North American wood

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Thanks for the info on these species. I may have to look for some quartersawn Sycamore--that sounds like it would be interesting to work. I probably won't use it for furniture, but perhaps some boxes.
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Should work well for that, and you'll enjoy working with it. It works easily, and has a very pleasant spicy odor when machined. Kind of reminds me of nutmeg.
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Doug Miller (alphageek at milmac dot com)
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On May 10, 8:23 am, snipped-for-privacy@milmac.com (Doug Miller) wrote:

Split willow is used for chair caning and basket weaving.

Likewise, chestnut, which I'd give my right foot and left big toe for.
Disease-resistant American elm strains being introduced to the market. HD supposedly bought 5,000 saplings. In 50, 100 years, maybe elm will be as common as #2 white pine.

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I think you hit the nail on the head about Elm. Having done a lot of tree work over the years I can tell you that willow is very brittle wood, so that's not desirable for any project I can think of. Sycamore likes wet feet and is seldom or never found too far from a pond, lake or river. So, sycamore is probably never found in large stands (sustainable harvest and all that stuff). My buddy with whom I used to do most of that tree work is now a suburban logger, picking up the logs cut by the residential tree companies who used to be his direct competition. He has learned a lot about sorting and grading logs for the mills. I'll ask him about the mills' demand for specialty woods. It's really a question of knowing the right mill for the log(s).
I do know that the best logs are not saw logs going to saw mills. The best money is paid for veneer grade logs, which probably explains your reference to fine plywoods.
Speaking of sustainable harvest, he bought a couple dozen acres in upstate NY and paid for the whole dang thing with one conservative harvest of cherry. He says he'll get a harvest like that every ten years or so as the other trees mature.
-Dean ready to kill a couple more Norway Maples. He said it isn't very stable and checks a lot. I might save some for the mill anyway, just for fun and curiosity.
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Thanks for the reply and to everyone else that has mentioned something concerning this topic. I believe I've got the general picture now about why these other North American types of wood aren't seen as much.
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Wed, May 9, 2007, 11:33pm (EDT-1) snipped-for-privacy@atww.org.invalid (MichaelFaurot) now doth mumble: <snip> I'm not looking to buy this stuff per se--I'm just wondering what's the bigger picture here?
Yeah, well you coulda said from the start.
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Try looking at my original post[1] again and carefully read the entire message. Especially the last line. Hell, I'll go ahead and even quote the last line right here:
    Or to phrase the question a different way, why is Cherry,     Walnut, Oak, Poplar, Maple, etc. what's predominately     available?
How do you interpret that to mean I'm looking to buy or acquire lumber from Elm, Willow, Sycamore, etc.?
[1]: http://groups.google.com/group/rec.woodworking/msg/5070423595b40747?hl=en &
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wrote:

Well, life's a wee bit funny that way. When someone asks about availability, it tends to be because MOST someones have more than a passing interest in buying, renting, leasing, stealing or otherwise grabbing hold of at least some of the items they're asking about.
If you don't want it, why do you give a rat's tuchus whether or not it's available?
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The whole point of the questions, for me, was to learn more about other types of North American woods, with the *possibility* that I might ultimately want to use some of these things. I didn't want to buy first, and then potentially learn the species was not suitable.
Because Walnut, Cherry, Oak, is so readily available, it's almost like osmosis to become familiar with them. You see them all the time--so it's easy to pick up information about them. With these other types of woods, because they aren't as readily available to me, I haven't learned much of anything about them.
From what I've recently learned, I may indeed want to use Beech and Sycamore for some future projects. For the Sycamore, I'll want to insure it has been quartersawn. Elm could come in handy as well, but I probably won't find much due to disease. As for Willow, I probably wouldn't want to use any of that as it sounds to be problematic to work with.
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Beech is commonly used in the pieces that are sold in discount stores. Typically it is a light colored, closed grain wood. There are a lot of TV tray sets that are made out of beech.
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On Sat, 12 May 2007 17:20:55 GMT, "Leon"

