Spiraled Elm - Is it even remotely stable?

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Forum topic by Jeff_in_LSMO posted 02-21-2017 08:24 PM 1691 views 0 times favorited 4 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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353 posts in 2850 days

02-21-2017 08:24 PM

Topic tags/keywords: elm twist twisted spiral slab

So my father-in-law pulled aside a large elm log from a job site and asked if I wanted to mill it up. It wasn’t necessarily the most beautiful log, and I could see a fairly severe twist/spiral from some of the exposed wood, but I thought it would be an interesting experiment.

I went about making some slabs. Immediately I started having problems as the slabs pulled on the saw. The wood was gorgeous, however, so I kept going. Several slabs later, I stacked them in the loft in the barn. I was crossing my fingers that the loft wouldn’t get too hot and there wasn’t too much stress in the boards, but, I was wrong. A good experiment it was.

Several of the slabs twisted or cupped quite a bit and / or had major checks. Two of them almost completely shattered.

Not being one to just throw it all out, can any of it be salvaged?

If I planed them down flat (flatter is more realistic), would they be remotely stable?

What if I cut them into small pieces, would I just have problem after problem.?

Should I just turn them into abstract art?

4 replies so far

View chrisstef's profile


17960 posts in 3516 days

#1 posted 02-21-2017 09:37 PM

Do you have any idea as to what the current moisture content is? I would venture to guess that once its hit 7-10% it might be done moving around, until you mill it that is. Id give it a shot and see what happens.

-- Its not a crack, its a casting imperfection.

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353 posts in 2850 days

#2 posted 02-21-2017 10:15 PM

around 14-15% right now. what about seasonal movement? on spiral grain is there a rule of thumb or something i could use? basically, i don’t want to go through the trouble of turning them into something if that something is all askew in a season.

i moved it to my basement, which is actually pretty well controlled for humidity. i’ll give them another couple months and then clean them up a bit, then let them sit some more and see what happens. I should turn this into a blog post / experiment.

View Lazyman's profile (online now)


3975 posts in 1897 days

#3 posted 02-21-2017 11:13 PM

I would love to see some pictures of the grain.

-- Nathan, TX -- Hire the lazy man. He may not do as much work but that's because he will find a better way.

View Monte Pittman's profile

Monte Pittman

30441 posts in 2848 days

#4 posted 02-21-2017 11:27 PM

I use a lot of elm. I love it and have had good results.

-- Nature created it, I just assemble it.

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