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Help save my crotch! (photo heavy)

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Wouldchuk

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...sorry couldn't resist it...! :wink:

An acquaintence of my father's dropped off a large section of English Walnut some years ago, dumping it in our field for 'safe keeping'. This must have been more than 6 years ago - before I had any interest in woodworking and as a result I didnt think of it again until a few months ago when I found it in the hedge and asked my dad what it was - it pretty swiftly got whisked into the barn when he told me!! :D

The sad thing is that it is a huge crotch and it has suffered as a result - see here:



This has been sat in the field, uncovered, on the ground for at least 6 years, probably more. As a result, it has suffered a fair bit - no bark, large amounts of rot in the sap wood and the pith was rotten too - but I thought, seeing as I had the chainsaw out, I should see what could be done to salvage it. First, i took a slice of about two inches off to see what it was like in the core:



i could poke a stick about 6inches up that hole (said the Vicar to the showgirl...).



So i then took off another chunk - this time moree like 10inches:



So this seemed to have very nearly got past the hole, but as you can see there is still some dry, powdery wood in there, but all around it was solid.

The piece I'd chopped off was still bloody heavy so i didnt think it could be that rotten - now, I have no idea whether this was the right thing to do but I chopped that ring down the middle, trying to cut through the rot in the centre. And ended up with a couple of sections like this:



And feeling as if i didnt really have anything to lose with those sections, I ran one of them through the bandsaw - followed some deep crack that had formed from the original sawn face, and ended up with a pretty solid lump of timber - this isnt a very good picture as i took it under flouro lights and only after realised that I had the camera on the wrong setting, so the colour is wrong - but all in all, it seems to be a good solid, unrotten piece - very dark brown.




So - that was pleasing, in that i am thinking that I'll probably be able to turn something out of the bits i manage to salvage just from that ring I'd cut off.

But - what is the best thing to do with the crotch?? I didnt take a picture, but the two thinner trunks (the legs if it were the other way up!) also have some long rot in the piths, running down in towards the main section.

What would be the best way to salvage as much useable timber from this rather fortunate find?? Do you think it would be possible to get some slabs/planks out of it - I'd love to be able to get something more than just chunks to turn - maybe I could get some sections which I could then re-saw on the bandsaw (i've access to a Scheppach Basato 4) into planks?

If you had this piece of wood, with the described rot evidence - and an 18inch bar on the saw - how would you suggest I get the best out of it?



Any suggestions on which cut to make next - i was tempted to just run the saw straight up the main pith-line, splitting it in two. Is that bad idea?
 

woodbloke

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Had that piece of walnut been properly seasoned and converted at the time, it would be worth a kings ransom now, simply because of the figuring at the crotch. I think that now all you're going to get out of it is enough to make small trinket boxes...what a waste :( - Rob
 

Wouldchuk

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I know, I know! If only I had been aware of this back when it was dumped - the guy who came by it is a bit of a local odd-jobber, spends a lot of time in the pub and has a rather relaxed attitude to life in general! He's long since forgotten about it.

Indeed - a crying shame... which is why i'm keen to try and save what I can.

Any further suggestions on how to proceed?
 

woodbloke

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It looks like it's cracked all the way through with the centre almost rotted out. I'd look at it very carefully and try to see where the worst of the damage has occurred and then chain saw it, if possible (taking all necessary elf n'safety precautions) down the grain. It's going to be very hit and miss and liable to be extremely disappointing but if you can salvage anything, the most valuable timber is in the crotch area...be very careful how you cut it though - Rob
 

Richard T

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It might not be so bad in the crotch itself - the rot that has happened in the centre(s) may have by passed it.

Looks like you might get quite a few usable bits as long as you think small though - knobs, saw handles etc. Well worth trying IMO.
 
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