I have a few questions about cotton wood. I live in Alaska and my
property has plenty of cotton wood trees on it just waiting for me to
cut and mill them. So, question # 1. Is it worth my time and effort to
cut and mill a tree or two for basic project lumber? I'm a novice and
my projects will be interior shelves, decorative boxes, birdhouses
Question # 2. What is the best time of year to cut down a tree for
lumber? I suspect winter when there is minimal sap in the wood.
Question # 3. Do I need to paint the ends with something to help
Question # 4. What questions am I failing to ask about this?
Thanks for your help.
cottonwood will not store well in log form over summer months, so you
will want to mill it within a reasonable time. end coating a log with
log wax is a good idea, when you go to sticker stack the lumber for
drying the end coat will help for end checking. cottonwood is fine for
inside use but will not do well outdoors, otherwise very tough wood,
sometimes use as case wood in stuffed chairs etc. also used in pallets
and crates. we used to sell logs to a veneer mill and was rotary cut for
wire bound crates. the lumber tends to want to twist until dry so do a
good job stickering and put extra weight on the top of the pile.
Mixed advice so far.
Fell when the leaves are off the tree.
Most commercial operations won't bother coating even woods like oak.
Cottonwood, with its interlocked grain needs it even less. Cut 4-6" over
nominal length and you should be just fine for those few full-stick boards.
You're going to have to have your dry - preferably cedar - stickers ready
before you saw. Cottonwoods and poplar with their high moisture content are
prone to sticker stain.
It's not a very good wood for wear purposes, nor is it durable naked as a
birdhouse. Insides, unders, and painted it'll do. Twists and turns a lot
when the tree grows with leans and lateral branching, so you may get some
figured turning wood for your friends there. Wouldn't waste my time trying
to make many boards out of it.
http://www.fpl.fs.fed.us/ and the search button will get you all the
information you want on air drying, including stickering and times. Pick
your answers as you get questions.
I have also read that cottonwood is sometimes sold as "poplar",
because the species are so similar. I have been using poplar for
miscellaneous indoor projects for years, mills well, generally clear
and well-behaved. Cottonwood oughta be good, too.
The only thing I don't like about poplar is the smell. Kinda stinks
to me. Not as bad as some pallet oak, though, which smells like barf.
On Mar 10, 10:53 am, email@example.com wrote:
Yeas and no. Cottonwood and poplar are sometimes grouped
together with aspen and/or sold as 'aspen'. I'm not defending
the practice, just relating it.
Wood sold as poplar is from the North American Tulip tree,
sometimes called a 'tulip poplar', though nothing about the
tree resembles any real poplar tree I have seen. The tulip
tree (not the same as the S. American tuliptree) is more
closely related to the magnolia and the wood is similar.
Cottonwood may be useful for some simple interior projects but overall
it isn't a very suitable furniture wood for other than some structural
parts and isn't at all suitable for exterior. It is bad about tension
wood and warping so large boards are difficult to get flat and straight.
It has little grain (altho it paints reasonably well) so hasn't much
to recommend it for any real attractiveness. For the interior
functional projects, not too bad, but unless alternatives are totally
out of the question I'd consider the return to be realized likely far
more than effort expended justifies.
Cottonwoods tend to rot in the middle. The wood is soft and pretty
worthless. I don't recommend it for anything outdoors because it is VERY
prone to rot.
What you want is old redwood decking or siding that is being tossed.
Even pine will be better than Cottonwood.
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