I’ve recently been given some oak logs as a result of a “neighbour’s, (100 miles away!), tree surgery.
The surgery was necessary because it was too big, and also it is suffering from some kind of fungus. (The whole tree will be coming down eventually, but they are doing it gradually because of possible drainage issues)…
You can see in the picture what they look like end on… very dark in the centre.
I have also ripped a short piece down the middle and you can see the darkness takes up the whole centre section.
My questions are;
Is this darkness due to whatever the fungus problem is?
Will will wood be any good to use in projects?
If it is ok to use I’ll convert it into planks and allow it to dry… But while drying, if I store these in my loft, (which is the only practical place I have for it!), is there any possibility of the fungus doing harm to my loft timbers?
Thanks in advance for any insight!
The upper two logs and the one at front appear to be rather prominent reaction/compression wood, and so, I think, does the split piece (sapstain?). That would mean:
tension with warping that can easily go on long after you have dimensioned any boards
there’s likely to be problems with rising grain
flatsawn pieces will result in tangentially cut growth rings, which can present really difficult to plane heartwood[/ul]
the hooked parts should not be used (recommendation from local timber yard’s purchase head)
A bit speculative: I think that the greyish-brown heartwood is likely to be caused by extractives, indicating silicates, and not fungal infection.
Somewhat less speculative: Your logs seem to come from boughs. They may be infested with moulds or stains, but probably not in decay. So there might be discolouration but no rot.
Fungi don’t thrive at wood moisture levels <20% (R Bruce Hoadley: Understanding Wood), which should prevent infestion of your loft timbers.
If your loft has the space, why not saw the logs into boards, dry them, and find out if the wood is workable? The figure looks to be quite beautiful.
London, UK; Boston, MA
- This reply was modified 10 months, 1 week ago by Sven-Olof Jansson.
- This reply was modified 10 months, 1 week ago by Sven-Olof Jansson. Reason: Text formatting not working as I expected
Imagine that trunk-logs with hooks like yours, most commonly stem (sorry) from trees growing on slopes (please see photo). Lawns can of course do, but if this one doesn’t, then I think boughs might be a tenable alternative. Whichever, the wood doesn’t look like there’s any decay of significance. I suppose there are always fungal spores on all wood outdoors, but as long as the wood is not permanently moist there will be no infestation (no other explanation to why our croft is still standing).
London, UK; Boston, MA
Some repeat of other responses included here:
o dark wood is heartwood
o if heartwood is noticeably softer than sapwood, that may indicate “heart rot”, which is caused by fungus
o minerals distributed by sap can color the heartwood – I occasionally find spectacular examples of “rainbow poplar”
o I don’t recognize the type of oak – willow oak?
The biggest logs could be quarter sawn this will give the most stable wood for furniture or other fine things that will have the least amount of movement in the different seasons.
The smaller logs could be flat sawn or what ever your sawyer recommends for the type of wood.
Wood air dries 1 inch a year so a two inch board will require a minimum of two years before use.
It will require stickers between each layer to allow maximum air around each board. This link may help you get ready to work with your wood.
Very satisfying making things from the wood you have taken care to work from the log to table or chair so to speak.
It might be a black oak or some other variation hard to tell with out the leaf or the smell of the sawdust. But not all of same trees smell the same either.
One tree cut up buy a ceptic field discharge smelled like the wastewater. Not pleasant in the least.
Good luck to your endeavors the results will be a treat to your soul.
Another idea would be to cut slabs out of the center 3 inches about, looking like live edge tables could be made from that tree if it is big enough.
If to wide then cut the center out and put back together give the right width for the table.
Looks like you have time to get ready for drying if you so choose so research pick your projects and plan for the sawyer make your stickers and have fun.
Unfortunately these are not large… they are all approx 5 or 6 inches in diameter.
I was thinking to use them mostly for boxes, aprons or drawer fronts, and perhaps legs, rather than table tops… Though I don’t rule that out if the contents prove suitable!
On species of the logs:
“… the tree in front, is lime” makes me think you are in UK, Matt, and then logs should come from European Oak (Quercus robur/petraea). As a cultivated tree, they could of course be most any other species, except red oak and, hopefully, southern live oak.
London, UK; Boston, MA
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