Uses for Elm wood? - Router Forums
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post #1 of 28 (permalink) Old 11-11-2013, 11:14 PM Thread Starter
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Default Uses for Elm wood?

Hi everyone. I have been helping my Dad clear some trees on his property over the past couple months. They are Elm trees. As far back as I can remember, he has always called them "piss Elms" because they constantly weep liquid and they absolutely gush water when cut, they are very wet trees. I'm not sure of the actual type or name of these Elms but he asked me if the wood could be used for woodworking in any way? Especially for something like a gun stock or maybe furniture of some type? This has really had me curious. I could get a lot of board feet out of them but I'm sure they'd have to cure for a long time, at least a year I'm sure, before they could be used. They are obviously full of moisture. Does anyone have any experience working with this type wood and any ideas for best uses of it? Special considerations? I may rough cut some boards and hang on to them to see how they turn out. I'd appreciate any tips and info I could get. Thanks again!
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post #2 of 28 (permalink) Old 11-12-2013, 12:32 AM
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Dave, the only thing I know for sure is that red elm is used for bow (recurve, longbow) laminations and if that is true it must be springy.

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 #3 of 28 (permalink) Old 11-12-2013, 02:08 AM
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For what it's worth, my hardwood supplier doesn't carry it, nor Elm plywood either.
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post #4 of 28 (permalink) Old 11-12-2013, 06:13 AM
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If you Google 'elm wood uses' they have some photos of some nice Elm furniture. I have never used it but this page has the description of its charismatics. I would say it is well worth milling.

Elm

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post #5 of 28 (permalink) Old 11-12-2013, 06:36 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Willway View Post
If you Google 'elm wood uses' they have some photos of some nice Elm furniture. I have never used it but this page has the description of its charismatics. I would say it is well worth milling.

Elm
Elm makes good flooring,almost un obtainable now here in the UK owing to Dutch Elm disease losses. But I think 1 year may be very short. I'd say more like 2-3.
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post #6 of 28 (permalink) Old 11-12-2013, 07:43 AM
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i have cut and air dried some of it, it is nice lite brown color, and lot's of splinter's also, so if you use it watch for splinter's, i don't remember how long it was air dried , but i had other hard wood's to use so a long time, it is free why not get it ?

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port st. lucie, florida
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post #7 of 28 (permalink) Old 11-12-2013, 08:46 AM
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My (late) Father-in-law owned and operated a large business that manufactured church furniture. There was nothing that man couldn't make from wood. He was continuously complaining about old woods that are scarcely available: Chestnut and Elm. He dearly loved Elm. I've seen many pieces of furniture he had built from Elm and Chestnut - they were definitely beautiful species!
I remember him saying that nothing beat Elm for the rockers on a rocking chair - and he would often build the whole chair from Elm for a perfect color / grain match. 30 years ago, I had a business called Watertight Foundations. I had 18- full time employees. They were each hand picked and trained by me. Many contractors went to liquor stores to find extra physical help - I went to local weight-lifting gyms! I got some really good help and, of course some duds; once someone was considered "worth keeping" I would pay them for 40 hours per week - even if our workload was slow. We would take-on all kinds of projects for free - just so I could keep my guys busy. We did some wood splitting. We were great at splitting wood! Some of my guys were human forklifts! An old man in my neighborhood came to me with a request for me and my guys to come and split two trees that he had paid someone to drop and cut into firewood lengths. One tree was a Red Oak. With sledges and wedges and "go-devils" (mauls), we had his red oak split and stacked exactly where he wanted it in a brief while. Then we went to the Elm. We stayed with that elm for a very lllllllooooooooonnnnnnnnnnnnggggggggggggg time! That is one of the toughest woods to split that I have ever seen. We have another very common wood here in Georgia called Sweetgum. Sweetgum is also quite difficult to split.

Otis Guillebeau from Auburn, Georgia

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post #8 of 28 (permalink) Old 11-12-2013, 08:54 AM
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If you were ner me my neibour is lookin for all the large logs he canfind as it turns on a lathe to make beautiful bowls and platters . usually lets it spalled he also rough turns green and paints ends to pervent splitting . just sold one for 300.00 Andy
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post #9 of 28 (permalink) Old 11-12-2013, 09:02 AM
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Your right about Sweetgum. It's also worth absolutely nothing except to burn where you drop it. If you burn in your fireplace, you'll gum it up beyond repair. I've got tons of Sweetgum seeds if you'd like to plant some for shade trees, but watch for falling limbs, their everywhere! :0)
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post #10 of 28 (permalink) Old 11-12-2013, 09:13 AM
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I used a lot of elm many years ago when it was plentiful in the stores. Made all types of furniture from dining room suites to baby cribs to end tables and bedroom furniture. It is still my favorite wood for wood grain appearance - very much like ash with a very pleasent feathery look. It is not the easiest wood to work with as it has a tendency to tear out when planing or routing against the grain and is a little more open pored than most hardwoods but gives a terrific hard finished product. It is very difficult to find nowadays so I would try to salvage what you can. I dont know how you plan to dry it but it is also not a straight grained wood and the boards I used were often bent and or twisted so I would also concentrate or keeping the lumber very straight when drying.
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