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Tonewood Question


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I have a farm with several nice maples on it. When I get a chance I'll do alittle research and determine which species they are. Most are 18 to 26 inches in diameter and twenty foot long (the log sections that is). If they are Red maple or other suitable species, I plan to harvest at least one or two from the 18 acre woodlot. My question is if they could be cut now? Of course fall, when the saps coming down would probably be better. And, how should the logs be handled once they are on the ground? Some of the european sites show how they handle the process, however, I wonder if I could cut the logs into shorter sections and after letting the air or season a bit, then split or quarter the logs. Does anyone know how they coat the sections with perafin and how long they stay coated? Any replys are appreciated.


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I am not an expert in this area, but I am happy to pass along what I have heard on the subject.

Trees intended for tonewood are usually cut during the winter. I have been told by people who do this for a living that maple needs to be attended to quickly once it is cut. It is attacked by fungus quite quickly, and to allow this to happen would ruin otherwise good wood. In dealing with the milling of wood, is seems that the most important element is planning and timing. You should have your procedure down and plenty of time to execute your plans and plenty of space to store and dry your stock.

So, if you don't have a proper mill, you could cut the log into sections with a chainsaw as long as your billets would eventually be, then spit/cut them into quartered wedges. I have found the acrylic outdoor paint is a more reliable end-grain sealer than parafin which tends to fall off as soon as it is on.

I suggest you contact Bruce Harvey at Orcus island tonewoods and get some real advice.

Also, make sure the trees are worth cutting in the first place. Is there curl (pull away some bark and look for undulations)? Is it a species that will be suitable for instrument making? Red maple is good, but the majority of it tends to be contaminated with those horrible little brown poop lines from nasty bugs. Good luck.

[This message has been edited by Kelvin Scott (edited 04-13-2001).]

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