period so far.
FYI if anyone wants a copy and paste version of the equilibrium moisture content equation, please let me know. Took a long time to write into my spreadsheet program.

-- No reserve. No retreat. No regrets.

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

HomeRefurbers.com

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics

GardenTenders.com :: gardening showcase