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Beech Wood

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Bob1

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I've acquired some Beech wood (big branches) from some trees that have been felled. Measuring about 4ft long and at least 6inches in diameter.
Will I need to dry these out before I can cut them up for use, anyone any ideas?
 

lurker

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Split them in half ASAP

A few homemade wooden wedges and a big hammer is all you need
 
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Well firstly, what will you be using the timber for? for turning? for general joinery?

Splitting it seems a bit risky to me.
I think I'd run them through the bandsaw leaving enough thickness for movement as it dries, assuming you have one.
 

Random Orbital Bob

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What they said and you need to be thinking in terms of 1 year of drying per inch of thickness plus a year....that's air drying in stick. They don't dry quickly I'm afraid!!
 

Sgian Dubh

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Limb wood is very unlikely to be useful as a furniture or joinery wood, i.e., boarded up, stickered and dried: limb wood is generally full of stress (reaction wood) and liable to distortion, even at the conversion phase. These are small parts anyway, and because of that, unlikely to yield any really usable boards. But you may well find uses for it to carve or turn on the lathe. In that case, deciding whether or not to dry it depends what effect you're after. Wet wood carves and turns significantly easier than dry wood, and the distortion, cracking etc, that occurs after either process can be used to aesthetic advantage. On the other hand, you might split the limbs into halves or quarters as others have suggested, let the stuff dry somewhat, and then sculpt or turn it. Slainte.
 

ED65

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If you too buy old chisels or files at car boots just one branch that size might yield stock for a good 30-40 chisel or file handles.

Reaction wood doesn't matter much in such short, fat pieces so it's an ideal use for branch wood. And split or sawn into suitable blanks it'll dry fast too. But if you're patient you'll lose fewer pieces to cracking, coat the end grain in melted wax and let the drying happen slowly.
 

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