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Author Topic: a lonely basswood  (Read 6576 times)

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Offline chinahand

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a lonely basswood
« on: January 31, 2009, 10:10:53 PM »
Howdy,

I have a single basswood--about 24" in diameter--that's a leaner and has reached its time.  A sibling not 50 feet away that came down naturally about 8 years ago has almost decayed thoroughly into the forest floor, and I've been told that basswood--while valued by wood cutters--needs to be processed quickly to preserve any value.  I've asked around--even spoke to a log broker--but no one seems to have a clue as to how to get this piggy to market.  (I'm in Penobscot County, Maine).  I've concluded that it might be best just to take her down and try to hold onto what I can.  If basswood is a tricky species to dry, what would you recommend?  And what might be possible uses?  Thanks for any suggestions.

Offline SwampDonkey

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Re: a lonely basswood
« Reply #1 on: February 01, 2009, 06:10:03 AM »
See what you can do as far as cutting and sawing for the wood carving market. Basswood is tops for wood carving material. Bark can be made into rope. We have basswood up here in New Brunswick as well, it's kind of an oddball species, meaning it's not abundant up here, just pockets and one here and there along the river valley. I have some I transplanted from the farm as yard trees and I have one growing wild on my woodlot. I've been trying to get seed to germinate from my yard trees. No success.
No amount of belief makes something a fact. James Randi

1 Thessalonians 5:21

Offline chinahand

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Re: a lonely basswood
« Reply #2 on: February 01, 2009, 06:28:10 AM »
Any suggestions as to how I can identify the wood carving market?   

Offline SwampDonkey

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Re: a lonely basswood
« Reply #3 on: February 01, 2009, 06:50:00 AM »
Any wood working groups, carvers, in the area? What's on the internet for Maine wood working groups? Sometimes it can be a lot of effort expelled for little reward when talking about marketing on a per tree basis.  If you knew someone who carves, that would be the best approach. Some people may take the log as is, while others won't touch it unless it's been processed into carving blanks and dried. Ebay an option? Might have to do some research on the specs in the market.
No amount of belief makes something a fact. James Randi

1 Thessalonians 5:21

Offline thecfarm

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Re: a lonely basswood
« Reply #4 on: February 01, 2009, 07:04:13 AM »
Did you google wood carvers of Maine? There is a group in Maine called Maine Wood Carvers Association,MWCA out of Newcastle,ME.
By the way,don't get your hopes up too high,if one fell over the other one may be on it's way out.Maybe all rotten inside.We had some here.When my Father meet my Mother he thought he could get some points from his future FIL by giving him some basswood.The few he had were all rotten inside.But I hope that is not the way your is.
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Offline chinahand

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Re: a lonely basswood
« Reply #5 on: February 01, 2009, 07:48:13 AM »
Thanks.  I'll check out the Maine Wood Carvers Association in Newcastle.  I know the area.  Yeah, it's sobering about the possibility that the tree's a dud.  On the other hand, things seemed to work out OK with your mom and dad--otherwise you wouldn't be here giving me advice.    ;)

Offline Ron Wenrich

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Re: a lonely basswood
« Reply #6 on: February 01, 2009, 02:38:29 PM »
When I sawed out basswood for a wood carver, he wanted 2", 4x6 and 6x8, no heart.  He was using it to carve goose and duck decoys.  The price isn't the greatest, but its better than letting it rot or go into pallets.
Never under estimate the power of stupid people in large groups.

Offline stonebroke

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Re: a lonely basswood
« Reply #7 on: February 01, 2009, 02:42:29 PM »
When I had a log sale 12 years ago the logger was shipping it over to Japan for chopsticks. I have also sold them to people to cut into scaffold planks. Very light so you can cut them thick but still pick them up.

Stonebroke

Offline thedeeredude

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Re: a lonely basswood
« Reply #8 on: February 01, 2009, 05:53:49 PM »
Woodcraft stores usually have carving classes and groups as well, maybe that's another option. 

