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Author Topic: Black Tupelo / Blackgum  (Read 3527 times)

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Offline grweldon

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Black Tupelo / Blackgum
« on: October 22, 2012, 09:57:57 AM »
I have finally identified one of the frequently occuring trees on my farm as Black Tupelo and I'm coming to my favorite source for tree and lumber info! The red leaves are very pretty in the fall.  I've read that when quartersawn, the figure can be quite beautiful and I'm wondering if any of you have sawn it and can tell me a bit about the lumber...
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Offline GeneWengert-WoodDoc

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Re: Black Tupelo / Blackgum
« Reply #1 on: October 22, 2012, 05:46:01 PM »
Gene - Author of articles in Sawmill & Woodlot and books: Drying Hardwood Lumber; VA Tech Solar Kiln; Sawing Edging & Trimming Hardwood Lumber. And more

Offline hackberry jake

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Re: Black Tupelo / Blackgum
« Reply #2 on: October 22, 2012, 07:16:04 PM »
There is something in black gum lumber that takes stains off of your hands. When I used to stack oak lumber all day my hands would turn black, even through the gloves. When they would put some black gum logs on the mill we would all take our gloves off to handle it. It would leave our hands clean as a whistle. I tried bleach, boraxo, soap and water, etc. nothing worked as good as black gum. Very strange.
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Offline Sawdust Lover

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Re: Black Tupelo / Blackgum
« Reply #3 on: October 22, 2012, 07:40:38 PM »
The smell is terrible. I don't know much about new growth black gum by last summer I dug up a black gum log that was 36' long and staight as an arrow. The tree was buried around the 1920's in a wetland and then they filled over the logs with dirt to bridge a road they were building. The log was about 30' deep. I first thought it was black walnut because of the little points under the bark. I took it to Va. Tech forestry dept and they told me it was old growth straght grain black gum. Not really what I wanted to hear but it was still a cool log. I even sawed the log that was attached to it. The wood has dried fairly well in 2" slabs but the 1" stuff twisted really bad. And the lumber has a greenish tint to it but that may be caused from being buried so long. Here are some pics of the lumber the stump and some logs I haven't cut yet.

  

  

  

  

  

 

Offline Sawdust Lover

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Re: Black Tupelo / Blackgum
« Reply #4 on: October 22, 2012, 07:42:53 PM »
I ment to say I sawed the stump that was attached to it. :-\

Offline grweldon

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Re: Black Tupelo / Blackgum
« Reply #5 on: October 22, 2012, 08:23:49 PM »
Thank you Gene, Jake and Sawdust...
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Offline WDH

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Re: Black Tupelo / Blackgum
« Reply #6 on: October 22, 2012, 10:25:17 PM »
It would work OK as T&G paneling or wainscoting where each board is free to move.  I would not build a piece of furniture with it that had wide panels because of the spiral grain, like in sweetgum, sycamore, and elm. 
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Offline YellowHammer

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Re: Black Tupelo / Blackgum
« Reply #7 on: October 22, 2012, 10:42:58 PM »
To my surprise, black gum is one of my better selling species.  It's a bear to kiln dry correctly, and has a pretty high defect rate but I have come to expect and allow for that.  In spite of this, it can have some incredible figure.  Here are a couple pictures from a guy who rebuilt an antique children's wagon using my black gum elm. 



 

 

 

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Offline WDH

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Re: Black Tupelo / Blackgum
« Reply #8 on: October 22, 2012, 10:53:19 PM »
YH,

That is elm.  Probably slippery elm (also known as red elm).  It grows on the same site as tupelo gum.  The wavy bands in the latewood are distinctive.   Absolutely gorgeous wood, though!

Slippery elm also has a nice ring to it as does Tupelo. 
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Offline hackberry jake

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Re: Black Tupelo / Blackgum
« Reply #9 on: October 22, 2012, 11:36:26 PM »
When I saw those pics I was thinking "wholly cow, I didnt know black gum could look like that!". And then wdh ruined it for me. :-\
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Offline Okrafarmer

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Re: Black Tupelo / Blackgum
« Reply #10 on: October 22, 2012, 11:58:06 PM »
When I saw those pics I was thinking "wholly cow, I didnt know black gum could look like that!". And then wdh ruined it for me. :-\

Yeah, me too. I was starting to feel really let down that the black tupelo sour gum I milled didn't look like that. I milled three logs, and the wood was rather bland looking, I thought, but it milled like cheese and had the smoothest surface I've ever seen right off the mill.

I have some of it air-drying inside. Like my wide sweetgum boards, they haven't seemed to move at all yet.
No matter how conventional wisdom may fly in the face of radical thought, it's still the most popular type.

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Offline YellowHammer

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Re: Black Tupelo / Blackgum
« Reply #11 on: October 23, 2012, 12:23:41 AM »
:o Its embarrassingly apparent that I've been mixing together my gums and slippery elms!  While I remove my foot from my mouth I need to go through my lumber stack and do a better job sorting.  Maybe that's why its called "slippery" elm?   On the other hand, I've at least stumbled on a good way to sell black gum...mistakenly throw some elm in the stack to get the wow factor up, and it'll all sell like hot cakes! :D
That's why I like this forum, I always learn something!
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Offline WDH

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Re: Black Tupelo / Blackgum
« Reply #12 on: October 23, 2012, 07:08:22 AM »
YH,

I like your plan.  You could always rename it tupelo elm ;D.
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