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Author Topic: This wood is HARD !  (Read 1991 times)

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Offline DR_Buck

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This wood is HARD !
« on: January 18, 2019, 10:34:25 AM »
I've run into some pretty hard domestic woods in the past.  I usually find it when I'm working in the shop or trying to drive a nail into an old seasoned board on an outbuilding.   But today I think I've seen the hardest domestic wood I've ever run across.    I have a load of a customer's Pecan in the kiln that will be ready in a few days.   It currently is between 7 and 9 % MC from what I have been able to check. ::)    I can hardly get the pins on my Delmhorst ES 26 hammer probe to penetrate at all, yet alone the full pin length.   :o     

I've cut and dried a fair amount of hickory, which I thought was similar to pecan, but I don't ever remember having trouble getting moisture meter pins to penetrate.  Is this common for pecan?   If it is that hard, I don't think I'll be wanting to use it on any projects coming out of my shop.    
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Offline GeneWengert-WoodDoc

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Re: This wood is HARD !
« Reply #1 on: January 18, 2019, 03:42:24 PM »
It is not common, but pecan and hickory are very hard and dense, so pin insertion is difficult and pins break, especially at low MCs.
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Offline Don P

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Re: This wood is HARD !
« Reply #2 on: January 18, 2019, 04:49:51 PM »
I tap the pins to make a mark then predrill down to close to depth and hammer the last little bit on wood like that
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Offline WDH

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Re: This wood is HARD !
« Reply #3 on: January 18, 2019, 08:13:50 PM »
Pecan is a hickory and a smiley_devil.
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Offline Wudman

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Re: This wood is HARD !
« Reply #4 on: January 19, 2019, 09:35:27 AM »
A pecan made me buy my wood splitter.  A big pecan blew down in my in-laws yard back during Hurricane Floyd.  I told them I would get it up.  I was a 32 year old "Stud" at the time, but that pecan put me on my knees.  I made a trip up to the big box store to pick up a wood splitter (that I use regularly today).  That leads to another good story.  I had a 2" ball on my vehicle at the time.  The wood splitter had an 1 7/8 hitch.  I didn't have a wrench with me and the clerk that was helping me came back out of the store with a pair of big channel lock pliers and two feet of pipe wrench.  I picked up the pipe wrench.  Of course the threads on the ball are galled.  I give it everything I've got.....doesn't budge.  Set my foot against the bumper and nothing moves.  The clerk gets down with me and nothing moves.  Yes I'm wearing Kaki pants and a nice shirt, but there is a Redneck farmboy hidden under them.  Some guy walks up like we are idiots.  He picks up the channel locks and makes an attempt.  The clerk looks at me like "Do you believe this guy?"  He then declares that it "won't move"......."no stuff Sherlock".  I believe that was in the days before the Bluecreeper......and I wanted my wood splitter so about 20 minutes with a hacksaw and I headed home with it in tow.

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Offline bwstout

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Re: This wood is HARD !
« Reply #5 on: January 22, 2019, 09:38:48 AM »
Wood turners we call it pecan-crete ;D  it will wear out a tool and beat you in the process.  I try to cut it round before I put it on the lathe
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Offline mredden

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Re: This wood is HARD !
« Reply #6 on: March 03, 2019, 06:52:50 PM »
Yes, it's hard but doesn't come close to Live Oak.

Offline bwstout

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Re: This wood is HARD !
« Reply #7 on: March 04, 2019, 08:12:01 AM »
Never had any live oak but if it is harder that pecan don't want to try to turn any of it just would not be fun  :'(
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Offline WDH

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Re: This wood is HARD !
« Reply #8 on: March 04, 2019, 08:15:36 AM »
If you look at the janka hardness list, and start at the top with the hardest wood and go down from there, the first North American hardwood that shows up on the list is live oak.  Second is osage orange.  Third is persimmon. 
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Offline petefrom bearswamp

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Re: This wood is HARD !
« Reply #9 on: March 04, 2019, 08:39:24 AM »
I do like Donp
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Offline bwstout

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Re: This wood is HARD !
« Reply #10 on: March 04, 2019, 09:09:39 AM »
Thanks WDH for good info
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Offline tmbrcruiser

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Re: This wood is HARD !
« Reply #11 on: March 04, 2019, 09:46:30 AM »
I just dried some persimmon for a work table top. Pecan would have been great I just didn't have any.
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Offline farmfromkansas

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Re: This wood is HARD !
« Reply #12 on: March 04, 2019, 07:29:10 PM »
I sawed some osage orange for a buddy, he cut the biggest trees he could find, and it must have been dead in spots, because it would saw just fine to a point, then just stop. Green osage saws fine, but that dead stuff, think again.

