Wood – My Weakness

Offer me a piece of wood and I will accept.
Consequently, my side yard contains the following:

One holly log, approximately 14″ diameter and 5′ long;

A large stack of 2″ to 3″ thick spalted maple; and

An assortment of turning blanks.  Currently, maple, black walnut and acacia make up my stash.

Just recently, I realized that 7′ skids make ideal platforms for drying & storing wood.  They keep it off the ground providing good air circulation and are also sturdy enough to handle the immense weight of freshly cut wood with a high moisture content.  I always use sticks of wood known as stickers between each layer to promote circulation.  The more circulation, the faster the wood will dry.

In my backyard, I’ve converted an unused play house into a useful wood storage shed.

Playhouse to Wood Shed2-Mo Apple & Plum Blocks4-Mo Hornbeam, 1-Yr Maple, 5-Yr Cherry

At left is the storage shed.  I’ve added the cross brace because the weight of the wood in the upper half was causing the shed to lean.  In the center are more turning blanks.  These are apple and plum.  In the right photo, from left to right, are:  two hornbeam logs, a stack of 1-1/2″ thick maple slabs, a stack of thick cherry slabs, and scrap wood.

And the latest haul – a fraction of the maple my good friend Dave milled.  Arbourists at UBC decided that a number of trees had to go.  Dave got word of this and arranged to have a large amount of it delivered to a site in Langley where he proceeded to mill the trees into usable (not to mention spectacular) lumber during his free time.  To mill the crotch, which measured up to five feet and change, Dave used his biggest chainsaw equipped with his longest bar which measures 72″ long.  To guide the saw, he rigs the chainsaw up to a modified Alaskan Mill.  Much of the wood he milled was donated to a local high school.  Today he brought over a few slabs for me – about 1200 lbs or so worth.  To make it easier to handle, we cut some pieces shorter.

SlabsWavy Slab

These picture doesn’t show the scale of the wood.  The slabs are just over seven feet long.  At the base of the crotch, the slabs are four feet.  The picture on the right shows the piece which I think is the most prized.  It’s got a wavy shape and medium burling at the near end as well as substantial figure and colour throughout.  Inspirational.

Dave is using a chainsaw with a 24″ bar to cut the slabs into manageable pieces.  Whole, they can weigh well over 400 lbs.

Here is a view of the figure in some of the wood.

And here is the end of a slab exhibiting spalting, which is caused by rot.  Spalting produces many colours and results in very attractive wood.  If it is halted at the right time, the wood doesn’t lose any of its structure.  If allowed to rot for too long, it just crumbles.

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