Sweet gum wood... anyone used it?

I have a number of sweet gum trees, complete with their spiky ankle breakers. Has anyone make things from it? Is it pretty, easy/hard to work, fairly hard/soft for stuff other than timbers? TIA TOM
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Tom B wrote:

bowl. I'll post a picture in ABPW.
I have no experience in using it for woodworking. I do have experience in using it for firewood--It is nearly impossible to split, then it burns with pops and bangs and will blow coals out of a fireplace all over the room.
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Gerald Ross
Cochran, GA
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On Tue, 25 May 2010 08:56:46 -0500, "Tom B"

Is sweet gum a eucalyptis?
-Zz
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On 5/25/2010 1:09 PM, Zz Yzx wrote:

I do not believe so as it is primarily in the eastern US, and some other similar parts of the world. The Eucalyptis tree is in Asian / Australian and has a willow type leave long and thin.
The sweet gum has a more maple shaped leaf.
Google for a better definition.
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On Tue, 25 May 2010 14:01:53 -0400, Keith Nuttle

I have one in my front yard, and it smell heavenly underneath the canopy in early spring mornings. Liquidambar styraciflua. I call their spiky little fruitballs "paw-paws", have since I was a kid, but I know they're not the actual item. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Liquidambar_styraciflua
Eucalyptus trees are also known as gum trees, but not sweetgum. Sweetgums are sometimes nicknamed redgum, but they're not the same. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Eucalyptus_species
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Picking up paw-paws are you - and throwing them at each other! Martin
Martin H. Eastburn @ home at Lions' Lair with our computer lionslair at consolidated dot net "Our Republic and the Press will Rise or Fall Together": Joseph Pulitzer TSRA: Endowed; NRA LOH & Patron Member, Golden Eagle, Patriot's Medal. NRA Second Amendment Task Force Charter Charter Founder IHMSA and NRA Metallic Silhouette maker & member. http://lufkinced.com /
On 5/25/2010 4:44 PM, Larry Jaques wrote:

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On Tue, 25 May 2010 14:01:53 -0400, Keith Nuttle

The only thing sweet gum balls are good for is keeping slugs away from Hostas and alike. The wood is similar to constructing grade SPF lumber in strength from what I read.
Mark
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Scientific Name Liquidambar styraciflua
Trade Name American red gum
Family Name Hamamelidaceae
Common Names Alligator tree American red gum American styrax Balsamo Balsamo blanco Bilstead Bilsted Blisted Copalillo Copalone Diquidambo Estoraque Gum Gum wood Hazel pine Hazel wood Icob Ien-gau-o Ingano Ko'ma Ko'ma'liso Liquidambar Liquidambo Mola Nijte-pijto Nite-biito Ocozote Quivambaro Red gum Sap gum Satin walnut Skchute Slu'to'nko Somerio Starleaf gum Storax Sweet gum Sweetgum Xochicatscahuitl Yaga-bizigui Yaga-huille Yellow gum
Regions of Distribution Africa Central America North America
Countries of Distribution Belize Guatemala Honduras Mexico South Africa United States
Common Uses Baskets Bedroom suites Boat building Boxes and crates Building materials Cabinetmaking Canoes Casks Chairs Chests Cigar boxes Concealed parts (Furniture) Cooperages Crossties Decorative plywood Decorative veneer Desks Dining-room furniture Door Dowell pins Dowells Drawer sides Excelsior Figured veneer Fine furniture Floor lamps Flooring Food containers Furniture Furniture components Furniture squares or stock Furniture Hatracks Heavy construction Interior construction Interior trim Joinery (external): ground contact Joinery Kitchen cabinets Lifeboats Light construction Living-room suites Matches Millwork Mine timbers Moldings Musical instruments Office furniture Paneling Paneling Plywood corestock Plywood Pulpwood Railroad ties Tables Toothpicks Vehicle parts Veneer: decorative
Cutting Resistance ****     Easy to saw
*     Cutting Resistance with green wood is easy *     Cutting Resistance with dry wood is easy The wood is generally easy to work and has low resistance to sawing. Gummy deposits in red gum may cause cutting edges to blunt slightly
Gluing ***     Easy to glue *     Good gluing propeties *     Difficult to glue Sanding *     Very poor sanding properties Percent of sanded pieces with good to excellent results = 23
Screwing *     Screwing yields good results *     Easy to screw Percent of pieces free from complete splits = 69
Turning **     Very Good to Excellent Results **     Fair to Good Results
**     Easy to turn American Red Gum responds well to both hand and machine tools in turning. (Percent of turned pieces with fair to excellent results = 86)
That is a limited data from "The Wood Explorer" - suggest wood workers to buy this software!!
Handy when looking at your and your neighbor tress :-)
Martin
Martin H. Eastburn @ home at Lions' Lair with our computer lionslair at consolidated dot net "Our Republic and the Press will Rise or Fall Together": Joseph Pulitzer TSRA: Endowed; NRA LOH & Patron Member, Golden Eagle, Patriot's Medal. NRA Second Amendment Task Force Charter Charter Founder IHMSA and NRA Metallic Silhouette maker & member. http://lufkinced.com /
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On Tue, 25 May 2010 21:21:10 -0500, "Martin H. Eastburn"

