The Bradford Project #1: Using native wood

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Blog entry by Dan Corbin posted 07-19-2012 04:31 PM 1327 reads 0 times favorited 2 comments Add to Favorites Watch
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A little over a week ago, one of our Bradford Pear trees decided to spontaneously bifurcate (it split right down the middle). This is apparently a common thing for Bradford Pear trees to do, although I really can’t figure out why they would want to kill off a portion of themselves.

There’s a great blog over here that does a great job of describing why Bradford Pears split so easily. A contributing factor is the fast-growing soft wood, which makes them about as appealing to use for woodwork as a pine stud.

My wife & I spent a week pulling down dozens of small branches that were so soft I could break them by hand. But when we finally got down to the main trunk of the tree, I happened across old, dense, and heavy wood! I tried to save as much of this as I could, and so now I have a log about 3 feet in length and 18-20 inches in diameter. I want to make something from it. I don’t know what yet, but it will be something special.

One of my coworkers has a portable lumber mill at home, and I’m going to ask him to saw the log into as many 1” thick slabs as he can. I have no idea how much lumber to expect from it, or how it will dry, or even if it’ll be usable wood! But it’ll be a fun experiment, I think.

Do any of you have experience cutting and drying your own wood? Is there things I should watch for, or things I should do to increase my chances of having usable wood? Thanks in advance for your help! And stay tuned for updates.

-- ~ Dan, North Carolina,

2 comments so far

View DaddyZ's profile


2475 posts in 3069 days

#1 posted 07-19-2012 05:07 PM

Yeah, that is going to be some tough wood…

-- Pat - Worker of Wood, Collector of Tools, Father of one

View stefang's profile


15881 posts in 3363 days

#2 posted 07-20-2012 01:53 PM

Hi Dan. Excellent advice in the following link:

I have some Pear that is about 30 years old. I cut it into small pieces for turning and let it air dry for awhile, then I put into paper feed sacks and it’s been there since. I have checked it a few times and it didn’t check (crack) or split. I just keep forgetting to use it. Thanks for the reminder!

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

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