I have acquired a downed elm tree, 15" trunk, 15 to 20 feet long, straight
and solid. I've never worked with elm and don't know anyone that has. Is
it any good for woodworking or should I just burn it? A DAGS was about
I'm with Ed. They were out of some kind of really close grained (I
mean CLOSE) white oak at my hardwood supplier's place when I need some
thing to come close to matching some of my earlier efforts in an
office finish out.
My guy sold me elm dirt cheap because no one would buy it. I wish I
had bought all he had because it was great to work, easy to finish and
sand. I thought had read somewhere that some species of elm was used
in furniture making somewhere on the NE coast, but I could be
My experience with elm was years ago, and when my guy sold all he had
on hand he never bought another board.
BTW Ed, if you are watching this, I know you frequent the bbq NG.
Ever use elm in the pit? I did, and it tasted like a pecan/hickory
kind of smoke. Pretty good!
It's a nicely grained wood, even dramatic sometimes. Light brown/
greenish heartwood. Pretty hard, tough stuff to split, so it makes a
good wheel hub. I've turned some dry elm, and liked to have scratched
myself to death with the itchin', so I guess I'm sensitive to it.
American or Asian? American is very pretty, but fairly cantankerous to dry
in straight planks because of the weird interlocked grain. Also a PITA to
work with any but the sharpest tools for that same reason. Results are
worth it. I prefer not to rely on large pieces of it for structure, but
rather to use it as drawer fronts and panel inserts where it shows to great
advantage. In the large, anything that wild has a tendency to overwhelm
It has a fairly distinctive odor if you pause and burn on the tablesaw, so
dry it initially out of the living space and be prepared for a few crude
comments or questions if you scorch it. Which is almost inevitable, because
a whole new direction in wood often comes about when you make two smaller
out of one large. Turns wonderfully, and makes great tool handles. No way
It's variable, but usually good.
The grain is interlocked, so it's famously strong against splitting.
Good for Windsor chair seats, wagon wheel hubs and other short-grain
pieces. Hard to work by hand (tough rather than hard) but machines
will hack through it soon enough.
The burrs on the outside of the trunk can also be lovely decorative
timber to work with. These mirrors were made from the trimmings off
the edges of some large elm boards bought for flooring restoration in
a 17th century house.
Plane a corner of it, splash some white spirit on it and see how it
Interesting. I have 3/4 of a big Elm still standing in the back of my
yard, it split in a windstorm this Fall. There is about 2' exposed at
the top of the split that runs down about 10'. I was kind of hoping
the 'St Valentine's day massacre' storm we just got (news people need
a life) would bring the rest down but no luck.
Maybe I'll have to take the rest down in the spring and find a
Woodmizer owner. If I do take it down and have it sawn how long
before I could use it?
I really would rather the tree stayed but I doubt it will make it
through the summer once the leaves come back and all that heat hits
the exposed tree.
Quarter sawn it often shows medullary rayed figure - "lacewood",
unusual and quite pretty - but not for the faint of heart to work
- tears out easy but gorgeous with a coat of garnet shellac.
I've heard it tends to move quite a bit - but if you accomodate
it can look really nice.
Have two 10' long, 12" wide boards of the QS but haven't found
the courage to use it yet. Really busy to look at if there's much
of it in a piece.
Save it, have it sawn and wait a year. Sticker it and weight it
well - or metal band strap it.
One of the British officers in Bridge on the River Kwai claims the elm
pilings of London Bridge have lasted 600 years. Sounds good for outdoor
furniture. Good explosion in that movie. Serious lack of explosions in
Bridges of Madison County. :-(
John Santos wrote:
| Serious lack of explosions in Bridges of Madison County. :-(
Eh? Bite your tongue! We'd kinda like to keep our bridges intact.
DeSoto, Iowa USA
what kind of elm? there are 52 sub species in the elm family. common
ones here in minnesota are white elm or otherwise called american or
piss elm, twisted grain, we sold
alot of this into europe back in the 70's and 80's for slicing veneer.
this was before the dutch elm came through and killed most of it. also
red elm strait grained also used for veneer and furniture, rock elm both
red and blue rock, very hard and fairly strait grain, at that time used
for making hockey sticks also dragline mats. grey elm, sold for veneer
slicing more stable from twist than the piss elm. the red elm is the
most desirable in my mind. you can tell the red by the most of log being
red in color with 1-3" of sap wood also if you break off the bark and
look at it cross section, it will be solid red where as the others are
layered red ad white. the rock elm the lower limbs grow down then curve
i'll stop here.
Bill in Detroit wrote:
> Not to mention slippery elm. Smells like the south end of a north bound
> cow but REALLY pretty for turning shallow bowls & platters.
Not to mention that is was used to make a pretty good "spitter" by
baseball pitchers or so I was told.
Where does Chinese Elm fit in this continuum? I know it smells awful and
attracts flies like like crazy while drying
If you're gonna be dumb, you better be tough
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