|Forum topic by Tony||posted 04-01-2009 07:09 PM||885 views||0 times favorited||3 replies|
04-01-2009 07:09 PM
I get out into the woods to hike as much as I can, and collect branches and wood chunks from fallen trees. So far, I have found Red Oak, White Oak, Beech, White Ash, Green Ash, Sycamore, Black Walnut, Black Cherry, Boxelder, Siberian Elm, Yellow Poplar, and a couple more I haven’t positively identified yet. One that I pulled from a brush pile may be Redbud, but without the leaves or seed pods, it is hard to say. Much of what I’ve found has been from recently fallen trees. Larger pieces have been end sealed, planed into slabs, and set aside to air dry. For the branches, I seal the ends, strip the bark, and allow them to dry in my basement shop. I have had a few splits, but most of my sticks have dried check free.
The worst case of checking I’ve ever seen was in Yellow Poplar. A couple of weeks ago, while hiking with my wife, I found a couple of small Poplar trees that were victims of a storm, most likely this winter. They had almost perfectly straight boles, so I used my bucksaw (which I always have with me) to cut a couple of nice sticks. One of them I just cut the smaller branches from and gave to my wife for a new walking stick, with the bark still intact. I peeled the bark (not easily) from the other, sealed the ends and set it in my garage. Both of the branches were so wet the water spewed when I cut, and they were conspicuously much heavier than one would expect from a branch their size.
Fast forward a week. The Poplar stick I gave my wife with the bark intact was check free. The one I peeled and stuck in the garage had dried radically, with a huge split running almost the entire length. It was much lighter, and had a hollow sound when rapped. It reminded me of a corn husk. The wood was no longer soft, either, but was a hardened shell. Even the interior wood was dry. Anyone ever see such drastic drying?