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Author Topic: Black Gum/Tupelo anyone sawed it?  (Read 971 times)

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Offline hunz

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Black Gum/Tupelo anyone sawed it?
« on: September 03, 2014, 06:30:35 PM »
So the other day I dropped a good size Black gum(26" diam). The tree died the previous year, and I was just waiting for a good opportunity to fall and skid it. Well today it got a ride on my trailer up to the barn. Have any of you guys sawed this stuff? What is it used for? The butt log had some visible spalt on the end, tree seems very solid still, no punkiness.  I talked to someone much older than I am about it, he only had experience using it as firewood. He claimed it was harder to bust than locust. Any insight?

Below is a picture of two black gum logs with a northern red oak I skid out today too.

 
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Offline YoungStump

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Re: Black Gum/Tupelo anyone sawed it?
« Reply #1 on: September 03, 2014, 06:42:12 PM »
I've sawed up a few, seems to saw nice and smooth except if my memory serves me right it had more stress than average. I just sawed em for blocking, don't real know what it's good for, I believe it's fairly difficult to dry straight and not very rot resistant.
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Offline WDH

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Re: Black Gum/Tupelo anyone sawed it?
« Reply #2 on: September 03, 2014, 10:08:28 PM »
It has spiral grain, like sweetgum, and wants to twist and warp in drying.  Especially flatsawn boards.  Has a rather plain/bland grain.  Not much good for furniture or woodworking, but it has had some industrial uses.  It was used for pulleys, wheel hubs, and other uses where resistance to splitting was important.  It is a very good wildlife tree as it produces a lot of small black drupes that are nutritious for the critters to eat.

It tends to form hollows, which makes good homes for wildlife, and makes it a very cool tree to burn when hollow.

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Offline Magicman

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Re: Black Gum/Tupelo anyone sawed it?
« Reply #3 on: September 03, 2014, 10:13:10 PM »
It was a favored species for an old "dough bowl" maker that once lived here.
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Re: Black Gum/Tupelo anyone sawed it?
« Reply #4 on: September 03, 2014, 10:53:19 PM »
I sawed some a few years ago, and made timbers and cross ties out of some, and 4/4 lumber from the remainder as an experiment.  It saws easy, just like sweet gum. ;D  The heartwood was kind of attractive, but otherwise bland.  About 50% of the load I kiln dried ended up hooked and crooked and looking like a potato chip, but the rest came out OK and I did end up selling a decent bit of it, even had a few customers ask for more when I sold out.
The cross ties I made with it are unusually strong and impact resistant due to the spiral grain, and I still use them for my log deck where they take a beating with logs bouncing off them all the time and are still are in good shape.  Seems to be a very tough wood, not really overly hard, but very impact and split resistant.
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Offline TreeWinder

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Re: Black Gum/Tupelo anyone sawed it?
« Reply #5 on: September 04, 2014, 06:44:56 AM »
Flat sawn, and plenty of weight on you stack when drying. Even standing dead will be very heavy in moisture content. Consider when your done to have about 50% useable. It makes great contrasting wood in furniture such as end and coffee tables.

Waste goes into wood stove or fireplace, makes a lot of sparks when burning.
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Offline hunz

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Re: Black Gum/Tupelo anyone sawed it?
« Reply #6 on: September 04, 2014, 10:26:45 AM »
Well, it looks like the consensus is across the board on a 50% loss on what I cut. That's a bummer, but anything worth having, generally isn't easy to get. I was thinking possible flooring for a small room out of the heart wood. My plan will be to 4/4 the stuff, quartersawing whatever I can, and hope for the best putting my best lumber at the bottom of the stack. Hopefully the logs heart wood will yield some spalt, and I'll have a one of a kind floor in a room. Treewinder- the moisture in that tree was something I definitely took note of when falling it. It almost seemed like my chainsaw bar was "wet". I plan to saw it up early next week, as long as I get my resharps are back by then. I will post back with the results.
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Offline TreeWinder

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Re: Black Gum/Tupelo anyone sawed it?
« Reply #7 on: September 04, 2014, 07:57:10 PM »
Hunz,
Here is a pic of the last one I did.



Moisture is right, I cut some of the butt to try on my lathe, I should have worn a rain suit and face shield. I was soaked just roughing out a bowl. Also standing dead a year.  With that grain it does not release moisture anytime soon. It'll definitely move while drying so as much weight as you got on the stack will help. It'll bow, twist, but did not split on me. End results some very nice looking boards to use.
Ed
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