I have a purchased workbench of Beech.
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Most likely European red beech. It is a great deal more stable than American beech.
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wrote:

Could be.
Do you know if this is the stuff sold as "steamed" Beech?
It's kind of a bland wood, but it has it's uses when combined with a focus point, such as highly figured wood, or some sort of art.
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They steam the beech to relieve some of the tension caused during growth (lignin creep), and equalize the white sapwood slightly. Europeans will buy American beech that way. Only real market for our local beech used to be flooring, where small pieces and many holds kept it in line, but now it's being shipped out. Ill-behaved wood, and definitely not one you want to stack outdoors to bring it down to the kiln-ready 20%. Stuff will often rot by then, or twist into unuseability.
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Just got my first bit of Beech the other day. A friend was throwing away some old aluminum webbed lawn chairs that had become too dilapidated to use. They had some wooden arm rests, so I salvaged those off the chair before tossing the rest in the trash. After planing the arm rests a bit, it turns out they're Beech! From just playing with the stuff, I do like it. I'll definitely be looking to get some of this lumber in the future.
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Sat, May 12, 2007, 11:12am (EDT-1) snipped-for-privacy@atww.org.invalid (MichaelFaurot) doth burble: <snip> Because Walnut, Cherry, Oak, is so readily available, it's almost like osmosis to become familiar with them. You see them all the time--so it's easy to pick up information about them. With these other types of woods, because they aren't as readily available to me, I haven't learned much of anything about them. <snip>
That's because you didn't try. You'e on the web! Remember? You can find out about almost any wod thee is, in minutes. You 'have' heard of google, right? So google sycamore, pink ivory, or whatever wood you're curious about, and find links that'll tell you all about it. Might want to check out wood toxicity while you're at it. Or, you could just type in something like North American woods.
JOAT What is life without challenge and a constant stream of new humiliations? - Peter Egan
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On May 12, 11:12 am, "Michael Faurot"
...

...
Then I'll repeat my previous suggestion -- get a copy of R Bruce Hoadley's "Understanding Wood" and peruse the US Forest Laboratory site. You can learn all there is to know from the folks who really know...
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Fri, May 11, 2007, 6:26pm (EDT-1) snipped-for-privacy@atww.org.invalid (MichaelFaurot) doth burble: Try looking at my original post[1] again and carefully read the entire message. Especially the last line. Hell, I'll go ahead and even quote the last line right here: Or to phrase the question a different way, why is Cherry, Walnut, Oak, Poplar, Maple, etc. what's predominately available? How do you interpret that to mean I'm looking to buy or acquire lumber from Elm, Willow, Sycamore, etc.?
So? Reading it again doesn't change a thing. Still reads like you wanted woods to buy, other then just the ones you quoted.
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Leon wrote:

As does mine. Birch is very common, and also available in exotic sub-varieties, like Flame Birch. One of my dealers also carries European Steamed Beech.
Location is important.
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Yes, but in a sense no one has yet mentioned. Trees compete in the forest. Those that can't compete by outgrowing their fellows toward the light perish in one generation. Supply is sporadic or nil. Desirability of certain species like cherry makes harvesting the forest to encourage this fairly shade-intolerant "fire tree" to grow economically viable, but probably not popular with the "no clearcut" set. Not that fires are allowed, you understand, but they do happen, and birdpoop gets cherry going pretty rapidly among the airborne seeds of their fellow colonizers.
Climax forest has a limited number of species. Here it's beech, (yellow) birch and maple in the deciduous varieties. Hemlock, pine and spruce occur where the soil's poor, tamarack and cedar where it's wet. Next county over it's red oak rather than beech. Stuff like bass, poplar and white birch are abundant, but not worth the sawyer fees and cartage.
Local woods are available from local sawyers, not local lumber dealers.
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