i want to cut down a few selected tress in the next month to build a round pole timber frame for a cabin. Is it to late in the year to do this as the sap has travelled back up the tree and leaf growth has started again. I intend to work the timber green as this will make it easier to work with and and joints i make will tighten as the timber dries. Any advise would be fantastic!
I think your plan can work fine, provided you see that the joints tighten, rather than loosen, as they dry. I think this has to do with some parts (such as pegs) being already dry and others green, so the green ones tighten around the dry ones. And of course the whole thing kept with its "head and feet" dry. The sap, of course, contains sugars and other nutrients, which can attract insects. One traditional way builders and woodworkers have dealt with this is to cure the logs submerged in water for a while, which leaches away the nutrients but preserves the wood in a "wet" condition making it easier to work and still having the potentially useful quality of shrinking as it dries.
posted 7 years ago
yup dry hardwood dowels will be used.... interesting idea of soaking them in water to leech the nutrients.
The sap will make the bark peel off much easier. I think as long as you remove the bark insects shouldn't be a problem, at least around here. The timbers will stay "green" for a while, depending on how thick they are and the conditions they are stored in. I cut some ash last week and was practically able to remove the bark with my hands, which is quite satisfying.
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I learned a neat trick from Whole Trees in LaCrosse, WI. They'll go out and peel standing trees in the spring and then after tagging and GPS referencing (these steps may not be necessary for an individual) they leave them, standing, until they are needed. I'm not sure how long the trees will stay in condition this way, I'm sure it depends on species and weather but you should be able to get at least a year or two this way. They'll dry slowly over time without as much checking as they would if cut down. I'd recommend doing it this way especially for easy to peel species like elm even if they're only left standing a week or two. It's not easy carrying out slippery sap-drenched timbers, believe me I collected over one hundred for my house project. My only word of caution is to be careful if you don't get them peeled high enough (a ladder or extension for your bark spud is helpful here) because if they dry too much the bark can really get stuck on and hard to peel. Again, I think this depends on the species too. One more thing I remembered; If you want to prevent some of the mildew staining as the wood dries you could try spraying them with a borax solution which is fairly benign I believe but totally unnecessary if you don't mind some extra colors/ spots or doing a little extra work later on. Have fun!
I used to see individual trees like that in the woods around my home town, back when no one would think twice about a kid running around in the woods!
Many years later at a museum exhibit I saw a picture of a bunch of trees that had been pealed by a Union soldier before going off and getting killed, at
a location unknown !
The people in the museum were surprised when I reported seeing peeled bark standing trees in my youth !
We do have an extended family of Farmers who go into the woods just as the hardwood trees are changing from buds to leaves and girdle the trees if the
local Black fly season is early and bad, If Late or tolerable they cut down the trees, leaving them on the ground to dry until late fall before cutting them up !
Hope this was not too far off of topic ! Big Al !
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