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Author Topic: Cucumber Tree/Wood/Lumber  (Read 10095 times)

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Offline 123maxbars

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Cucumber Tree/Wood/Lumber
« on: May 12, 2012, 12:10:01 PM »
I had a logger come by today with a load of what he called Cucumber Tree Logs. He said that it is similar to poplar and that most sawmills buy them and sale them as poplar. I havent bought the logs yet. Any advice or knowledge would be appreciated. I have a big order for poplar for barn siding and was thinking about using these logs.
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Offline Don K

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Re: Cucumber Tree/Wood/Lumber
« Reply #1 on: May 12, 2012, 03:33:39 PM »
I think what I know as a cucumber tree is a big leaf magnolia. Don't know about the lumber but it should be soft like poplar. Never saw a really straight one though. Curious what this turns into if it does.

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Offline Ianab

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Re: Cucumber Tree/Wood/Lumber
« Reply #2 on: May 12, 2012, 03:47:28 PM »
Probably  Magnolia acuminata
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Magnolia_acuminata

Quote
In the timber trade, this tree is interchangeable with that of the related tuliptree (Liriodendron tulipifera)

Tuliptree is commonly used in woodworking as it's light, stable and easy to work with, although pretty plain grained. Usually used as a secondary wood for drawers and hidden parts. Not sure how the durability would be for exterior use?

Poplar is a common name for Tuliptree in many places.

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Offline bugdust

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Re: Cucumber Tree/Wood/Lumber
« Reply #3 on: May 12, 2012, 09:37:30 PM »
We have the Cucumber tree in these parts and nobody cares much for them. I don't see much resemblance to the Tulip Poplar. The leaves are long and wide and once the red pedals fall off the bloom it resembles a cucumber. The wood is soft in comparison to the Poplar. I always heard squirrels like to ear the seeds.
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Offline Bogue Chitto

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Re: Cucumber Tree/Wood/Lumber
« Reply #4 on: May 12, 2012, 09:51:02 PM »
I have one in my yard.  Grows fast like the tulip tree. 

Offline west penn

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Re: Cucumber Tree/Wood/Lumber
« Reply #5 on: May 12, 2012, 10:54:38 PM »
 Actually tulip poplar is closer to a magnolia than it is to a true poplar (aspen) .  I doubt very much that you could tell the difference once it is sawn. Maybe one of the foresters can fill us in  on the difference.

Offline Ron Wenrich

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Re: Cucumber Tree/Wood/Lumber
« Reply #6 on: May 13, 2012, 12:26:30 AM »
Cucmber is thrown in with the tulip poplar lumber.  Both are magnolias.
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Offline 123maxbars

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Re: Cucumber Tree/Wood/Lumber
« Reply #7 on: May 13, 2012, 12:29:58 PM »
Does the lumber from cucumber trees resemble yellow poplar?
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Offline 4430jd

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Re: Cucumber Tree/Wood/Lumber
« Reply #8 on: May 13, 2012, 08:24:37 PM »
Here in central PA, we have cuccumber trees scattered among the hard woods. I had one sawed years ago. Identifacation is easy with bear claw marks. They climb to the top branches to eat the seed pod. The lumber that was sawed dried twisted.

Offline YellowHammer

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Re: Cucumber Tree/Wood/Lumber
« Reply #9 on: May 13, 2012, 08:27:03 PM »
Around here, in North Alabama, tulip poplar is specifically used and requested for barn siding because of its amazing bug resistance.  My barn is sided with poplar, and although 20 years old, doesn't have a bug hole, bee hole, or termite.  I've seen termites build tunnels on, but not in, poplar to get to and destroy oak.   Many of the old log cabins that are still standing in these parts are made from solid poplar logs.  Poplar rots quick so isn't used for structural ground contact, but is the wood of choice for siding.  I sawed a barn package just this weekend for a customer, and he had to have poplar siding.  I wonder if the cucumber tree has equal insect resistance?  If not, the customer might not be amiable to the substitution. 

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Offline WDH

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Re: Cucumber Tree/Wood/Lumber
« Reply #10 on: May 13, 2012, 08:28:29 PM »
Does the lumber from cucumber trees resemble yellow poplar?

