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Author Topic: Black Birch ??  (Read 4389 times)

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Offline Slab Slicer

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Black Birch ??
« on: January 04, 2013, 07:02:07 PM »
Just want to check with some folks in the know. I've always called this tree a black birch. I've read that it's also called cherry birch, and sweet birch. This one fell in Sandy, and was a standing dead tree before then. Not on my property when standing, but when it fell across my driveway, I took ownership  ;)

Some pics of the bark. This tree was only about 14" dia.

 

 

 

 

One of the clean ends. This is a fresh cut.

 

 


And a couple of the boards. This has some nice grain to it.

 

 

   

 
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Offline GAB

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Re: Black Birch ??
« Reply #1 on: January 04, 2013, 08:29:41 PM »
Mr. Slicer Sir:
I know you said the tree was dead but when you cut a live black birch tree it smells like peppermint.
I have some black birch trees on my property that I have sold to a bowl turner.  I recently took one tree down that was 14" in diameter at approx. 29 feet.  It is spoken for for bowls for a farmer's market in the summer.  The third log up isn't the best lumber but it is nice for thin wood projects requiring short pieces.
Gerald
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Offline Slab Slicer

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Re: Black Birch ??
« Reply #2 on: January 04, 2013, 08:38:17 PM »
There was a slight aroma when I bucked the tree. Not much when I was milling it. I didn't smell anything, but I was wearing a dust mask, and the smell may have faded since it was bucked. I could take a sniff tomorrow when I mill the rest of it.
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Chuck

Offline WDH

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Re: Black Birch ??
« Reply #3 on: January 04, 2013, 11:10:48 PM »
That could certainly be it.  Too bad that you do not have any leaves.  The odor of the twigs smells like skoal dipping tobacco to me.
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Offline Jay C. White Cloud

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Re: Black Birch ??
« Reply #4 on: January 04, 2013, 11:52:13 PM »
Tobacco companies, at one time, would use Sweet Birch, (Black Birch) in their products.  It can be a bit of a challenge at times, but it can be a great wood for timber frames.  More than strong enough and takes on some beautiful colors, almost like Cherry.  I think that is why some folks call it "Cherry Birch."

Regards,

Jay
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Offline Migal

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Re: Black Birch ??
« Reply #5 on: January 05, 2013, 12:33:13 AM »
Let's not make this into another addiction post let's keep sawdust untaxed.
Tobacco companies, at one time, would use Sweet Birch, (Black Birch) in their products.  It can be a bit of a challenge at times, but it can be a great wood for timber frames.  More than strong enough and takes on some beautiful colors, almost like Cherry.  I think that is why some folks call it "Cherry Birch."

Regards,

Jay
That could certainly be it.  Too bad that you do not have any leaves.  The odor of the twigs smells like skoal dipping tobacco to me.
and yes I like tobacco too!!!
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Offline SwampDonkey

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Re: Black Birch ??
« Reply #6 on: January 05, 2013, 05:17:24 AM »
Wood is pretty much like yellow birch. Other than the bark there and bud scales, you probably wouldn't tell them apart. Certainly not by the wood. Both have mint flavour in the fresh twigs.

I'd much rather chew birch bark than tobacco. :D ;)
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Offline Slab Slicer

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Re: Black Birch ??
« Reply #7 on: January 05, 2013, 10:05:53 PM »
Finished milling the Black Birch this morning. Not much yeild as the logs were small. It'll be enough for some small project around the house. It'sgood to have a little bit of everything on hand.  ;)

I checked for any aroma to the wood, and it did have a slight smell of pepperming, or spermint. Some real nice grain also. Can't wait to run some of it through my surface planer.
2016 LT35HDG25, Kubota BX1500 w/FEL and custom skidding rig, Stihl MS362-25", Stihl MS250-20", Stihl MS192-18", Stihl MS180c-18". 2011 Toyota Tacoma, Ringo 12' trailer w/ folding rear gate, Iron & Oak 22 ton splitter.

Chuck

Offline Dodgy Loner

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Re: Black Birch ??
« Reply #8 on: January 07, 2013, 10:53:57 PM »
  More than strong enough and takes on some beautiful colors, almost like Cherry.  I think that is why some folks call it "Cherry Birch."

Yes, I have fooled some competent dendrologists who thought that my birch end table was cherry ;). I have always thought that the bark of the black birch resembles the bark of the pin cherry or a young black cherry as well.
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Offline Jay C. White Cloud

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Re: Black Birch ??
« Reply #9 on: January 07, 2013, 11:26:05 PM »
Dodgy Loner, you'll like this story.  You have to love scientist, they can be so frustrating, but funny at the same time.  I was watching a PhD grad student looking at wood samples under a micro scope, I said I though it was Birch, he looked at me with contempt, what did I know.  I was some "snot nosed," 19 year old that played in the woods and worked in folk art, (timber frames,) I was mistaken, of course.

Botany professor walks over, looks at the samples, looks at me and asks, "which one is cherry then?"  I said, "this one feels, smells and looks write to me?"  They were fresh samples. He smiled at me, patted the PhD student on the shoulder, and just said, "age doesn't matter, but field experiences is priceless," and walked away.
"To posses an open mind, is to hold a key to many doors, and the ability to created doors where there were none before."

"When it is all said and done, they will have said they did it themselves."-teams response under a good leader.

Offline SwampDonkey

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Re: Black Birch ??
« Reply #10 on: January 08, 2013, 05:29:39 AM »
Our pin cherry bark stays smooth even on older trees. I've got some in the back yard that are bigger than any I've seen in the woods. Again bark can be different by region.  I cut a couple once for a friend to mill up. It was like black cherry in that, the wood is not uniform color in our cherry until it ages as lumber. ;D
No amount of belief makes something a fact. James Randi

1 Thessalonians 5:21

2020 Polaris Ranger 570 to forward firewood, Husqvarna 555 XT Pro, Stihl FS560 clearing saw and continuously thinning my ground, on the side. Grow them trees. (((o)))

Offline Dodgy Loner

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Re: Black Birch ??
« Reply #11 on: January 08, 2013, 10:14:58 AM »
SD, in the Southern Appalachians our pin cherry bark also stays very smooth with age. It looks very distinctive on a larger tree, but on the smaller ones, it can resemble a small black cherry or black birch :)

Jay, I am a scientist I suppose, so I agree completely that I can be frustrating and funny ;D. Just ask my wife :D. I agree that there is absolutely no substitute for experience when identifying trees and wood. Some characteristics, such as the smell of wood or the appearance of bark, defy description and are best recognized by long experience. I taught tree ID for 5 semesters as a grad student and I learned how tough it could be to verbalize the reasons I could identify, say, a white ash, from 100 yards away.
"There is hardly anything in the world that some man cannot make a little worse and sell a little cheaper, and the people who consider price only are this man's lawful prey." -John Ruskin

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Re: Black Birch ??
« Reply #12 on: January 08, 2013, 10:19:29 AM »
Yup, and even the smell of the shavings of a species when planing can be distinct. The ID keys often say no distinctive smell of many species. They obviously never ran a planer. ;D
No amount of belief makes something a fact. James Randi

1 Thessalonians 5:21

2020 Polaris Ranger 570 to forward firewood, Husqvarna 555 XT Pro, Stihl FS560 clearing saw and continuously thinning my ground, on the side. Grow them trees. (((o)))


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