I removed what I believe to be a cherry laurel from our yard this year and would like to attempt to use the wood for woodworking rather than chunking it into the fireplace. I live in the southeast (GA), and the tree was about 30' tall and 18" or so at it's base. It became infested with eastern tent caterpillars every year.
I could be wrong on the species, cherry laurel wood purportedly is white in color, but this wood is reddish, becoming more so on exposure to the sun. There is a 3/4" white ring around the tree (sapwood?) under the bark, but the remainder of the wood is reddish. There are red pitch pockets and veins scattered in the grain - along with some black pencil-lining. Characteristics that all make me think "cherry".
I DAGS on the question, and have read many web site pertaining to drying wood and now have more questions that when I started.
Briefly, the tree was removed a week ago. I cut it into 5' logs that were barely manageable. I painted the ends with a shellac based primer. They were moved to the garage. Nothing else has been done.
I cut one of the branches into 2" thick slabs, planed it flat to look at the grain structure, and exposed it to sunlight. It's actually quite beautiful! And the more sun exposure, the redder it gets.
Either way, I want to attempt to reclaim this tree. I have only basic woodworking tools available. 14" bandsaw with riser, chainsaw, 13" planer and 6" joiner, hand planes. And minimal storage space. ;-)
Any suggestions as to how to proceed? In 100 words or less? I don't have or want a kiln, air drying is the only possible method.
Should it be slabbed while green or wait until the "free (sap) moisture has evaporated?
How can I reduce/eliminate the stress cracking that this wood is obviously prone to? The logs began to crack at the ends within a day of cutting.
Approximate dry time?
Any other real-world experiences?