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Elm trees

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  • Elm trees

    Three or four years ago some friends had their elm trees cut down. They gave some of the stumps and other pieces to me. Up until a few weeks ago I didn't know what to do with them. It turns out that one my new coworkers knew exactly what to do with them. Her boyfriends parents have two different sized saw mills. They cut most of the stumps into rounds and some into boards for me. They also cut a cedar stump I had into rounds. The smaller saw mill is only about a 20 minute drive from me. Some of the other stumps they took to Rapid City so his parents could cut those on the bigger sawmill for me. To me this was above and beyond since it's a 3 hour drive to Rapid. I've only been working there for a few months. She also told me that the parents left a lot of milled boards at their old farm. I have permission to go out and dig thru them and take what I want free of charge.

    So now my question. Would a FD #5 UR cut thru the elm well enough or do I need a Polar blade. It looks like the boards are between 1/2 to 3/4 inch thick. I've also noted that some of the boards are not easy to sand. Is this common for elm? I'm using a 100 grit to start out with, then 60, then 150. The elm rounds do not have many cracks running towards the center. I think they call it checking. The cedar rounds do have some serious checking. I'm still working on the best way to fill in the cracks.

    When the trees were first cut down I was told the guy doing it would cut them in thinner rounds.His version of thinner rounds was two to three inches thick. I thought about clocks of some sort but I don't have a forstner bit that big yet. If I recall right the bit needs to be 3" in diameter to hold a quartz time piece.


  • #2
    Lots of questions here. If you are sanding end grain on the slices that will take time and a lot of effort. start with the 60 and work your way up.
    a #5 on 1/2 to 3/4 should be fine.
    Regarding the clock, you can use a hole saw to cut the perimeter and if you are not going all the way through remove the rest with a router or even a chisel. If you are going all the way through then use the hole saw from both sides. A 3" forstner bit will give you the cleanest hole. Just make sure to run it very slow. this chart only goes to 2"
    RBI G4 Hawk, Delta SS350, Nova 1624 DVR XP
    Philosophy "I don't know that I can't, therefore I can"
    Proud Member of the Long Island Woodworkers Club
    And the Long Island Scrollsaw Association


    • #3
      Elm has always been my favourite wood - but having said that I've found it best used in projects that can show off its very unique grain (both the planed surface and the end grain). It has a couple characteristics that can make it a little challenging and frustrating at times - most notable is that it has a tough and stringy grain - which can make it miserable to sand and machine. I did try to use it with some fretwork patterns a couple times - and don't any more - it takes the curse of the fuzzies to a whole different level. When machining it is good to make sure your tools are sharp - a dull router bit will encourage some serious tear-out and a dull (or the wrong) blade on your table saw or chop saw will make for some painful sanding time to prepare the end grain for a nice finish. Like any wood - you are gonna want to make sure it is dry - but with Elm you will really pay a price if it is not.

      Hears a couple pictures of projects I have used Elm on that turned out quite well.




      • #4
        Thanks for the answers. I started sanding on the end grains last night and yes it's going to take a while to sand it smooth. But I'll keep at it.



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