The house my wife owned when we got married had all "red gum" trim - all finished with what looked to be an orange shelac. Pretty nice trim., and lots of it.
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I know of a fellow who would cut logs of it about 5' long and suspend them horizontally on a chain in a shady area of his yard. They were inoculated with Shitake mushroom spores and he had a great supply to eat, to share and to sell.
Nonny
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No - large tree - I lost one year before last and it was 18" 20' up!
The other - is still standing. Both were planted for shade on an old farm house now long gone.
The sugar within draws ants.
Martin
Martin H. Eastburn @ home at Lions' Lair with our computer lionslair at consolidated dot net "Our Republic and the Press will Rise or Fall Together": Joseph Pulitzer TSRA: Endowed; NRA LOH & Patron Member, Golden Eagle, Patriot's Medal. NRA Second Amendment Task Force Charter Charter Founder IHMSA and NRA Metallic Silhouette maker & member. http://lufkinced.com /
On 5/25/2010 12:09 PM, Zz Yzx wrote:

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Railroad ties.
Dave in Houston
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Cut down six of them and is was useful in making charcoal
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Tom B wrote:

Rather than trying to write a tome...
<http://www.fpl.fs.fed.us/documnts/usda/amwood/266swgum.pdf <http://www.sfp.forprod.vt.edu/factsheets/sweetgum.pdf
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Tom B wrote:

Does the term "weed" resonate?
Sweetgum, like all gum, is extremely difficult to split. In fact you do not so much split it as tear it apart (read use a power splitter only)
As previously stated, it is lousy in a fireplace. However, I do have friend who burns it in a heater in his shop and it does not do too bad in the enclosed heater.
It is considered a hardwood, probably only because it loses it leaves in the Fall. It is used in "cheap" furniture and some other structural uses where one is trying to save money.
Bottom line - like all weeds, it looks like a plant. It is a plant, in this case a tree. That does not mean it is one that one will usually have a use for.
Deb
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Not much commercial use of these really big ass trees. They will be cut as pulp mix for paper.
If you have enough of them, get a portable band saw guy to come in and make you some lumber. A kiln for drying would be a BIG bonus.
Sweet gum is a real pesky wood to deal with and you run a BIG risk with air dried lumber that might twist so bad, it becomes firewood.
FWW ran an article a few years back on this very tree and it's uses.
The SE part of the country is covered in these trees.
Tom B wrote:

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Tom B wrote:

It has its uses.
Very many pallets are made from sweet gum. It's strong and who cares if it warps all to hell.
I've seen sweet gum planks used as bulkheading in sewer construction. Who cares if it weeps sticky goo on the concrete.
Even birds avoid sweet gum trees.
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Thanks for all the input... It appears (I did a search and saw some pretty pictures of the grain) it can be a pretty wood. But if it's known for a lot of movement, perhaps I'll pass. I don't have a fireplace here, but if I did I surely wouldn't want it spitting coals at me! Side note: Here in Tennessee as you know we have had some rough weather and a large red oak blew down on my property (no harm done except to tree). I cut a section just under 4' long where a number of branches came out of the trunk and have sawn it into 1.5" planks 8" wide. In a year or two I'll post pictures of some very pretty grain in some project or two. Tom

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