I'm taking some poplar trees down and I am fortunate enough to have a
sawmill next door. I was thinking about seeing if they wanted to have
half the haul for milling the other half for me. If they can, and I
do, any recommendations what size it would be useful to have for
furniture building in the future? 4/4, 6/4, 4x4? The trees are 75 to
100 feet tall, 24 inch diameter. I hate to cut them, but they are
leaning towards the house and showing some decay. My arborist buddy
will let me know if they have to go or not.
I do want to build a kitchen island for the wife eventually, but I'm
hoping there will be enough b.f. for many future projects.
I realize that I will need to let the wood dry out before I would be
able to work it. Maybe I can justify a moisture meter that way, and
definitely a jointer.
Twere it me, I'd go maybe 50/50 with 4/4 and 6/4 unless you plan on
turning some bedposts maybe 5-6 years down the road. If you do, get
some 4x4 and 6x6 and make sure it is cut at least 12' long to allow you
to select the better parts. The 6x6 will let you do cannonball bedposts.
I probably wouldn't turn any since a lathe is way on the far end of any
tool I plan on having, but I may use some 4x4 legs with rounded over
The cannonball bedposts sound interesting, but way beyond my skill
I'd love to be able to sell some of the stuff it it would pay for
another good tool, but rarely does anything like that work out for me.
The rule of thumb for air-drying lumber is one year per inch
of thickness. Square lumber will take less but a 4 x 4 should
probably dry for at leat two years.
Spindle turnings are normally done on cured wood so if a
lathe is 2 - 3 years in the future, setting some blanks
aside now makes sense. Poplar is VERY easy to turn.
Also, a lathe seems to be one of the easiest stationary
power tools a woodworker can make for himself. I've seen
a few plans on the web (Hey JOAT, you reading this?) and
also plans for treadle lathes which can be adapted to
powah use, if you prefer, by substituted a motor and
V-belt for the flywheel and belt.
A buddy of mine cleared a bunch of Ash trees for his timberframe house
he was having built. He built a temporary kiln of sorts with some fans
and black plastic ( I don't recall the whole set up, I just know he
dried his stuff out in one summer.) If course it was cut down to 4/4
lumber. He was using it for the interior trim.
I would agree with Charlie with the additional comment
that I would also see if you could get them to saw some
5/8 or so for drawer making. I like using poplar for
drawers and always hate to plane it down to 1/2 or 9/16.
Seems like a waste. Resawing 6/4 will work, but it
would be nice to have it already done for you.
Any time I have a painted project, I will use poplar rather
than pine. It takes paint better and seems to even be a little
cheaper than clear pine.
Remember, that wood is wet. If you cut it to 4/4 rough, it'll dry to
something thinner. A quick Google oughta turn up good advice as to how
thick to cut it wet and rough to allow for usable lumber later when
it's dry and planed.
I'm about due for a run up to the local sawmill--if I were younger, I
could run it, as it's 3 miles up the road. I haven't bought poplar for
a long time, but it was about half a buck a BF then, but that is rough,
green lumber, and the same price he got for mixed oak. It's sort of a
take-what-he's-got deal, but I haven't had to check for a long time.
Pine around here is mostly SYP, and costs exactly the same, I think.
SYP is great for some projects, but not for things I've got in mind for
the near future. Otherwise, if I buy pine around here, it either comes
from BC or northern Maine, and costs the earth. Poplar is a nicer wood
to work, IMO.
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