Cottonwood Slabs

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Forum topic by PhillipRCW posted 12-09-2014 05:35 PM 1070 views 0 times favorited 2 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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382 posts in 682 days

12-09-2014 05:35 PM

Topic tags/keywords: sanding tips tricks live edge cottonwood hair pulling planer router jointer plane sander finishing joining modern

I have about 10,000 lbs of cottonwood at the saw mill that I got my hands on. I have never worked with it though and need some advice on finishing it. There is a ton of different techniques I’ve seen, but none that I have seen said it was from personal use. Does anyone have a method they have used personally to finish a slab of cottonwood? I think I might try a pre-sanding sealer on it first and hope for the best when sending or planing it. I’ve also considered a cabinet scraper for some of the smaller pieces.

-- Phillip- Measure twice, cut onc.... Hey look, it's rustic.

2 replies so far

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19 posts in 700 days

#1 posted 12-09-2014 06:08 PM

We have a stash of Fremont cottonwood at Sutter’s Fort. I found it difficult to work with hand tools, so I’ve only used it as a secondary or construction wood. A cabinet scraper would be your best bet for surfacing—at least the stash we have is stringy and doesn’t play well with planes.

For finishing, I would try much the same techniques used for poplar.

View PhillipRCW's profile


382 posts in 682 days

#2 posted 12-15-2014 03:46 PM

I got the first load of slabs home. It’s almost as if there are two types of wood in it. The bark and grain all look alike, but quite a few are soft and stringy. The majority of it though are beautiful and was able to sand down with ease. I’m going to knock out as many of these as I can and turn them into little table. The softer type I may hold off until it dries more. Still hoping to find a good way to finish these and preserve the colors and spalting in it.

-- Phillip- Measure twice, cut onc.... Hey look, it's rustic.

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