Pictured at this URL are a couple of slabs bisected from a trunk of an
old non-producing red plum tree (dimensions are roughly 30"L X 12"W).
They are still sitting as pictured in our moist OR climate and have
been for about a week. A local woodworker is willing to cut them into
boards (we're guessing about 1.5" thick) for curing, but he is not
absolutely sure this is the optimal approach. The plan would be to dip
the ends in wax and sticker them in my attic. Opinions please?
Ooooh ! This is a tricky one. i know what you have. if when you mean
red cherry the flowers are red and as you cut it the wood oxidised to
all colours of the rainbow then this is called a 'cherry plum'. The
colours are superb but in 25 years of air drying timber i have never
successfully seasoned large pieces. What you have left in between all
the splits are wonderful slices for jewellery, i have sold many
broaches and earrings. OK so this sounds too dreadful so to give you a
slight chance keep the slabs in the coolest dampest, no airflow place
you can find and cover with sacks, carpets so it remains humid with
small sticks in between to stop rot, layed on pallets is OK. Try that
but in a few years if they have cracked try the jewelry, with a Danish
oil finish. Colours will be yellow, orange purple.
But, what is best, to store as you suggest 1. the slabs as they are, or
2. to first cut into "boards"? I would think it's best to keep them
whole and rip them later, or perhaps that has other risk associated.
Thanks for your help!
You've got a real challenge. Plum and the other fruit woods will crack
just at the sound of a starting chainsaw.
I'm thinking your 1.5" is way too thick to allow the wood to move as it
dries. Since it's so sensitive to the drying stresses I'd hazard a guess
that thinner is much better than thicker.
That's not a huge piece of wood by furniture-making standpoints, so it
looks likely to be destined for smallish (i.e. thinner material
required) items. It's beautiful by the way - wish it was in my yard.
Perhaps think about sawing it into 3/4" or maybe even 5/8" or 1/2"
thicknesses. It will likely warp, twist and cup a fair bit but that
would be a good thing compared to cracking due to being too thick.
Your attic is much too hot and dry for this wood. Put it either outside
on the north (shady) side of a building or put it in your basement away
from heaters, vents and any breezy air movement, then wax the ends,
sticker, cover with a tarp if left outside, sheets of newspaper if left
inside and pray to the woodworking gods.
Owen Lowe and his Fly-by-Night Copper Company
"Sure we'll have fascism in America, but it'll come disguised
I've had a lot of experience with trying to make plumwood into lumber.
First you have to use a preservative. I tried without it and it
cracked so quickly (even outside) it became worthless. The second time
I wiped on a bunch of pentacryl (from woodcraft) and got almost no
It still warps pretty bad (both directions!). I think next time I will
apply a LOT of pressure to try to prevent this. I've cut the dryed
boards into 3" strips which I should be able to glue back together.
Its real pretty stuff! Good luck with it. Be sure to get the
pentacryl on quick or it won't help.
Fly-by-Night CC wrote:
Just as followup, I got the slabs sawn up about a week ago and applied
Pentacryl (to my relief, a non-toxic substance) heavily as well as
Green End Seal to all the pieces. The thickness varies widely from
about 3/4" to 2", so we'll see what happens. I have it all stickered
and stored outside covered and in a shady area. Probably should put
more weight on it, but haven't yet. Let's all get together in two years
and see how the experiment turns out! =%^)
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