newbie questions, found wood and branches

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Forum topic by RaggedKerf posted 08-05-2012 09:26 PM 2480 views 0 times favorited 20 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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425 posts in 3171 days

08-05-2012 09:26 PM

Topic tags/keywords: question

Hi all, I’ve been reading a while now and after countless fruitless searches and read through the entire forum until myeyes feellike falling out, I still can’t find the answers I need. I figure that could mean my questions are just silly or I haven’t hit on the right search string yet. So here goes… We mo

-- Steve

20 replies so far

View HerbC's profile


1820 posts in 3909 days

#1 posted 08-05-2012 09:30 PM

Steve, try again…

BTW, Welcome to LumberJocks!


-- Herb, Florida - Here's why I close most messages with "Be Careful!"

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile


20607 posts in 4726 days

#2 posted 08-05-2012 09:39 PM

The search engine leaves a bit to be desired IMO. What are the questions?

-- Bob in WW ~ "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

View Monte Pittman's profile

Monte Pittman

30609 posts in 3388 days

#3 posted 08-05-2012 09:48 PM

Welcome to LJ’s. We’ll answer anything we can.

-- Nature created it, I just assemble it.

View David Kirtley's profile

David Kirtley

1286 posts in 4048 days

#4 posted 08-06-2012 12:49 AM

If the local search fails you, go to and add to the search query and it will get a bit easier to find stuff.

-- Woodworking shouldn't cost a fortune:

View RaggedKerf's profile


425 posts in 3171 days

#5 posted 08-06-2012 03:26 AM

Haha, okay, let me try this again, sorry guys. I guess I can’t trust using my tablet to post a question while watching the kiddos. Okay, here we go again. We moved into our House on the Hill a month ago. The property is line on three sides by trees overlooking a valley filled with crops (kind of hard to see through the trees but you can hear a tractor every now and then). East and west are pines of various sizes and species. The north border is all hardwood. I’ve been able to ID two massive oaks that anchor the line, with a smattering of much younger ones along it. In the middle is a big black walnut and a handful of younger ones around it as well. Then there’s just a bunch of trees I can’t ID yet. By the biggest trees, there’s a a few branches (nothing more than say 4” in diameter) on the ground from previous storms (or…?). Also, there is what appears to be a pretty big tree (I don’t know what kind it was, but what bark is left looks like it could be an oak or maybe a walnut, but more likely an oak) in pieces along the tree line. It’s got that weathered grey, been there for years look. Each piece is probably 18” to 24” in diameter. For background, we are the second owners, and the house was built in 1995 (and they used all oak trim and solid oak doors throughout and took GREAT care of it…!), so I have no idea how old the trees are (the oaks are probably 70 feet tall, the Walnut maybe 60-65 feet tall). Now, the questions (I hope you’re still with me!): (1) is there anything at all that can be done with the wood on the ground (the mystery tree)...other than firewood (there is a convenient fire-pit right there within 30 feet of the tree line…). And (2) what is the generally accepted rule for how thick a branch (or trunk) should be before it’s “usable” for something? 4”? 6”? The reason I ask is because I’m planning on building my first real workbench in the next month or so and (inspired by Chris Schwarz’s workbench book) I’d like to try my hand at drawboring, and having some nice plugs for mounting hardware holes. I was thinking that since the top will be SYP or something similar, I’d try for a different species for the pins for contrast. I also thought, upon seeing my newly acquired trees, that it would be awesome to incorporate them into the mix somehow. Of course, since then I have come to understand a lot more about drying wood before using it…but…does that apply to dowels/pins/plugs as well or mostly to structural things like tenons and stretchers, etc.? Okay, so that was three questions…

Thanks for your patience and for the warm welcome already! Hopefully this post will make it.

-- Steve

View Newage Neanderthal's profile

Newage Neanderthal

190 posts in 3600 days

#6 posted 08-06-2012 09:38 AM

Don’t use the branch wood, at all, no matter the size. It has more dense fiber structure on the top side, which mean it will forever be reactionary.
Now someone may tell you that is all melo, they use branches, hell, they might use nothing but branches. But the truth is, branches or leaning trees are made for a fire pit, you may get lucky with one or two pieces, but it isn’t worth the effort.

-- . @NANeanderthal on twitter

View bondogaposis's profile


5972 posts in 3401 days

#7 posted 08-06-2012 10:00 AM

If you make your plugs from green/wet wood they will shrink upon drying like any other wood and then be loose in their holes.

-- Bondo Gaposis

View RaggedKerf's profile


425 posts in 3171 days

#8 posted 08-06-2012 12:15 PM

Aha! Thanks guys that’s exactly what I was looking for. My gut was telling me the same thing but I haven’t seen anything that specifically says so. Looks like we’ve got plenty of firewood. Just to get an axe now (more tools!)...

-- Steve

View tyskkvinna's profile


1310 posts in 4036 days

#9 posted 08-06-2012 01:13 PM

Now that is not to say you can’t DRY the wood pretty easily… :) Especially if the pieces are fairly small to start with.

-- Lis - Michigan - -

View CharlieM1958's profile


16292 posts in 5269 days

#10 posted 08-06-2012 01:21 PM

Branch wood isn’t good for nothing…. if you ever get a lathe and get into turning, you can do some interesting things. But don’t try to build a work bench with it.

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

View waho6o9's profile


9015 posts in 3627 days

#11 posted 08-06-2012 02:05 PM

Welcome to LumberJocks Steve.
Looking forward to your work bench in the project’s thread.

View RaggedKerf's profile


425 posts in 3171 days

#12 posted 08-06-2012 06:43 PM

Wow thanks for the encouragement everyone! Makes me feel right at home already. I think what I will do is just play with what I’ve got and see what I come up with. If nothing else, it’s scrap wood I can practice on!

@ Rick: thanks for the links and inspiration, fantastic stuff there

-- Steve

View AJM's profile


86 posts in 3170 days

#13 posted 08-06-2012 06:57 PM

Joining in on the brach conversation..
What about band saw boxes?
I have some… curly Birch branches.. can these be used to make band saw boxes?

-- Englishman in Finland I am guessing that i am Finglish.

View Doss's profile


779 posts in 3315 days

#14 posted 08-06-2012 08:32 PM

Worst case is you cut it and try to do something with it and it turns into firewood. At that point, at least you tried.

I generally don’t mess with logs if they are smaller than 20” diameter… that’s just me though.

-- "Well, at least we can still use it as firewood... maybe." - Doss

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile


20607 posts in 4726 days

#15 posted 08-06-2012 09:53 PM

You can be sure it will split through the pith. What every you do, take your wood from either side.

-- Bob in WW ~ "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

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