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Author Topic: FAQ re: how to determine if anything in that open air pile of offcuts is worthit  (Read 314 times)

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Offline SVFBrett

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Is there a resource y'all could point me to discussing how to assess if a weathered piece of wood is salvageable for woodworking use (non-structural)? I have piles and piles of 10 yr old hemlock, fir, maple slab and off cuts that I'd love to salvage for educational stock or donation and the space to store it. Just need a lil data to help triage. TIA.

Offline btulloh

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You can tell a lot by picking it up and looking it over. You probably know what different species weigh from working with wood for a long time. By the time you touch it and lift it to look at you know if it's sound of not. If it's sound look at all 6 sides for signs of decay,insect damage, etc.  Then just toss it in the good pile or the bad pile. It doesn't take long to separate the sheep from the goats. Then saw off a 9/16" (approximately) piece off one end and take a closer look at the good or questionable pieces. You can  joint a face or edge of it's clean. No magic, but a pile can be sorted pretty much as fast as you can pick up a piece and toss it in the right direction. That's my method anyway.  Your mileage may vary.

My problem is that almost anything is good for something even if can't be used in that highboy you're getting ready to build. I just end up with three or four piles instead of one pile.  :D

Offline SVFBrett

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I lost confidence in my ability to grade or triage wood when the elm I drug up from the woods that I was going to use for my bench top sprouted oyster mushrooms. I knew it was dead fall, it just felt solid enough that I didn't think it was THAT dead fall.

Offline longtime lurker

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Honestly if it wasn't good enough to be useful 10 years back its hardly going  to  have improved since. If you want to give it away tell the recipient to sort it... they get what  they  will value, you dont have to sort it. If they aren't prepared to sort it then they don't want it bad enough.

One of the hardest things for me is to send "could be good  for someone " to the burn heap. But I've learnt to do it, if it has no commercial value or its value is below cost of recovery then its just got to burn or it takes up space  and makes the place untidy. Sawmill is messy enough as it is.
The quickest way to make a million dollars with a sawmill is to start with two million.

Offline TKehl

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Mmmmm... spalted Maple!!!  Elm spalts nicely to.
Lucas 6-13+slabber, Mr. Sawmill bandmill, orange chainsaws, JD SSL, Case Backhoe, farm tractors, trailers, and 150ish acres of trees.  Fledgling woodshop with CNC router, laser engraver, Woodmaster 712, and a Berlin 108 moulder (project).  Oh, and a lovely (patient) wife and four offbearers.

Offline SVFBrett

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Elm apparently loves growing Oysters too.  Not while they are IN the woods mind you.  No, not when the landowner is combing his woods looking for edible mushrooms but only when recovered back to the workshop awaiting milling into slab for bench tops.  People talk about thunderstorms and water soaking for inducing fruiting, nope. Tell a piece of wood it's gonna get chisels bounced off it for eternity and suddenly it's a fungus funhouse.  ;-)

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