Yes.  The heartwood is also green like in yellow poplar.
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Offline SamB

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Re: Cucumber Tree/Wood/Lumber
« Reply #11 on: May 15, 2012, 08:11:49 AM »

Offline Dodgy Loner

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Re: Cucumber Tree/Wood/Lumber
« Reply #12 on: May 15, 2012, 08:54:40 AM »
As a general rule, magnolia lumber can only be separated from tulip-poplar by microscopic means. Of course, many magnolia species are too small or crooked or limby to make quality lumber, but cucumbertree is an exception. It often grows tall, straight, and free of limbs, so it can produce lumber of excellent quality. It also differs from most other magnolias in that the bark is deeply ridged and furrowed, looking more like tulip-poplar than like a typical magnolia. I'd say that if you have an order for tulip-poplar lumber, you can mix in the cucumbertree in good conscious, since all of the important properties of the wood will be identical. The logger is correct - this is done all the time in the lumber industry.
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Offline WDH

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Re: Cucumber Tree/Wood/Lumber
« Reply #13 on: May 15, 2012, 08:48:27 PM »
As a general rule, magnolia lumber can only be separated from tulip-poplar by microscopic means.

I don't know if you have noticed I am sure that you have noticed that yellow poplar has a distinct row of marginal parenchyma that terminates the annual growth ring.  Magnolia has a double row of marginal parenchyma in some growth rings.  Not sure at all about cucumber tree, probably identical to yellow poplar.

BTW, cucumber tree must be a yellow poplar before all the kindergarten kids cut the top half of the leaf off with scissors  :D.
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Offline Frickman

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Re: Cucumber Tree/Wood/Lumber
« Reply #14 on: May 17, 2012, 06:00:56 PM »
Cucumber makes excellent barn and wagon lumber. I saw alot of it for those markets. I resist putting it in with tulip poplar though. Years ago I had an end user of hardwood lumber tell me that it causes problems when kiln-dried and used in cabinets and furniture. He said that it tends to check and split when used this way.
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Offline Dodgy Loner

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Re: Cucumber Tree/Wood/Lumber
« Reply #15 on: May 17, 2012, 06:20:55 PM »
As a general rule, magnolia lumber can only be separated from tulip-poplar by microscopic means.

I don't know if you have noticed I am sure that you have noticed that yellow poplar has a distinct row of marginal parenchyma that terminates the annual growth ring.  Magnolia has a double row of marginal parenchyma in some growth rings.  Not sure at all about cucumber tree, probably identical to yellow poplar.

I remember you telling me that back in 2003 when I was first learning wood ID, but I have never found that to be the case. I have samples of yellow-poplar, cucumbertree, Fraser magnolia, and umbrella magnolia in front of me right now - and all of them have only a single row of parenchyma (at least that is visible to my eye). Do you have any magnolia samples that exhibit this trait? ???
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Offline WDH

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Re: Cucumber Tree/Wood/Lumber
« Reply #16 on: May 17, 2012, 08:44:14 PM »
Magnolia grandiflora

Not sure about the other magnolia clan.  No, no samples.  This theory needs tested.
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Offline purple otter

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Re: Cucumber Tree/Wood/Lumber
« Reply #17 on: May 27, 2012, 07:08:08 PM »
 

  Here are a few pictures of some cucumber trees I have at my camp.They are about 22" DBH and 40' straight before any branches.The problem is they are rotten at the stump. I'm not sure if I should harvest them so as to control direction or just let nature take them down. I will saw them into boards so hopefully the lumber has value.
 

  

  

 
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Re: Cucumber Tree/Wood/Lumber
« Reply #18 on: May 27, 2012, 09:51:29 PM »
With the rot in the butt, I would go ahead and take them now.  They have done all that they are going to do, and when you harvest them, another one will take its place and renew the cycle.
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Offline mooleycow

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Re: Cucumber Tree/Wood/Lumber
« Reply #19 on: May 30, 2012, 12:28:22 PM »
aka mountain magnolia,  I've seen them 6 feet or more in diameter.  does get mixed in with poplar logs on a load.  found through out the mountains of NC.  makes beautiful bread kneading bowls as well as furniture. 

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Re: Cucumber Tree/Wood/Lumber
« Reply #20 on: May 30, 2012, 08:54:44 PM »
They also have beautiful flowers in the spring.
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