Offline chinahand

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Re: a lonely basswood
« Reply #9 on: February 02, 2009, 12:02:47 AM »
Failing to find someone right away to take it away, do you recommend I buck it up into 4' and 8' lengths and saw it up into 6x8 blanks?  (is "blank" the right word?) I'm told that basswood can twist something wicked.  If so, is it best to just keep the log in sections, off the ground and out of the weather, then saw next year?

Offline Tom

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Re: a lonely basswood
« Reply #10 on: February 02, 2009, 09:34:23 AM »
I know there are those who would disagree with me, but, unless I'm interested in creating Spalt, I find that most logs are better sawed as soon as they come off of the stump, to minimize discoloration, stain and insect damage.

I would saw it now and stick it properly in a protected area, and do my best to dry it without stain or inducing warp.  If used for turning or carving blanks, the sawed material should be end-sealed.

To allow a log to sit/mellow/cure/or whatever, is a crapshoot. :)
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Offline Ron Wenrich

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Re: a lonely basswood
« Reply #11 on: February 02, 2009, 05:08:21 PM »
I've had logs that have laid a good time before I sawed them.  Depending on the time of year its cut will be dependent on how much stain you get.  If you cut the logs in fall or winter, you won't get too much stain, since they will be dried out before the stain season. 

But, you probably could saw them, since you're only talking about one tree.  Stain doesn't really bother decoy carvers, since they paint the product.  I would cut them in 8' lengths, because its easier to handle.  You can cut 6x8s, but I would cut them plump and make sure there is no pith.  You have to take the pith out in a pallet board.
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Offline chinahand

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Re: a lonely basswood
« Reply #12 on: February 03, 2009, 07:25:46 AM »

Thanks all for your thoughts.  Ron, can you clear up a couple things for me?  When you say "plump" I'm assuming that you mean to add 1/2" or so to each dimension?  Also, can you tell me what it is to take the pith out in a pallet board?  Much appreciated,

Craig

Offline Ron Wenrich

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Re: a lonely basswood
« Reply #13 on: February 03, 2009, 06:19:09 PM »
To cut plump, just add anywhere from 1/4-1/2".  It allows for shrinkage, and if you want to resaw, you'll have enough wood.

On the carving stock that I have cut, they didn't want any pith.  So, you can't box the heart.  What I have always done is cut my stock to figure out how to take a board from the middle.  If you cut a 8x14, for example, you can pull a 6x8, 1x8, 6x8 from it and have them cut plump and some saw kerf.  Burn the board if you can't sell it since it has no use to carvers.
Never under estimate the power of stupid people in large groups.

Offline park ranger

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Re: a lonely basswood
« Reply #14 on: February 04, 2009, 02:13:53 AM »
I cut some basswood up for a woodcarver once.  He wanted 1" thick with one straight and one wild side.  He gave me some wood and I later carved on it and it does cut real nice, a smooth shiny cut. 

Offline Mike_Barcaskey

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Re: a lonely basswood
« Reply #15 on: February 04, 2009, 07:05:38 AM »
basswood is preferred by trappers to make fur stretchers.
they buy it cut to dimension, kiln dried and they finish it off. usually someone in the area is doing it as part of a business and may make several hundered a year.
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Offline woodtroll

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Re: a lonely basswood
« Reply #16 on: February 05, 2009, 05:53:09 PM »
As a carver, large clear blocks are nice.  Then charge a premium for the big blocks. End seal them, put them in a dry place and forget them for a while.

Offline 9shooter

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Re: a lonely basswood
« Reply #17 on: March 04, 2009, 11:34:43 PM »
I know a boat builder who likes basswood. He told me it was 10% heavier than cedar and twice as strong.
Earth First! We'll log the other planet's later!

Offline SwampDonkey

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Re: a lonely basswood
« Reply #18 on: March 05, 2009, 05:54:19 AM »
Basswood won't last long out in the elements. Basswood is stiffer, but no better in bending strength, hardness or shock resistance compared to northern white cedar.
No amount of belief makes something a fact. James Randi

1 Thessalonians 5:21

Offline YellowDog

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Re: a lonely basswood
« Reply #19 on: March 08, 2009, 03:48:21 PM »
I have a sawing custermer that every winter before he goes to Florida has me saw up a traler load of Basswood that he sales  at carving clubs down there for $7 to $10 dallers a board foot wet.

