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Help with Elm Identification

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Forum topic by Tony posted 08-20-2009 07:00 PM 3290 views 0 times favorited 5 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Tony

56 posts in 2822 days


08-20-2009 07:00 PM

I have a couple of Elm sticks I harvested from an overgrown hillside about a year ago. I remember at the time thinking the trees were Siberian Elm, based on the leaves. As I recall, the leaves were much smaller than you’d typically find on Slippery or American Elm. The trees were small, and growing abundantly on the hillside. I wish I had taken pictures, because I stripped and discarded the bark immediately after harvest. I do remember the bark peeled easily. There was no sign of Dutch Elm Disease.

Now I’m not completely sure of the identity, other than they are definitely in the Elm family. I’ve ruled out American Elm. The wood is ring porous, with the characteristic wavy bands in the latewood. The earlywood is 3-4 pores wide. The pores are very small, and unable to be seen without a magnifying glass. The sapwood has a yellowish tinge.

I have both of Hoadley’s books, and have spent a lot of time scouring the Internet for clues. I like to use a woodburner to inscribe the exact genus and species on the walking sticks I make, but I may have to settle for the generic “Ulmus, Elm” on this one.

Any tips or hints?

Tony


5 replies so far

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knotscott

7224 posts in 2842 days


#1 posted 08-20-2009 09:00 PM

Some pics of the wood might help. The only elm I’ve used was said to be “red elm”, which I’m sure has other accepted names. It’s got some pretty interesting grain patterns that some call “bird feathers”, and is very stalky. The varying hues are reddish, brown, blonde, and it’s not unusual to see some yellowish streaks.


red elm

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

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a1Jim

115203 posts in 3044 days


#2 posted 08-20-2009 09:07 PM

I’ve never used it but the grain looks a lot like ash in scotts photo.

-- http://artisticwoodstudio.com Custom furniture

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Tony

56 posts in 2822 days


#3 posted 08-20-2009 09:54 PM

I am not familiar with Red Elm, but if you look closely you’ll see concentric wavy bands in the lighter areas in the smaller photo above. Those are from the wavy bands of latewood pores common to the Elm family. That sure is pretty wood.

Unfortunately, I do not have the ability to take photographs of the magnified end grain on my sticks. I still haven’t found any photos that match the wood I have. I just know it is Elm. Bummer.

Tony

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Kindlingmaker

2656 posts in 2993 days


#4 posted 08-20-2009 10:09 PM

In this neck of the woods (high desert) we have Chinese Elm. Sapplings have tender bark but quickly turn to a much rougher bark. In my projects I have a picture of a small piece of elm with the bark, “Mallet #2”

-- Never board, always knotty, lots of growth rings

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knotscott

7224 posts in 2842 days


#5 posted 08-20-2009 11:27 PM

You’re right Jim…the grain of elm flows much like ash does, and has a similar contrast. It has different coloring, and the detail of that “secondary” grain (“bird feathers”) is far more prominent in elm. Ash is easier to work with too!

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

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