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Author Topic: Basswood questions  (Read 1994 times)

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Offline OH Boy

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Basswood questions
« on: December 18, 2013, 08:43:06 PM »
I cut down a Basswood tree this fall and haven't started on it yet and wnat some input on what it's good for, best cuts to try, etc. I have 2 - 8 ft logs @ 20 in. dia and several short logs @ 16 in that have sweep.

would it be best to flat saw boards and use the soft wood for nice white cabinet fronts?
try quartersawing on my small manual mill. from what I'm learning here quartersawing may provide more strength and nicer grain patterns.

The logs with sweep I'm thinking just cut blocks and maybe sell at a flea market to carvers. seems like large, long blocks might be hard to come by.

what are some other uses and cutting ideas for Basswood? I've never really worked with it as a project wood, and the one I cut last year got used making syrup. not a very hot burning wood either.

Offline JB Griffin

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Re: Basswood questions
« Reply #1 on: December 18, 2013, 09:43:14 PM »
I don't know any thing much about basswood only thing I know is a guy I knew used it for chip carving exclusively.
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Offline mesquite buckeye

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Re: Basswood questions
« Reply #2 on: December 18, 2013, 10:09:18 PM »
Good carving wood, good light wood for inlay, used to make shutters because of its easy machinability, used to make architectural models, good for picture frames, they used to use it for general model making, holds paint well.

Bad: easily dented, low strength, sticker stains easily, rots quickly if exposed to moisture.

Split the pith or your blocks will crack.
Manage 80 acre tree farm in central Missouri and Mesquite timber and about a gozillion saguaros in Arizona.

Online ladylake

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Re: Basswood questions
« Reply #3 on: December 19, 2013, 06:15:59 AM »
 I saw a lot with  the clear outside wood used for carving and the dark centers used for wall or cielings which looks way nicer than pine.   Steve
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Online GAB

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Re: Basswood questions
« Reply #4 on: December 19, 2013, 10:38:04 AM »
OH Boy:
30+/- years ago I was told by a county forester that basswood was a good wood to use in building beehives as it did not impart a taste to the honey.  Again this is what I was told - I have not practical experience with beehives.  I carry some basswood stock for wood carvers.  Gerald
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Offline mesquite buckeye

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Re: Basswood questions
« Reply #5 on: December 19, 2013, 10:45:35 AM »
All the hive boxes I've seen are soft pine. I think basswood would work just fine for hive frames though, since basswood doesn't split easily and it's easy to go around the few knots to make the pieces all clear wood because of the small pieces. ;D

Also, inside the hive, rot resistance isn't a big issue. ;D 8) 8) 8) :o :snowball:
Manage 80 acre tree farm in central Missouri and Mesquite timber and about a gozillion saguaros in Arizona.

Offline Jason_AliceMae Farms

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Re: Basswood questions
« Reply #6 on: December 19, 2013, 11:14:11 AM »
When I took a trapper education course this fall I learned that a lot of the fur stretching boards, belly boards, and some fleshing beams are made out of basswood.  Since it has fewer knots there is less of a chance to cut a whole in the fur while cleaning and drying it.  Looking around at a few trapping supply stores online I confirmed that for myself.

If you know of any trappers in your area they may be interested if they make their own stretchers instead of buying them.
Watching over 90 acres of the earth with 50 acres being forest.

Someday I would like to be able to say that I left thes 90 acres healthier than when I started watching over them.

Offline Chuck White

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Re: Basswood questions
« Reply #7 on: December 19, 2013, 11:41:58 AM »
I've sawed Basswood for fur stretchers!

~Chuck~
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Offline sealark37

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Re: Basswood questions
« Reply #8 on: December 19, 2013, 01:53:19 PM »
Quartersawing basswood is pointless.  The grain looks about the same flat sawn or quartered.   Regards, Clark

Offline GeneWengert-WoodDoc

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Re: Basswood questions
« Reply #9 on: December 19, 2013, 02:32:39 PM »
Basswood is indeed the preferred wood for bee hives.

But the #1 use is for Rapala fishing lures...in my mind.
Gene - Author of articles in Sawmill & Woodlot and books: Drying Hardwood Lumber; VA Tech Solar Kiln; Sawing Edging & Trimming Hardwood Lumber. And more

Offline beenthere

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Re: Basswood questions
« Reply #10 on: December 19, 2013, 02:44:37 PM »
Quartersawing basswood is pointless.  The grain looks about the same flat sawn or quartered.   Regards, Clark

Your point well taken.
But not if one is looking for straight-grain wood such as qbilder is when sawing maple for pool ques.
Not so much about the figure of grain, but the improved strength that straight-grain wood gives in a product.
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Offline SwampDonkey

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Re: Basswood questions
« Reply #11 on: December 19, 2013, 06:02:51 PM »
Not knowing anything about building hive boxes, but I do know the honey bees love the blossoms. I have three basswood trees in the yard that flower every July. I've also been infested twice in 5 years with honey bees. Can't for the life of me figure out the source, no one has any within 20 miles of here. One fella sells honey down the road, but it's not his. The source of that honey is 20 miles away. ;D
Move'n on.

Offline OH Boy

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Re: Basswood questions
« Reply #12 on: December 19, 2013, 06:45:09 PM »
Thanks Guys, I need to get into bee keeping anyway to go with syrup making. building hives has been something on my long term list.

So I can see sawing blocks from the sweeping logs, but not sure what Mesquite Buckeye means by split the pith. ??
would it be better to just cut any chunks from outside the pith and eliminate it? I could still get quite a bit of 6 to 8 inch blocks or lengths.

another question that just struck me is will it warp easily in a sticker stack? seems like the light wood may bow easily.

Offline mesquite buckeye

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Re: Basswood questions
« Reply #13 on: December 19, 2013, 06:51:02 PM »
If you cut carving blocks with pith in the middle of them they will split (crack) on at least one side when they dry. If you have a piece with the pith near one edge, generally the split will be at the side closest to the pith. ;D

Basswood is pretty easy to dry without big problems. Your sweepy logs could be an issue if you don't release the stress as you cut the logs.
Manage 80 acre tree farm in central Missouri and Mesquite timber and about a gozillion saguaros in Arizona.

Offline hardtailjohn

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Re: Basswood questions
« Reply #14 on: January 13, 2014, 10:02:14 PM »
My old sleigh books state that Basswood was preferred for the body on a "swell body" cutter. They used a 5/8" x 12 board for the side and back curve. The later bodies were built using basswood that was "peeled" from the log, as in a lathe type machine. It must be fairly easy to bend? I have 2 of these cutters in my shop, and will be starting on one soon, hence the research. Most of the swell body cutters I've found haven't made the journey over the years, unlike most of the "portland" style cutters... I would imagine testament to the issues of durability of the basswood?  I'm not sure just what I'm going to use to rebuild them, as basswood isn't available out here in MT... I'm imaging it will be some form of mahogany plywood.
John
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