Can I use a tree branch for wood?

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I have a big red maple tree that has a horizontal branch that is threatening to rip the tree in half, so this spring after the sap runs I'm going to cut it off. It is over 1 foot in diameter at the tree, and extends straight out for about 20 feet before bending up a bit and going another 20 or 30 feet. I cut its twin off last year, and just an 8 foot piece is too much weight for me to carry!
Shame to just cut it up and burn it, can it be used somehow for useful maple wood?
Then the question - how do I process it?
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Bob Flint wrote:>I have a big red maple tree that has a horizontal branch that is threatening

Bandsaw, jointer, planer, and tablesaw. Cut slabs on the bandsaw, let it dry for about a year per inch thick, joint a face and an edge, plane the opposing face, and rip the opposing edge. Good luck! Tom Someday, it'll all be over....
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I thought it's better to cut back a tree _before_ the sap runs, while it's dormant?
Mike
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wrote:

I'm not sure... maybe I should check with an expert... I cut a branch off another maple a few years back, in the winter, and in the spring the amount of sap that came out of the 'wound' was astonishing! I thought the tree would bleed to death... so I figure if I cut after the sap is up, it will heal in the summer, and the sap won't be lost. Thats what I did last time to this tree...
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Collect the sap and boil it down into maple suger. It's been done for centuries and doesn't harm the tree.
scott
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On Thu, 12 Feb 2004 23:39:29 GMT, snipped-for-privacy@slp53.sl.home (Scott Lurndal) wrote:

Actually, you can kill a tree by taking too much sap... but I don't think this is a sugar maple... anyway, at 40/1 I wouldn't get enough for a pankake!!
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Bob Flint wrote:

Maples put out a lot of sap, think maple syrup. The trick is to cut it at a joint and then paint the end with a latex paint to seal it. Should take care ofd the problem. If it leaks, save the sap and pour it over snowballs. Memory lane. Dave in Fairfax
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snipped-for-privacy@fairfax.com wrote:

Memories of a time before Chernoble. Don't eat the snow, it'll make you glow...
Incidentally, for the OP, I have a dogwood tree that someone pruned probably several years before we bought the house. Every spring the old wounds drip tons of sap.
I think it's because they were cut long. I've never had this happen for more than a year on a branch that was properly pruned, just ahead of the branch collar.
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Bob Flint wrote:

Better to cut it off now, *before* the sap runs.

Yes and no. At 1' diameter, you're not going to get much lumber out of it under the best of circumstances. It's also branch wood. I'm going to guess that the pith is off-center, and the wood is much more dense on one side of it than the other. This will almost certainly spell trouble when you try to dry and subsequently use the wood, because it will be fairly teeming with stress.
If it were me, I wouldn't even try to make lumber out of it. Then again, I have a lathe, so it's a no brainer what *I* would do with it. It sounds like perfect turning wood.
If you don't want to see it go to waste, and you don't want to fool with trying to make lumber out of it, then why not find a woodturner in your area and make a friend? :)
Where do you live, BTW?
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Thats an interesting idea... I've always wanted to get a lathe and play with turning... I'm in Montreal, Canada...
Hey could I get some veneer out of it?
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Bob Flint wrote:

I reckon it's possible, but I have no idea how you'd peel it. You'd need some kind of wide blade and some way to feed it in a controlled way, I'd expect. Probably not a job you could do on a typical lathe, but I'm only just starting out in turning, and there's a lot I haven't heard of yet.
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Bob Flint wrote:

Why would you wait for the sap to run? Better off cutting it when it is dormant. If you don't want to do much processing, then cut it in blocks and cut the blocks for various uses, e.g., bird houses, bird feeders, walkway lights, rustic furniture, etc.
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On Thu, 12 Feb 2004 07:31:35 GMT, "George E. Cawthon"

As I said in another post, I've cut big branches off of maples in both winter and summer, and the winter cut caused more sap to be lost in the spring. The summer cut lost almost no sap. It's also been my experiance that maples are F&^%$& hard to kill!! At least the seedlings growing in the flowers are.... I once sprayed one with laundry bleach I was so frustrated with it... the damn leaves turned white but it just kept on growing!! Had to dig down 4 feet to extract it...

Hey another good idea!! I could even make little speakers....
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Bob Flint wrote:

Cool, never thought of speakers.
If it works for you ok, but the wood will be better if you don't let the sap rise. In the cold winter, the wound won't heal, so that is what you are seeing. Wood ashes spread on the wound will quickly stop the leaking sap at the wound, at least it does on my trees.
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The wood will be at it's driest after the sap has run at about mid to late summer. Wood cut during the heat of summer and left with the leaves on a few weeks before being worked up (till the leaves wilt and dry) will be ready or almost ready to burn that winter. It's a trick that people who heat exclusively with wood in New Hampshire use.
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: : I have a big red maple tree that has a horizontal branch that is threatening to rip the tree in half, so this spring : after the sap runs I'm going to cut it off. It is over 1 foot in diameter at the tree, and extends straight out for : about 20 feet before bending up a bit and going another 20 or 30 feet. I cut its twin off last year, and just an 8 foot : piece is too much weight for me to carry! : : Shame to just cut it up and burn it, can it be used somehow for useful maple wood?
Branch wood contains tension and compression wood, making it unstable, even when dried.
It might be welcomed by a woodcarver.
Jeff G
-- Jeff Gorman, West Yorkshire, UK Email address is username@ISP username is amgron ISP is clara.co.uk Website www.amgron.clara.net
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Bob Flint wrote:

You can always smoke some meats with it.
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mmmmmmmmmmmm I can taste it.... but thats illegal in the city limits... pity...
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There's usually a reason why some things are not done, just as there are reasons why some are.
The reason branch wood is not harvested as boards is that it makes horrible boards. A nice beam, perhaps, or as Mike and George C.said, some nicely figured bowls or other smallwork pieces. Prepare it in resawable short slabs, occlusive coat on the ends for minimum loss to checks and let it warp as desired.
In my experience, it is also important to resaw such wood oversize, give it a few days to work out newly unbalanced stresses, then process for use.
For lumber, cut before the sap's up, certainly. For the health of the tree, you might want to wait so it can muster healing prior to mold gaining the upper hand. I'd ask a tree surgeon.

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"piece is too much weight for me to carry!

I've never done this with Maple. Works fine with Black Walnut, Cedar, & Locust. I don't make anything with limb cuttings longer than 12". Most is marquetry-- a few boxes. After cutting to length-Paint the ends of your wood with Latex paint, oil paint, glue-- anything to seal the ends. If the tree is dead--As soon as you can, debark, so the bugs living under the bark can be removed. All I need is powderpost beetles in my heated space. I usually let the wood set for a year or so & then resaw, sticker and wait another year per inch of thickness. Then I trim off the ends ( my planer doesn't like paint ), Joint one side & plane to thickness & use. I just got my new issue of FWW & there is a really neat article in it about using angle rounder cuts from limbs for 'oysters' in marquetry. just my 2Cents
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