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Author Topic: Sweet Gum  (Read 6422 times)

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Offline Randy

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Sweet Gum
« on: January 20, 2005, 01:57:34 PM »
Question's Again!! I am reading a fair amount on here about sweet gum. I have a fair amount on my farm but I have not even considered cutting any of it, but you fellow sawyers make it sound as though I should. OK Give me some imput on this and how should I saw it(quarter, flat)? Is it bad to warp while drying?  What would be the best application to use it in construction? Thanks Randy

Offline Ga_Boy

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Re: Sweet Gum
« Reply #1 on: January 20, 2005, 02:21:17 PM »
Randy,

Sweet Gum can be used for many things.

I am cutting some for resale and some I am cutting to use as bolsters to stack and sticker wood on.

Do not discount Sweet Gum it can be sold.



Mark
10 Acers in the Blue Ridge Mountains

Offline Tom

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Re: Sweet Gum
« Reply #2 on: January 20, 2005, 02:24:09 PM »
I think that Sweet Gum is one of the most forgotten or undiscovered cabinet woods in the USA.  It is gorgeous stuff, having a light colored sapwood and a red to reddish brown heart.  The unfortunate thing is that it has locked grain and appears to grow  to the right sometimes and then to the left sometimes.  That probably has a lot to do with the prettiness of the boards but it also makes it a little difficult to dry.  

I cut Sweet Gum a minimum of 5/4 and air dry it in a pole barn out of reach of rain and sun.  My success has been good.  You have to be careful of insects though.  Powder Post beetles and the like certainly like it and will attack it on a moments notice.

You may bring up the subject of Sweet Gum to a cabinet maker and he won't know what you are talking about.  He might even tell you that it is a junk wood and he wouldn't waste his time on it.  But, ask him what he thinks of Red Gum and his mouth will water.  "you find some and I'll buy it", he might say.  Well, Red Gum is nothing but the heartwood of Sweet Gum.  The Sapwood is called White Gum or Sap Gum. Both are marketed separately and cherished by those in the know.

I have a barn full of 20" wide Sweet Gum boards that were gained by sawing through and through.  Both the flat sawed and vertical grain are pretty in their own right and have dried flat. I have noticed beetle attacks in the sapwood of the top layers but nothing in the middle of the stack.  I can trim the damage if I want, or just use it as buggy wood.  I kind of like the effect.  I'll have to make sure that there are no active larvae or living eggs in the boards when I use it.  I'll probably cook it.

These boards are for my own use and it would take someone with deep pockets to relieve me of them.  My computer desk has a top made from some of them.  It isn't finished but has been planed and rubbed with Johnson's Paste Wax.  Where my hands rest on either side of the keyboard, it has darkened from the oil and is becoming polished.  I wish I could get that same effect over the entire board.surface.  The twisted grain causes the mottling of the wood to appear striped.  I don't think I favor either the flat or vertical grain.

The larger trees are the prettiest wood.  While I have cut many in the 12" to 16" range, the prettiest wood seems to have come from logs that are in excess of 20" and the 30" plus logs are well worth the chainsaw trouble that it takes to make them fit the mill. :)
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Offline Tom

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Re: Sweet Gum
« Reply #3 on: January 20, 2005, 02:39:10 PM »
Check out this stool that a customer made for me years ago.

http://www.tomssaw.com/gallery/album01/sweetgumstool
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Offline Ga_Boy

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Re: Sweet Gum
« Reply #4 on: January 20, 2005, 04:37:36 PM »
Tom,

That is the same pattern the my two customers saw and marked the boards.

They were very suprised that the species was Gum, now they are exicted to work with this species as they never had before.


Mark
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Offline Tom

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Re: Sweet Gum
« Reply #5 on: January 20, 2005, 04:45:08 PM »
That stool has a little spalt in it that makes it  more remarkable.  But the colors are still Sweet Gum.
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Offline MemphisLogger

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Re: Sweet Gum
« Reply #6 on: January 20, 2005, 06:34:23 PM »
Hmm . . . Sweetgum . . .



That's 12' and 6/4. The heartwood (Redgum) is the only good part. :)
Scott Banbury, Urban logger since 2002--Custom Woodworker since 1990. Running a Woodmizer LT-30, a flock of Huskies and a herd of Toy 4x4s Midtown Logging and Lumber Company at www.scottbanbury.com

Offline sawwood

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Re: Sweet Gum
« Reply #7 on: January 20, 2005, 07:03:34 PM »
Urban logger that looks like the sweet gum i had one time.
some of it spalted and i used it in a segmented turning.
I sure do like and if the tree service git some logs will have
some more.