Offline SW_IOWA_SAWYER

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Re: a lonely basswood
« Reply #20 on: March 11, 2009, 12:39:29 PM »

I am a woodcarver and also cut basswood up for other folks. I not sure if you can believe what you have been told. But I will give you my free advise. First basswood is the wood most used by woodcarvers. In order to sell it you need to have a couple of key features, the first it needs to be white or at a minimum a white cream mix. It won't sell if it is stained blue grey etc. The second is it needs to be soft the softer the better. I can usually tell by the weight of the board whether it will be good basswood or not.
Basswood drys almost by itself never had a twisting issue but it will crack along the pith. I always cut out the pith out of all my pieces since they will nut but it with pith in it, it is end grain and checks and is hard to carve. I cut mine and then air dry it and eventually will run in through my solar kiln. Here is the key it needs good air flow otherwise it will stain inside the log and be worthless to a woodcarver (Trust me on that one). The reason is that most woodcarvers thin the paints to almost a stain like thickness and the stains show through. I cut all sizes 4/4 through 16/4 and sometimes thicker. Then if you are going to sell it for a premium which I would say is 4.00 ish a bdft  you need to cut out the defects and surface all four sides. The stuff many people swear by is from a place in Wisc. and they charge more toward 7.00 but it is really primo wood so I would try to shoot for someplace in between if you want to sell it. I sell big cants 4" by 8 or 10 by 8' for less since I don't have to spend time dressing it. You may find carvers to be experts in basswood and all have their ideas on who has the best basswood, but in general a good group of foks but they can be picky on buying basswood.

Good luck
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Offline SwampDonkey

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Re: a lonely basswood
« Reply #21 on: March 11, 2009, 02:51:11 PM »
I know that basswood will even spoil if you leave it sitting on a damp concrete floor like in the shop or barn. It will get that gray stain in it.
No amount of belief makes something a fact. James Randi

1 Thessalonians 5:21

Offline Dieselbreath

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Re: a lonely basswood
« Reply #22 on: April 20, 2009, 06:23:41 PM »
My friend and neighbor is a wood sculptor specializing in automotive art. He occasionally buys whole basswood logs (probably around 8' long) from Iowa and has them shipped to his shop in Oregon. He doesn't like slabs because some of his stuff is pretty good size. Don't know if he would be interested in one from Maine but I will ask him.

Offline okie

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Re: a lonely basswood
« Reply #23 on: April 20, 2009, 06:49:13 PM »
I would check out the e-bay thing. See if anyone is selling carving blanks and what sizes they are selling the most of, then saw to fit that market. You may get a better price that way by expanding your customer base and not depending on two or three local carvers.
Striving to create a self sustaining homestead and lifestyle for my family and myself.

Offline olyman

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Re: a lonely basswood
« Reply #24 on: May 22, 2009, 09:22:25 PM »
for some of us older characters---!!!!! did you know, that all the old circus wagons of a "few" years back, were made of basswood?? i talked to one of the restorers at the milwaukee,wi circus parade. it is held on labor day weekend,by the way. he said basswood carved well for the designs, and it would take bending without cracking or breaking. and i had just cut a real large one down, and turned it to firewood!!!!!!!!!!! sheesh

Offline SwampDonkey

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Re: a lonely basswood
« Reply #25 on: May 23, 2009, 03:52:11 AM »
You could also make rope from the bark if you were so inclined. It has to be pounded I think, to separate the fibres. ;)

Used to hear the natives pound black ash back in the 70's when I was a kid staying at my grandparents beside a reservation. The younger generation don't seem to be taking it up. One problem is there is no longer much local demand for baskets. The farmers are all mechanized, even picking rocks by machine now.
No amount of belief makes something a fact. James Randi

1 Thessalonians 5:21


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