LumberJocks

Beetle Kill Blue Pine

  • Advertise with us

« back to Finishing forum

Forum topic by OldWrangler posted 02-23-2014 09:30 AM 1022 views 1 time favorited 15 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View OldWrangler's profile

OldWrangler

558 posts in 250 days


02-23-2014 09:30 AM

Topic tags/keywords: beetle kill ponderosa pine

This may have been answered before but I can’t find it. I just got about 20 BF of the prettiest Ponderosa Beetle Kill Pine. Lots of yellowy knots, plenty of the slate blue wood with contrasting tan and even some white stripes. One of the prettiest woods I have ever used. I wonder why this wood isn’t well known for woodworking? A supplier told me there are a million acres in western U.S with over a billion dead trees killed by this beetle. Mostly they make flooring with this wood but it makes any project look great. And the price of the wood (BF) is very cheap and cost less than the shipping costs to get it here. Attached pic shows how good this wood looks (not my project). And the wood is just standing dead so this does not require cutting anything alive and is a very sustainable resource. Saw mills cutting this wood are in places like Montana, Wyoming, Colorado and a few other states

My question is….what kind of finish will make the contrasting colors and the grain pop. Should I seal the wood before finishing? Would Shellac be the best sealer? I understand the blue wood tends to fade with UV rays so what final finish would protect against that? I emailed MinWax and their suggestion was Helmsman Spar Varnish with the UV protector. This is an expensive way to go. I already have some 2 part Epoxy polyurethane that makes a glass-like finish but I don’t know if it will protect against color fade.

This forum has always provided great answers on previous questions so I am sure I am asking the right people. Let me know what you think.

-- If trees could scream, would we still cut them down. We might, if they did it all the time for no good reason


15 replies so far

View Monte Pittman's profile

Monte Pittman

14197 posts in 993 days


#1 posted 02-23-2014 03:04 PM

I use a LOT of beetle kill pine. Danish oil works great. Oil based poly is good also.

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

View Monte Pittman's profile

Monte Pittman

14197 posts in 993 days


#2 posted 02-23-2014 03:12 PM

Explanations, yes there’s that many trees standing dead in the rockies. However, because of several environmental groups, the are not allowed to harvest most of them. For some reason, I am in the Black Hills of South Dakota, and I am allowed to cut it here. The last 2 years i have cut about 15,000 board feet. I hope to cut and store as much as possible over the next few years. If you ever need some (rough cut) just holler.

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

View Lee Barker's profile

Lee Barker

2163 posts in 1505 days


#3 posted 02-23-2014 04:53 PM

We’ve a lot of that stuff in Central Oregon. I have used it in interiors back in my days of house construction and remodeling. We’d usually douse it in Olympic Clear Seal Prime and call it good.

It is still available here but not as plentiful as 30 years ago. That was about the beginning of the infestation here.

For the guys who have used poly, do you have trouble getting an even sheen between knots and flat grain?

Kindly,

Lee

-- "...in his brain, which is as dry as the remainder biscuit after a voyage, he hath strange places cramm'd with observation, the which he vents in mangled forms." --Shakespeare, "As You Like It"

View bondogaposis's profile

bondogaposis

2528 posts in 1006 days


#4 posted 02-23-2014 05:34 PM

Most epoxies do not have UV inhibitors and the epoxy itself will degrade with exposure to UV. I would think that spar varnish is far cheaper than epoxy finish, at least that has been my experience.

-- Bondo Gaposis

View Monte Pittman's profile

Monte Pittman

14197 posts in 993 days


#5 posted 02-23-2014 07:08 PM

I have used spar and it worked very well. On the oil based poly, beetle kill pine soaks up finish like toilet paper. It takesmmore coats to get an even shine. I like brush on lacquer also. But be prepared for many coats to get an even finish.

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

View Bluepine38's profile

Bluepine38

2876 posts in 1740 days


#6 posted 02-23-2014 07:43 PM

If you cut the trees the first year they are dead, the wood is pretty good, but if you wait a few years, the
trees get punky soft wood. Do not know what the longest interval is to still get good wood. But after the
greenies protest the logging long enough the trees are worthless.

-- As ever, Gus-the 75 yr young apprentice carpenter

View OldWrangler's profile

OldWrangler

558 posts in 250 days


#7 posted 02-23-2014 09:22 PM

Monte, thanks for the offer. If I use up what I just got I’ll be in touch. I emailed Rockler and their suggestion was to use a spar varnish. Might be good to seal the wood first with maybe shellac. Supplier I bought from said the longer the tree stand, the more color. He prefers to harvest trees dead for about 5 years. Nothing he sent was punky. If the administration sees anyone making money off of dead trees, they will stop the harvest and declare these dead trees a National Resource and then let them rot.

