Free Wood #1: ...and a sore back!

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Blog entry by Tony posted 05-01-2009 05:03 PM 1083 reads 0 times favorited 5 comments Add to Favorites Watch
no previous part Part 1 of Free Wood series Part 2: A rainy morning and a gold mine... »

Wednesday evening, I noticed several Boxelder trees next to our church parking lot had been cut down. The yard just happens to belong to a fellow church member, so I gave him a call to see what his plans were for the wood. I know some people look on Boxelder as a “weed” tree, but I like to experiment, and I’ve had some success in drying rounds cut from smaller Boxelder trees. It turns out the trees were just going to be hauled away, and he said I was welcome to as much wood as I wanted. This is what it looked like when I arrived:



Much of what was there was too big for my puny 16” chainsaw, But I did cut quite a few rounds and ovals for drying. My wife just rolled her eyes when she saw I had stuck a large oval in the freezer. Here’s my haul for the day:


While I was there, I cut up a bunch I didn’t keep, and hauled away a load for disposal. Sort of my repayment for the free wood. The leftovers went to the church farm for firewood.

Speaking of the farm, last fall I came across a huge three-forked Black Cherry that had been blasted by lightning, apparently decades ago. I don’t know how long it takes Cherry to rot, but the parts of the tree in contact with the ground were rotted badly, and I was able to easily snap a 3” diameter branch bare handed. However, the larger parts of the trunk that were elevated were still very wet in the middle. The 8’ standing portion of the tree was still alive, and had new branches growing from it. I don’t have any way to mill wood, but I couldn’t let the wood lay, so I cut some pieces and hauled them away to my shed. I sealed the end grain with latex paint, but have still had some checking over the past 6 months. Since I had the chain saw out yesterday, I took the largest piece and cut it into rounds for making clocks and plaques. I also sliced a smaller log into a rough blank for carving a walking stick. Here’s my Cherry work from last night. You can see the charring from the lightning strike:


I’ve been using Johnson’s Paste Wax to seal the end grain of my drying pieces, but my 20 year old can was used up about 2/3 of the way through sealing yesterday’s work. Fortunately, it is rainy here today, so I’ll swing by Ye Olde hardware store on the way home for another can of wax and finish the job when I get home.

I started yesterday’s endeavor about 3:30 pm, and finished about 10:00 pm. By the time I had taken a shower and hit the sack, I was already sore. I could barely move this morning! I guess I’m turning soft as I get older.

5 comments so far

View PurpLev's profile


8551 posts in 4158 days

#1 posted 05-01-2009 05:45 PM

Score!.... who cares about a sore back aye?

I like the idea of using different types of wood, not only the “common” variety

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

View mmh's profile


3679 posts in 4232 days

#2 posted 05-02-2009 12:32 AM

Black cherry crotchwood! Oooooh! Good thing I don’t live nearby.

-- "They who dream by day are cognizant of many things which escape those who dream only by night." ~ Edgar Allan Poe

View Chris's profile


339 posts in 3867 days

#3 posted 05-02-2009 01:27 AM

I hope the back feels better, but I’m still pretty envious. Nice catch!

-- Chris

View Karson's profile


35201 posts in 4910 days

#4 posted 05-02-2009 01:47 AM

Congratulations on the haul.

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Appomattox Virginia [email protected]

View Tony's profile


56 posts in 3865 days

#5 posted 05-02-2009 05:46 AM

The back is still a little sore, but not nearly as bad as this morning.

I kept the Cherry and larger Boxelder pieces under my covered deck, but when I got home today, I noticed several of the Cherry pieces had already developed tiny checks at the pith – not even 24 hours after cutting them. Recalling something I read, I drilled 3/4” holes through the pith of the Cherry and larger Boxelder rounds, then finished waxing all of the pieces. They are now all over my covered deck. I need to get one of those wire rack shelves to neatly store my drying pieces. I noticed a large Beech round I had cut last fall was already badly checked, even though I waxed both sides. I hadn’t drilled out the pith on that one.

Ah, the trials and tribulations of tinkering.


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