Sawwood
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Offline TN_man

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Re: Sweet Gum
« Reply #8 on: January 21, 2005, 04:00:13 AM »
Sweet stool you got there Tom ;D
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Offline ARKANSAWYER

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Re: Sweet Gum
« Reply #9 on: January 21, 2005, 06:14:29 AM »
  Sweet gun is best felled in the fall and allowed to lay for a month or two bucked into logs but not sealed. Saw on the light of the moon.   Most of my 4/4 lumber I saw at double thickness and sticker as it comes off saw.  I split it after drying as it seems to dry flatter in thicker boards.  Alot of it goes as 8/4 and 12/4 and I have better luck with flat sawn for grade or through and through so the qsawn is one board like Tom does it.
 It is bad to twist, bugs love it, and it will rot most quick which makes it hard to spalt.   I have covered it with 50 coat and people think it is marble.
ARKANSAWYER
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Offline Grawulf

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Re: Sweet Gum
« Reply #10 on: January 21, 2005, 07:15:05 AM »
I was beginning to wonder about some sweetgum that a friend had purchased from an amish sawyer. Stuff was sawn at 4/4, stickered correctly and allowed to air dry in a drying shed. The whole stack looked like airplane propellers after about a year. Glad that you said something about twist, Arky. Thought I was the only one.............

Offline logman

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Re: Sweet Gum
« Reply #11 on: January 21, 2005, 07:39:18 AM »
If nothing else you can saw it up for RR ties, the guy I talked
to a while back from Koppers said they love gum because it
takes treatment well.
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Offline Arthur

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Re: Sweet Gum
« Reply #12 on: January 21, 2005, 01:55:00 PM »
Do you know the botanic name of this wood.  The pics and discription sound like the Rose  Gum we have here.  If it is I have found that you need to hug the tree.  By doing this you can measure for 600mm or greater and look up to find defects,etc.

much above 800mm and you start to get pipes up the middle.

8"x2" and 12"x2" get the best money here for stairs. 4"x1" are good for flooring.  no good at all for use outdoors.  

Best left 3 to 6 months in log form before milling.  Butt end downhill.  I have left logs for upto 3 years getting good boards but loose a bit due to spliting.

Offline music_boy

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Re: Sweet Gum
« Reply #13 on: January 21, 2005, 02:14:58 PM »
LIQUIDAMBAR (Liquidam'bar). DESCRIPTION: Liquidambar is the botanical name for the Sweet Gum trees. L. styraciflua is a native of eastern North America. ...
Witch Hazel family
Rick
It's not how much YOU love, it is how much you ARE loved that matters. (Wizard of OZ)

Offline Tom

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Re: Sweet Gum
« Reply #14 on: January 21, 2005, 02:52:26 PM »
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Offline VA-Sawyer

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Re: Sweet Gum
« Reply #15 on: January 21, 2005, 05:03:38 PM »
I cut some gum up for stickers once. Big Mistake ! That stuff bent up in more ways than you can imagine. I have played with gum a little since then. I can be dried straight with work.
VA-Sawyer

Offline Larry

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Re: Sweet Gum
« Reply #16 on: January 21, 2005, 05:39:45 PM »
Little to far north for sweet gum here.  Sawwood gave me a little piece to take a picture of for my web site.  Sure is pretty.



Larry, making useful and beautiful things out of the most environmental friendly material on the planet.

We need to insure our customers understand the importance of our craft.

Offline oldsaw

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Sawwood has got a nice little stash of cool stuff
« Reply #17 on: January 21, 2005, 08:29:17 PM »
He'd be hard pressed to fit a whole lot more wood in his shop without throwing out some tools.

That is a really cool looking piece though.

So many trees, so little money, even less time.

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Offline Daren

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Re: Sweet Gum
« Reply #18 on: January 22, 2005, 05:13:28 AM »
I am really glad I found this site. I am new to sawmilling, so I have been trying to learn from the internet. There are not any sawyers local I can hang out with and learn from. I had the same question about gum. A guy dropped off 7 sweet gum logs 20"x 10' for me yesterday. I guess I will cut them thick and hope for the best.
Experience is something you don't get until just after you need it.

Offline Tom

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Re: Sweet Gum
« Reply #19 on: January 22, 2005, 11:24:34 AM »
Welcome, Daren :)

You've found a herd...cuvy......bunch..... er lots of.....   wood-interested folks here.  Have a seat anytime and help us discuss sawing, building, visiting and food...over and over and over and.....

We're having a good time. ;D
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