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tan oaks

 
gary gregory
Posts: 395
Location: northern california, 50 miles inland from Mendocino, zone 7
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We have a hillside that was burned in a bad fire in the early 80's.    The tan oaks have grown back thick covering the north slope for 2 acres so thick that light doesn't penetrate.  The stumps have sent up multiple trees, 6 to 10 per, all about 12 to 20' tall.  Hundreds of saplings 3 to 6" in diameter.  Any ideas what to do with them?  I read that tan oak doesn't make good firewood as the tannins in the bark make a terrible smoke.  I'm thinking rustic furniture, but that market might not be very good in this economy.  Any ideas would be appreciated.
 
                        
Posts: 278
Location: Iowa, border of regions 5 and 6
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gary gregory wrote:
We have a hillside that was burned in a bad fire in the early 80's.    The tan oaks have grown back thick covering the north slope for 2 acres so thick that light doesn't penetrate.   The stumps have sent up multiple trees, 6 to 10 per, all about 12 to 20' tall.   Hundreds of saplings 3 to 6" in diameter.   Any ideas what to do with them?   I read that tan oak doesn't make good firewood as the tannins in the bark make a terrible smoke.   I'm thinking rustic furniture, but that market might not be very good in this economy.   Any ideas would be appreciated.


Well, you know what they say about furniture: if you build it, they will come.  They might not buy, but they will come, and then look to see if they can buy it cheaper on the internet, or maybe at IKEA.

Maybe if you strip the bark off it would make better firewood.  Or, given the size of the saplings, you could make a good, old-fashioned pole fence (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roundpole_fence -- click on the picture for a close-up). 

You could put something together like this guy ( http://www.shedworking.co.uk/2008/03/swedish-shed-on-stilts.html ) who is obviously channeling his inner Baba Yaga.

And, if push comes to shove, you can put up some "No Trespassing" signs, dig a trench around your land, pound the poles made from the saplings into the side of the trench facing outwards, and give the exposed ends a few whacks with the hatchet to sharpen them.  That should get the message across to most trespassers and will help defend your home from attacks by mounted cavalry (which may once again be an issue if the economy keeps going downhill...)
 
                          
Posts: 211
Location: Northern California
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Talk to some leather tanners and find out if any of them are doing natural bark-tanning. They might need a source of tanoak chips.
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