california Live Oak Wood question


I have part of a huge california live oak fall down. is such a tree suuitable for building furniture or making flooring?
Thanks KC
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On Wed, 3 May 2006 19:57:26 -0700, "Kevin Coleman"

logs is probably not conducive to flooring (maybe short sticks) but I bet you could work with the grain to make some really cool furniture.
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The south Texas variety is used for small stuff only. The grain is twisted, highly interlocked, and becomes extremely hard almost to the point of brittle when it dries. Also, any harvested LO that I have seen discolors as it ages, and doesnt' take finish all that well.
I have turned it on the lathe, and it is pretty miserable as the grain is so dense and twisted.
That being said, there are a couple of carving mallet makers that would use anything else because a properly dried mallet made from all that interlocking grain is heavy and won't crack. And one of our local judges uses a whopper of a gavel made from the stuff. So it is good for some things.
Personally, I really like to BBQ with it.
Robert
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Here is a reference link
http://ceres.ca.gov/foreststeward/html/hardwoods.html
Dave
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Teamcasa wrote:
<<Others will tell you its hard to work and the grain goes everywhere. This has some truth in it however, is a great wood for flooring, hammer handles and mallet heads. I know a guy that has an entire work bench top from it. (It was built in 1855!) He still uses it every day.
If milled properly, stickered and air dried it will work fine. Many older houses in California have it for flooring and cabinets. It will twist during the drying so mill it with this in mind.

Absolutely true. Re-reading my post one could easily get the impression from my poor typing that the wood isn't good for mallets, handles, etc. I agree with TC, it is wonderful for it. To make a point to one of the guys in our woodturnnig vclub, I turned a 1/2 dowel out of the stuff and challenged him to break a 12 inch long piece with his hands. He couldn't, and no one in the club could do it.
One of the guys at the carving club sponsered by WC uses it exclusively for all his mallets and wood hammers that he uses in his crafts. The wood is so stable when dry that you can drill a hole in it and bell out he bottom and literally pour in molton lead to add weight. (Think brass and other sheetmetal work here).
I have seen cutting boards made from it, and personally have made a couple of spoons and spatulas. Although the grain is just a bit open faced, the interlocking structure makes it easy to clean as opposed to many of the red oaks.
I have only seen a few boards from the stuff around here as the south Texas variety is just gnarly. But then, just about every damn wood in

Robert
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I first want to say thank you for this thread folks. I live just south of Grass Valley in California and we have tons of oak around, although mostly black oak. And that brings me to my question: Four weeks ago at precisely 5:05 am, a snow fall caused two of our black oaks in the back yard to keel over and take out part of the roof and a good section of fence. There were 5 growing in a cluster and we have since cut down the remaining three because they were unstable and apt to collapse on our septic and/or propane tanks. So now we have a massive amount of black oak which I was about to start cutting up to sell as firewood. I was going to keep one four-foot log to use as a seating bench, and was vaguely contemplating keeping a second section to have it cut up into rough boards that I could then dry at home and use in a couple of years or so. Does this make sense ? Or am I wasting my time ? Thanks.
Ed.
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There's a mill/yard/dealer in Auburn, on the highway north of downtown. They sell only locally cut timber/lumber, from what I understand.
At very least, visiting with them, before you get too deep into this project, might be worth your time. The day I dropped in, they were up to their eyeballs in fresh stock...
Patriarch
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Patriarch wrote:

I think I remember seeing a place just off I80 in between the Newcastle Road exit and Auburn, but I don't think that's what you're talking about, is it ? I'm guessing that you're thinking of somewhere on Highway 49 between I80 and Bell. Am I right ? I don't think I would want to sell them any wood, but if you guys think that Black Oak is worth using for anything other than firewood, I might want to have a couple of logs sawn into boards which I would then take home to dry, and these guys north of Auburn sound like they might be able to do that for me. If the wood is worth doing anything with, I'd like to do it with this particular wood because it came from the trees that my wife loved. She spent a couple of days crying after they fell, and I'd like to make her something to help her remember the days she used to look out of the window to admire them. Something to make her smile about them. Thanks.
Ed
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If the wood is worth doing anything with, I'd like to do it with

Not as pretty as white oak, or even eastern red. Coarse-looking but unique. Dad made a lot of stuff out of it out in YC.
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On Highway 49 is the place I was thinking of. Haven't been up there in six months or so. The other place would be news to me.
Making something from your own trees is one of the reasons we do this stuff.
Patriarch
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Newsotter wrote:
Thanks to all of you who responded to my questions about the black oak wood in my back yard. I guess the bottom line of it is that I shall be keeping one piece for a rustic bench in the back yard, and the rest will be sold for firewood. Maybe the cash will let me buy some other wood in the area for working with.
Ed
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Ed,
Not sure if you've made your final decisions on what you're doing w/ all that oak. But the place on 49 that does milling is California Hardwood Producers. Google 'em, I think they have a page. I know for certain that they mill and sell CA Black Oak as hardwood flooring.
If you have more firewood than you can sell, or for that matter, more than you want to buck and stack, we heat w/ wood in the winter, and I'd come and help you cut and clear some off your property. I'm in N. Auburn, about a mile from the Placer/Nevada Co. line.
Chris
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has some truth in it however, is a great wood for flooring, hammer handles and mallet heads. I know a guy that has an entire work bench top from it. (It was built in 1855!) He still uses it every day.
If milled properly, stickered and air dried it will work fine. Many older houses in California have it for flooring and cabinets. It will twist during the drying so mill it with this in mind.
Dave
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On Wed, 03 May 2006 19:57:26 -0700, Kevin Coleman wrote:

There are several different species that get called "live oak." There are Interior Live Oak, Coastal Live Oak, Canyon Live Oak - also called Maul Oak and Goldcup Oak, and probably a few other varieties as well. The coastal and interior varieties are described as being largely of use only as firewood - interior has also been used for fence posts. The trees usually don't produce much clear timber. The Canyon variety was used for shipbuilding because it is very tough wood and it was called "maul oak" because the wood is shock resistant and mauls were made of it historically. In the San Gabriel Mountains I have see some wonderful CLO trunks. So, it will depend on which variety you have and on the amount of clear trunk you have. Many live oaks come up in open clusters of stems. Usually the parent tree has died or been killed by fire and the remaining rootstock sends up shoots.
JD
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