Offline YellowHammer

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Re: This wood is HARD !
« Reply #13 on: March 04, 2019, 10:55:21 PM »
I still remember the first Pecan I milled, it was a big one, my band wasnt overly sharp and before I knew it I had burned the band and the cut was smoking like a charcoal grill. So I put on a brand new band, one of the precious few I owned at the time, and immediately hit a nail and before I could exit the log, that band was literally smoking as well.  Pecan is hard in more ways than one. :D 

 
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Offline Mooseherder

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Re: This wood is HARD !
« Reply #14 on: March 04, 2019, 11:12:40 PM »
Live Oak was used in our Naval Ships early 1800s  They were nicknamed Old Ironsides.
We have one in our yard that we planted about 20 years ago.  It's getting big and provides welcome shade for most of the front yard.  I just bagged a couple bags of fallen leaves from it.  They dropped like snow in February.
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Offline Ianab

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Re: This wood is HARD !
« Reply #15 on: March 05, 2019, 04:07:32 AM »
If you look at the janka hardness list, and start at the top with the hardest wood and go down from there, the first North American hardwood that shows up on the list is live oak.  Second is osage orange.  Third is persimmon.
I think Mesquite is up in that range too. 
I've got a big stash of Casuarina (Sheoak) that we sawed last year. As far as I can tell it's not quite as hard as Live Oak, but pretty dang close. Was nice to go back to sawing Blackwood that's only about as hard as White Oak.  :)
But if you want to get silly, go talk to the Aussies. Most of their woods seem to start around the Pecan hardness level, and go up from there.  :D 
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Offline moodnacreek

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Re: This wood is HARD !
« Reply #16 on: March 05, 2019, 07:34:24 AM »
On dried locust carbide router bits may not work. I have had them un solder in a cloud of smoke. Had to use steel.

Offline MiamiCityboy

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Re: This wood is HARD !
« Reply #17 on: July 20, 2019, 11:36:28 PM »
It is not common, but pecan and hickory are very hard and dense, so pin insertion is difficult and pins break, especially at low MCs.
I  have a pecan waiting in my yard to be  slabbed and it is kind of dried already, I did not know was  going to  be so difficult, but I have cut some Black Olive here in Miami and so far they are the  hardest wood I have cut, even harder than oak , by the way  Black O  was the  first log  I cut and my regular  blade did no finish it , that is why I started buying the carbide tipped from woodmizer that are x4 $, but they are worth it so far, they even go thru metal.

Offline mredden

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Re: This wood is HARD !
« Reply #18 on: July 26, 2019, 12:05:10 PM »
I am presently chainsaw milling my second 30+ inch pecan.

As indicated by my name, I'm a newbie weekender. However, I have determined in my rookiehood:
Southern red oak = butter
pecan = difficult, requires sharpening after every tank but very doable.
live oak = never again. Why bother? What was I thinking? I'm not planning to build a ship.

My present log (Carya aquatica aka Bitter Pecan aka Water Hickory - I think) is 30+ inches wide, 12 feet long. The bottom four feet is full of nails, but I need 12 feet so I'm sawing through the first four feet with metal, then changing chains to finish. Use the second chain to get through the second cut of nails, then sharpen both chains. Fortunately, the nails aren't just eating up my semi-chisel chain. More filing needed than a normal field sharpening, but my semi-chisel chains aren't getting destroyed. I should reach the halfway point this weekend and will have fulfilled my 12-footer needs. I can then cut away the bottom four feet and mill 8 footers. Joy!

Is Pecan da' Debil as some on here have asserted? Nah, da' debil of America is Live Oak. Pecan is a mere minion ub da' Debil even with nails!

I made inattentive drying mistakes on my first Pecan and some (not all) due to splitting, cupping and warpage. This one, I'm being much more prompt (with one quickly corrected mistake) in endcoating, sticker-stacking, ratchet-strapping, prevailing wind direction and shading. So far, it's 100% gorgeous.

Planning to air dry on a porch til January then send to a pro for kiln drying. I want to have the conference table finished by July 2020 when construction of our new church (in a pecan grove) is scheduled to be completed.

QUESTION: When is the best time to plane pecan? Green? After air drying when it (hopefully) will have reached near average relative humidity for the area? After kiln drying?  Does early planing increase the odds of a good, flat WIDE board or decrease it?


Offline nativewolf

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Re: This wood is HARD !
« Reply #19 on: July 26, 2019, 12:50:10 PM »
Do you have kids?  The best time to plane pecan is after you catch them doing something pretty bad after they've hit 14.  Punishment would be straightening the pecan.  They'll clean up their act for sure.  If you don't have kids just wait.  Best use of pecan that I've found other than grilling. :D
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