I have some Douglas Fir logs

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  • #135667
    George Fulford
    Participant

    A friend of mine gave me some douglas fir logs from a tree that blew over in his yard. I would love to use them to make stuff, but not sure on the best way to do this. These logs are still very sappy.

    Should I…

    A) Strip the bark or no?
    Seal the ends with candle wax?

    B) Air dry them in my shop? I know it will take quite a while to do this. I’ve read that it’s about a year for every inch of thickness. And also, stack it where it can get adequate ventilation in a dry place where it won’t get wet.

    C) Look for someone with a kiln to speed the drying along? I’ve heard some will do it for a fee, but I haven’t yet looked into it.

    Any other tips would be greatly appreciated

    P.S. Are there any good uses for those branches I cut off besides starting fires? Most are less than 1/2″ diameter.

    Sappy-Pine-Logs

    Sappy-Pine-Logs-2

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    #135671
    maryp
    Participant

    Hi George,
    I was reading somewhere(can’t remember where or what type of wood)that advised to leave bark on and paint the ends with paint to help prevent cracking. Suppose you could wax, whatever is to hand, and your points under B. This is what we are doing with a gum tree that we cut down recently as it was too near the house. We have it leaning against a wall in the garage.
    Mary
    The branches: whittle into letter opener knife, small spoons, cut into smallish cross sections and affix to some support wood around a mirror or clock to make a rustic frame.

    • This reply was modified 6 years, 8 months ago by maryp.
    #135672
    Mooncabbage
    Member

    Unfortunately those logs are quite small in diameter, so most of the wood is bark, sapwood, or pith. That said, there is nothing stopping you from splitting the logs, cutting them to shortish lengths, painting the ends with some leftover paint or mistints, and then in a year or so, you could have some nice wood for carving spoons and the like.

    I wouldn’t pay to have it kiln dried though, there just isn’t enough good wood to warrant the expense.

    #135722
    George Fulford
    Participant

    @Maryp – I love the idea of a letter opener knife! Thanks πŸ™‚



    @mooncabbage
    – I know there’s not a lot of lumber there, but I wasn’t planning on using it to build furniture. I was hoping to make a custom walking stick/shillelagh out of the medium sized log. The big one I had plans of cutting roughly 8″-12″ lengths and making small treasure-chest-type boxes with them. I tried it once before years ago with some oak logs I had. It didn’t turn out too well then because I didn’t have the proper tools at all. I’d like to give it another go now that I’m a bit more “seasoned” and have a better arsenal. πŸ™‚

    #135736
    chemical_cake
    Participant

    Are you sure that’s Douglas Fir? Looks more like Leyland Cypress to me.

    If the logs are eventually to become boards, no matter how small, it wants to be rough sawn/split as soon as possible to avoid the sort of unpredictable radial splitting you get with whole logs. This has the added advantage of helping it dry quicker. Waxed/painted end grain is a must, in my limited experience bark can be left on or not.

    If you don’t already have one, Aldi – new-found mecca for all things woodworking – does a very reasonably-priced moisture metre if you can get hold of it.

    Matt

    Southampton, UK

    #135741
    George Fulford
    Participant

    I’m positive it’s not Leyland cypress. From what I just read, leyland cypress does not produce a strong aroma nor does it produce sap. These that I have REEK of “pine” scent and have sap oozing out the ends and sides.

    “The most popular Christmas tree in the South-East, the Leyland Cypress is dark green – gray in color and has very little aroma. Because it is not in the Pine or Fir family, it does not produce sap, so that those with an allergy to sap can still enjoy a Leyland as their Christmas Tree.” – National Christmas Tree Association (realchristmastrees.org)

    I’m not going to get boards from them. I’m going to whittle away the medium log until I get a kick-ass walking stick out of it πŸ™‚ The other ones, I’m not sure the plans on them yet, but they definitely don’t involve making them into boards. πŸ™‚

    Thanks for the recommendation on Aldi. I’ll have to check them out. πŸ™‚

    #135757
    chemical_cake
    Participant

    I don’t know what that page is on about, the Leyland Cypress I know is very smelly and produces irritating sap – if you ever cut down a hedge of it you’ll come away covered in red bumps and scratches.

    I must have misunderstood what you meant when you said “treasure-chest-type boxes”, I’d be intrigued to know what these are.

    Matt

    Southampton, UK

    #135769
    George Fulford
    Participant

    I don’t know, man. It’s the internet, what can I say? πŸ™‚ After looking at the pics, I couldn’t tell them apart at all just by looking. I’ve seen these all around my area and was always told they were Doug. firs.

    Here’s a quick sketch to show my idea for the boxes.

    Attachments:
    #135773
    chemical_cake
    Participant

    The foliage is what makes me think it’s LC, DF foliage has individual needles sticking out from a woody stalk whereas LC is more frondy. I guess it doesn’t really matter, you’ll use it whatever it is and not be any poorer for it.

    Oh I see, the treasure box is a whole log that’s split and dug out. Ingenious! And a great idea to do it with such a pungent wood, so you’ll get a whoosh of super-frangranced air every time you open it.

    At one time I had a load of Lebanon Cedar waste and was going to try extracting the oil using steam distillation. The equipment can be bought for a reasonable price, or it’s simple enough to bodge together if you want. Unfortunately I went the latter route and never quite finished, maybe it’s something you could try with the foliage and chippings. I’d guess it’d be more of a novelty, not sure if you could sell it, but I liked the idea of making my woodworking waste work for me several times.

    Matt

    Southampton, UK

    • This reply was modified 6 years, 8 months ago by chemical_cake.
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