Drying ironwood (Ostrya virginiana) - Router Forums
 
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post #1 of 10 (permalink) Old 09-28-2012, 10:49 AM Thread Starter
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Default Drying ironwood (Ostrya virginiana)

There are two good sized ironwood (Ostrya virginiana) trees on my cottage property that have been blown over (almost parallel to the ground) but are still living ish. I'm considering harvesting one or both of them for project wood - it's incredibly hard/strong wood, and you can't get it commercially.

I doubt I'll be able to get a sawyer to cut it up for me (it's too small an amount and I imagine most sawyers don't want this stuff dulling their blades), so my plan is to put a wax based sealer on the log ends (from Lee Valley), remove the bark and store the logs in the cottage to dry. Or perhaps under, where it's relatively dry and gets good airflow.

Just wondering if anyone had any good tips for drying this kind of wood. The logs are about 6" to 8" across and probably 20 feet long.

Also, anyone want an ironwood blank?
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post #2 of 10 (permalink) Old 09-28-2012, 12:12 PM
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Rob...

due to its density, Ironwood can and usually does take a little longer to dry. The ole rule of thumb is 1 year per inch... you can expect to stretch that out a bit. Get yourself or gain access to a good moisture meter. Keep the air flow to a maximum as much as possible and rotate your stack every 4 months or so. Waxing the ends, even the cut board ends is always a good idea. Placing the wood under material that would act as something of a greenhouse is a good idea, again, keeping air flow at a premium.

You might consider offering to buy a local sawyer a new blade as part of the cutting price. Depending on the saw he/she is using, this might not be such a bad deal in the end. I have never been to a mill where they were not at least willing to deal a little..might even pay for itself, considering the time spent and the amount of material you might save (possible a full board per tree)...

HTH

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post #3 of 10 (permalink) Old 09-28-2012, 02:23 PM Thread Starter
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Heh, I wasn't planning on having it cut into boards. I'm not going to do it myself.

Perhaps I'll try to ask around for the local sawyers, to be honest I don't know any small time sawyers in the area, but I should look around.

It's truly stubborn stuff, I love trying to break a small stick of it, it's amazing how much of a fight it puts up. I think I'll mostly be using it for tool handles and perhaps a loft ladder.

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Rob...

due to its density, Ironwood can and usually does take a little longer to dry. The ole rule of thumb is 1 year per inch... you can expect to stretch that out a bit. Get yourself or gain access to a good moisture meter. Keep the air flow to a maximum as much as possible and rotate your stack every 4 months or so. Waxing the ends, even the cut board ends is always a good idea. Placing the wood under material that would act as something of a greenhouse is a good idea, again, keeping air flow at a premium.

You might consider offering to buy a local sawyer a new blade as part of the cutting price. Depending on the saw he/she is using, this might not be such a bad deal in the end. I have never been to a mill where they were not at least willing to deal a little..might even pay for itself, considering the time spent and the amount of material you might save (possible a full board per tree)...

HTH
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post #4 of 10 (permalink) Old 09-28-2012, 03:30 PM
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No matter what your usage you probably better off in board form of some kind. I don’t know exactly where in Canada you are but from the picture I’m thinking Not southern ONT. Or the prairies. Check around your city / district for anyone advertising portable saw mills, there are generally a few who pull their saws around and will cut up whole stands of trees for farmers or private woodlot owners who want to build themselves a new house or cottage etc. portable saw mills are just oversized band saws with wheels and a trailer hitch. If you have to risk replacing the blade it would be cheaper and faster than the setup at a fixed sawmill. The saw also shows up at you driveway as opposed to you transporting the log(s) and the resulting lumber. you could then space and pile the lumber under the house for faster drying.
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post #5 of 10 (permalink) Old 09-28-2012, 04:37 PM Thread Starter
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Hey gwizz, I'm in Ottawa, Ontario. I'll take a look around, see what I can find...
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post #6 of 10 (permalink) Old 09-28-2012, 10:55 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TwoSkies57 View Post
Rob...

due to its density, Ironwood can and usually does take a little longer to dry. The ole rule of thumb is 1 year per inch... you can expect to stretch that out a bit. Get yourself or gain access to a good moisture meter. Keep the air flow to a maximum as much as possible and rotate your stack every 4 months or so. Waxing the ends, even the cut board ends is always a good idea. Placing the wood under material that would act as something of a greenhouse is a good idea, again, keeping air flow at a premium.

You might consider offering to buy a local sawyer a new blade as part of the cutting price. Depending on the saw he/she is using, this might not be such a bad deal in the end. I have never been to a mill where they were not at least willing to deal a little..might even pay for itself, considering the time spent and the amount of material you might save (possible a full board per tree)...

HTH
I took a look... found this: Ironwood, kiln dried lumber 3 months. Air dried lumber 4 years.

Wow. That is awhile isn't it.

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post #7 of 10 (permalink) Old 09-28-2012, 11:17 PM
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Rob, if you are going to saw it, I would do it while it is green. It will be harder to saw when it is dry. I remember being introduced to ironwood when I was in my teens on a vacation at Mammoth Caves, Kentucky. We were told that the early pioneers prized it for tool handles as they were almost indestructible. I don't know how good it is for lumber. Some species of wood don't make good lumber. I've found Douglas Maple out in BC that was big enough to make something out of. It makes beautiful spindles on a lathe but absolutely will not make a board. That something it might be worth researching before you decide what to do with it.

Someone I consider a master woodworker once told me that a master woodworker is not someone who never makes mistakes. He is someone who is able to cover them up so that no one can tell.
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post #8 of 10 (permalink) Old 09-29-2012, 07:53 AM
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cut it green savs some pieces for bowl turnings leave the bark on as it makes great natureal edged bowls if you do any turning I live near a turner that would love some . i live in milton Ont good luck Andy
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post #9 of 10 (permalink) Old 09-29-2012, 08:23 AM
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If you make turning blanks, remember to cut out the pith wood. Even hard woods will have different rates of expansion at the pith area. If the log is say 8" diameter, cut a log 2" longer than the diameter, then slice into three pieces lengthwise cutting out the the center slab about 1"-2" wide. Save that quarter sawn center slab for spindles or pen blanks (remember to also lose the center pith there, too). Each partial half log can then be turned green (rough, leave 10% wall thickness ratio to diameter) and wrap with brown paper on outside & weigh it. Go and weigh every couple of weeks, and when it stops losing weight (water) it's ready to finish turn. Leaving the pith in the turning blanks results in massive uncontrolled warpage and cracks. I know this from turn 350 year old Bur Oak that was perfectly round and now looks like a WWII German helmet.

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post #10 of 10 (permalink) Old 09-29-2012, 11:53 AM
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Default Ironwood

I sure can't top the advice everyone has given you......but I love to get a couple of blanks. I make pens for friends and family.
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