-- If trees could scream, would we still cut them down. We might, if they did it all the time for no good reason

View Monte Pittman's profile

Monte Pittman

14197 posts in 993 days


#8 posted 02-24-2014 01:23 AM

The color is not based on time, it’s based on water. The beetles kill the tree 2 different ways. The beetles get below the bark and cut the cambium layer of the tree. The tree not only can’t carry sap for food to the rest of the tree, the sap leaks out the bug holes. Very common to see sap running down the outside of the beetle trees.

Second, the beetles carry a fungus. It’s just called “blue fungus”. It goes into the sapwood of the tree. It plugs the sapwood so that the tree is unable to carry water to the rest of the tree. So in essence, if the tree is in an area that gets plenty of water, then you get lots of color. However, if you are in an area where there is little water, then you get very little color.

You will find various other colors in the wood as well. The second most common is red. I have been told by the forest service that it’s just different colors of fungus. None of which are harmful to people. Now you know more than you ever cared too.

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

View OldWrangler's profile

OldWrangler

558 posts in 250 days


#9 posted 02-24-2014 01:54 AM

I have spent all day working with the Blue Pine I got on Sat. That is really nice wood, cuts clean, not hard on tools and the saw dust is not nearly so toxic as the Mesquite I am usually using. This is a lot like Aromatic Red Cedar which is another of my favorites.
I am glad for any education you can give me. Up until about 3 weeks ago I didn’t even know this wood existed. I have ordered another load (for me a load is anything more than I can carry). Hopefully I can sell some on Ebay to pay for part of the order. I got 20 BF of various sizes for $100 incl. shipping. Sounds like a heck of a good price when compared with what I pay for Walnut, Red Cedar, Pecan and Mesquite.
Soon as I get some good projects finished, I’ll post them. Thanks for all your advice, info and help. Is this a great site or what?

-- If trees could scream, would we still cut them down. We might, if they did it all the time for no good reason

View Monte Pittman's profile

Monte Pittman

14197 posts in 993 days


#10 posted 02-24-2014 02:09 AM

20 board feet for $100? I really need to raise prices. I thought only California paid that much. (It’s a fad in California now. Paying premium prices for it).

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

View OldWrangler's profile

OldWrangler

558 posts in 250 days


#11 posted 02-24-2014 02:17 AM

Hey Monte,
Was this not a good price considering the shipping has been costing me about a $1 per pound on wood? This 20 BF probably weighs 40 lbs. What can I get the wood from you for. I’ll be buying more soon, let me know. Have you got any pictures of your wood?

-- If trees could scream, would we still cut them down. We might, if they did it all the time for no good reason

View Monte Pittman's profile

Monte Pittman

14197 posts in 993 days


#12 posted 02-24-2014 02:31 AM

Look at my projects.

I get a $1 per board foot. I don’t know what shipping costs. All of mine is rough cut, although I can plane it for you. Keep in mind that we are surrounded with it here. Most of it gets burned. I hope to cut and store as much as possible. The beetles are a cycle. I want to have it long after they are gone.

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

View OldWrangler's profile

OldWrangler

558 posts in 250 days


#13 posted 02-24-2014 03:02 AM

I just looked at your projects and they are supurb. Not only is the wood great and the designs wonderful but the precision of your work shows. Do you have a saw mill? Well hell, you have to have one with that much wood. See if you can figure an approximate shipping cost to Houston, TX and we might be able to do some business.
I’d also be real interested in some of the Red Box Elder. In fact, when you have time I would really like to see a list of what you’ve got for sale. I can never have too much wood and I have some friends who are also retired and have wood shops. We might be able to get up a pretty good order as a group buy.
What variety of Pines do you have the Beetle Kill from?

-- If trees could scream, would we still cut them down. We might, if they did it all the time for no good reason

View Monte Pittman's profile

Monte Pittman

14197 posts in 993 days


#14 posted 02-24-2014 03:15 AM

Because of the fire, I am very limited right now. I will have some red cedar in the next month. Have some poplar. Getting a bunch more stuff. Just takes time. I am hauling loads of beetle kill as much as possible. I will check on shipping. I do hope to be as far south as Dallas yet this spring.

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

View OldWrangler's profile

OldWrangler

558 posts in 250 days


#15 posted 03-08-2014 05:16 AM

Monte,

Did you get a chance to see what Beetle Kill you care to part with? Also let me know about shipping costs as well. I would like to get 10-20 BF in 4’ or more boards 4” or wider and 3/4 or 4/4. And if you can dress it, that would save some wear and tear on my planer. The bluer the better and gnarly with plenty of tight knots. I don’t want much, do I?

Have you started the rebuild of your shop yet. That’s gonna be a real undertaking, I wish you luck. Look to hear from you soon. Thanks, George

-- If trees could scream, would we still cut them down. We might, if they did it all the time for no good reason

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