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Author Topic: sweetgum  (Read 1392 times)

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Offline xlogger

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sweetgum
« on: December 01, 2018, 05:38:36 AM »
I was watching a Youtube video the other day and a guy was slabbing a sweetgum that he let sit for a few months and it started spalting. He claim they stay flatter if you did that. The slab had nice grain and the spalting stood out nice. I'm always looking something new and different to cut. Any one had any experience with doing this?
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Offline ellmoe

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Re: sweetgum
« Reply #1 on: December 01, 2018, 06:56:31 AM »
My experience with gum is that it is more important where in the log the slab comes from as to warping, etc.. Also, gum doesn't move as much until the end of the drying cycle, air drying doesn't get it to that point. Additionally, sweet gum rots faster as a log or air-stacked product that any of the other dozen or so species we cut. Leave them out as a slab in damp conditions and soon that will be a pile of mulch.
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Offline GeneWengert-WoodDoc

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Re: sweetgum
« Reply #2 on: December 01, 2018, 09:38:19 AM »
Here is part of an article I wrote in Sawmill and Woodlot magazine about sweetgum.

Drying. 
Drying is certainly the one “problem” that we have with sweetgum.  The wood has interlocked grain, meaning that the grain is sometimes diving into the piece and the adjacent area has the grain coming out of the piece of lumber.  As a result, the wood shrinks lengthwise, as well as every which direction, during drying.  That is, it warps, especially it twists.  Further, flatsawn red gum, as well as flatsawn sap gum from smaller trees, has a tendency to cup.  Keeping gum flat during drying requires 12" sticker spacing, rapid drying, avoiding rewetting conditions during drying, and avoiding over-drying.   

Overall, gum shrinks more than cherry, mahogany, or walnut (8% shrinkage from green to 6% MC, compared to 6%, 3%, and 6% for the other three species, respectively).  


Sap gum, like most sapwood, is subject to rapid discoloration by blue stain fungi and chemical gray stain in warm weather.  Red gum will honeycomb if dried too quickly.
Gene - Author of articles in Sawmill & Woodlot and books: Drying Hardwood Lumber; VA Tech Solar Kiln; Sawing Edging & Trimming Hardwood Lumber. And more

Offline xlogger

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Re: sweetgum
« Reply #3 on: December 02, 2018, 05:39:19 AM »
Maybe I should just stay with my policy and stay away from sweetgum :)
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Offline ellmoe

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Re: sweetgum
« Reply #4 on: December 02, 2018, 06:30:50 AM »
Maybe I should just stay with my policy and stay away from sweetgum :)
You can handle a snake if you know how to do so. I saw sweetgum often, makes good blocking and dunnage, red gum is very attractive so is spalted gum. For 3/4 paneling we saw 5/4 rough to eliminate the "fried bacon" results of kiln drying. It does need to be fully dried to use in such a manner. Buy some logs cheap and play around with it. It is easy to saw and, around here, is readily available. The "goatmizer" nails it up green for barn siding. Try it, somebody needs to milk a "rattlesnake". ;)

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Offline Magicman

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Re: sweetgum
« Reply #5 on: December 02, 2018, 08:42:10 AM »
The prettiest Sweetgum that I have ever seen was on a Pulpwood Truck.  8)
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Offline ellmoe

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Re: sweetgum
« Reply #6 on: December 03, 2018, 07:15:01 AM »
The prettiest Sweetgum that I have ever seen was on a Pulpwood Truck.  8)


From your posts about how much you " like " sweetgum, I expect the truck was leaving your property. :D
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Offline Magicman

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Re: sweetgum
« Reply #7 on: December 03, 2018, 08:16:25 AM »
Yup, a happy day in the life of a Sweetgum tree.  ;D
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Re: sweetgum
« Reply #8 on: December 03, 2018, 07:58:48 PM »
I am finally having success drying sweetgum. It's been a long process; I started by cutting the fresh logs as 2" thick ovals in March, air dried thru the summer, started kiln drying but it seemed to stop drying at 12% so I removed the charge from the kiln to make space for air dried WO. After WO dried the kiln was empty so what the heck - I put the SG back in. That was about a month ago. My DH kiln has a domestic unit in it and to prolong its life I try not to let the temp get over the 90s. - that takes daily management of the time-based on/off cycle. Now it slowly drips water but the MC is 8.6% as of tonight and the oval are flat and no splits. (It's another story for the half-ovals which do have splits - not a surprise there). If the MC gets below 8% I will then sterilize at 133°F and see if they sell or if I have very dry firewood. Fingers crossed.
Bob 
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Offline Magicman

