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Ever made furniture out of sassafras?

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Forum topic by mrjinx007 posted 08-21-2013 12:51 PM 1501 views 0 times favorited 11 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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mrjinx007

1789 posts in 486 days


08-21-2013 12:51 PM

Hi,
So, I came across this sassafras tree and had it milled to some 3 and some 2 inch thick lumber. Some of the slabs are about 28” wide. I’ve never seen sassafras that big. I love the bark and am thinking of joining two slabs together for a table project. I have worked with small sassafras sticks and they have a lot of rosine and the wood is fairly soft. Wondering what type of finish would do best on this since it is a soft wood. Poly, is a pain to do on a large project but provides that hard protection. Oils probably bring out the best but no surface protection. Also, some of the bark in small places are damages due to the lift. I think I can manage to still make the natural edge look good by doing some sand curving of the bark toward the areas that has no bark.
Thanks for your input.

-- earthartandfoods.com


11 replies so far

View Don Broussard's profile

Don Broussard

2103 posts in 970 days


#1 posted 08-21-2013 01:04 PM

mrjinx—I helped build a bar with sassafras and cypress. You can see the project here. Note that sassafras is a direct toxin and special precautions are needed. The wood itself is beautiful and is not too difficult to work with. Just note the danger and act appropriately.

-- People say I hammer like lightning. It's not that I'm fast -- it's that I never hit the same place twice!

View Don W's profile

Don W

15397 posts in 1286 days


#2 posted 08-21-2013 01:11 PM

Can we get some pictures of the 28” slabs? You don’t see many of those these days. I’ve never worked with sassafras. You don’t see many in upstate NY.

-- Master hand plane hoarder. - http://timetestedtools.com

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reedwood

887 posts in 1395 days


#3 posted 08-21-2013 01:29 PM

I like saying sassafras,.......so sassy…....yea,......sexy too.
Sassafras, ssaaaassafraaaas, sassafrassy, sassafrerrious,.... sassman.

sumptuous, sappy, sexy, sassy, sassafras…....yea, I like it.

I’m so wierd

-- Mark - I prefer the tumult of liberty to the quiet of servitude.

View Fred Hargis's profile

Fred Hargis

1969 posts in 1212 days


#4 posted 08-21-2013 01:33 PM

I made a bookcase out of the only sassafras I’ve ever had. Can’t say it’s the most beautiful of woods, but it’s easy to work, has that wonderful smell, and was relatively inexpensive. I’t snot an ugly wood; I like the color of the pieces I had, but the grain was fairly plain.

-- Our village hasn't lost it's idiot, he was elected to congress.

View Don Broussard's profile

Don Broussard

2103 posts in 970 days


#5 posted 08-21-2013 02:28 PM

Fred reminded me that the smell is a pretty neat bonus, if you like root beer.

-- People say I hammer like lightning. It's not that I'm fast -- it's that I never hit the same place twice!

View knotscott's profile

knotscott

5556 posts in 2094 days


#6 posted 08-21-2013 08:38 PM

Works well, smells great! It’s a little oak wearing perfume!

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

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mrjinx007

1789 posts in 486 days


#7 posted 08-21-2013 09:17 PM

Not the best pictures, but you get the idea. The crouch has some nice grain and I think some stone inlay may make up for the blah color. The little piece was the first cut after the bark cut.

-- earthartandfoods.com

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mrjinx007

1789 posts in 486 days


#8 posted 08-21-2013 09:29 PM

Don, love the bar. What do you mean toxins?? I use the roots for several purposes including drinking it and medicinal reasons. I know, there are rumors that it causes cancer, but I think that was because the beverage companies got tired of extracting their root beer from sassafras and now use artificial coloring and flavor.
I am interested to know what precautions you took.
Reedwood, too funny!

-- earthartandfoods.com

View Don Broussard's profile

Don Broussard

2103 posts in 970 days


#9 posted 08-22-2013 12:29 AM

@mrjinx—Thanks for the compliment on the bar. We were pretty pleased with how it came out. I read the information on this link about the toxicity of sassafras. The chart indicates that sassafras affects the heart and lungs. As for precautions, we used hand tools to minimize dust creation, and when we used power tools, we used a dust mask. No health consequences so far (that we know of).

Seems ironic that the wood is a direct toxin but it is/was used to make root beer . . . We did drink a lot of home made root beer when I was a kid—that explains a lot!

-- People say I hammer like lightning. It's not that I'm fast -- it's that I never hit the same place twice!

View WDHLT15's profile

WDHLT15

1184 posts in 1195 days


#10 posted 08-22-2013 02:25 AM

100% tung oil. Not the “tung oil finish”, but the pure stuff. I bet that it will look nice.

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

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mrjinx007

1789 posts in 486 days


#11 posted 10-16-2013 12:12 AM

Sassafeas first cut. Finally finished this one. I am so glad my wife talked me out of burning this one!

-- earthartandfoods.com

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