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Re: sweetgum
« Reply #9 on: December 03, 2018, 08:40:42 PM »
I will not give up, I will not back down, I will not surrender.  taz-smiley
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Online kelLOGg

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Re: sweetgum
« Reply #10 on: January 24, 2019, 06:16:27 PM »
After apparently stalling out at 8.6% MC I asked Xlogger if he would measure the MC. He got 8% so I decided that is the best I could do. I raised the kiln temp to get the core temp to 133°F, let it cool and opened it up to see what I would find. I was pleased - still flat and no cracks in all 28 of them. The pic really shows up the heart wood but I can't get it to upload. Will try later...

I get 
Critical error
There was an error while processing a database query 

Bob
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Offline xlogger

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Re: sweetgum
« Reply #11 on: January 25, 2019, 04:23:17 AM »
Bob I was getting the same message on a pic I changed the download to single pic. Can't remember for sure what I did but tried several ways to get it to post.
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Online kelLOGg

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Re: sweetgum
« Reply #12 on: January 25, 2019, 05:59:03 AM »
Glad it is not just me. Beenthere helped me. When I click GALLERY on the bottom left of the page I get the error, BUT I can still click MY GALLERY and all is cool. Maybe admin can chime in and fix.

So... here is the pic. I have 28 of these ovals. They are about 5' x 16" and 2" thick. The one in the pic was rubbed down with mineral spirits (at Scott smith's suggestion) to temporarily bring out the heart. It is finally a success all around and I learned of the difficulty of drying SG in my kiln. Patience is the key. Now, let's see if they sell. I have had inquiries and someone bought some half ovals with cracks to make cutting boards. I told him I thought SG was too soft for that but his source of info indicated they would be ok. Whatever...

Bob



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Offline DWyatt

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Re: sweetgum
« Reply #13 on: January 25, 2019, 08:35:11 AM »
That picture messed with my head a bit. If the building wasn't in the background, the oval looks like a severely distorted picture of a circle and messed with me a bit! Congrats on the success!

Online kelLOGg

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Re: sweetgum
« Reply #14 on: January 25, 2019, 11:57:06 AM »
The barn makes a distracting background but I chose the pic because of the way the sun lit up the oval. 
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Offline flatrock58

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Re: sweetgum
« Reply #15 on: January 30, 2019, 10:05:26 PM »
We have a local business called Eutree that is selling Dried Sweetgum slabs for tables and benches in high end restaurants around Atlanta.  They also have a selection of other products like paneling made with sweetgum.  It looks pretty good.
https://www.eutree.com/paneling/
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Re: sweetgum
« Reply #16 on: January 31, 2019, 08:10:29 PM »
Glad to see someone is putting SG to use.
Bob
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Online Southside

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Re: sweetgum
« Reply #17 on: January 31, 2019, 08:26:29 PM »
Are you kidding me?  These days @Magicman is sawing the stuff practically non stop!!!   ;D
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Re: sweetgum
« Reply #18 on: January 31, 2019, 08:43:34 PM »
I have set an all time personal record sawing Sweetgum on this trip.  I think that it is because Sweetgum is the only trees/logs that the customer has and he needs these timbers really bad.  For his use he should not have a problem because everything is boxed heart.  I am sawing 4X8, 8X8, 6X12, & 12X12.  I will have a bunch of 4X6's to saw but I am saving some Red Oak for those.
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Re: sweetgum
« Reply #19 on: February 01, 2019, 09:17:30 AM »
Saw an interesting segment on "How it's made" last night about slat baskets - bushel baskets, etc.  Seems that sweet gum is the wood of choice.  It's sliced like veneer and then sliced into slats to make the baskets.  (Season 31, episode 11).  They work it green and the whole basket is dried after it's made.  (I tried to link to it, but couldn't.)  Baskets - who knew?
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