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Norway Spruce -- wood properties and map of Romania


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Before I posted #71 I knew already that I didn't have access to any conifers to cut.  It is a known fact that the spruces and such take longer to dry.  The only reason I can think of off hand about winter time spruce harvesting is at that time of the year it keeps the ticks away from the horses,  or tractors drive better on frozen ground.  I'll have to check websites to really see how it's done.

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Hi David, ...

Sooner or later you'll have to subscribe to the "reed theory" :)

I think Don and I have already addressed that enough in other threads in the past , (also described as the "tubule" theory") , that it's not worth wasting much more time on, unless you can offer some sort of really compelling evidence.

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So you don't believe that material expands when the temerature rises and contracts when it falls?

Please explain further.

Is this supposed to be an argument that when the tree contracts in cold weather, the reduced volume pushes moisture into the roots?

If so, hello, the moisture contracts with reduced temperature too. If this is in any way mysterious, take a look at what happens to the liquid in a thermometer. It contracts with reduced temperature.

 

Until water freezes, at which point it expands. But when the liquid is frozen, it doesn't move around in the tree so well. ;)

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A point I made earlier that I'd like to go back to is that a small proportion of spruce that I have bought over the years has leaked a sweat of resin beads as it dried in storage. What is going on there and is it an indication of when it was cut?

A sweat of resin beads is a good way to put it, that is exactly what it does.

The wood I have cut in late summer has done this, profusely.

The wood  still can be fantastic.

I always heat my wood a bit after it's dried for a few years and then I can see little bits of sap liquefying in spots,,,or nothing at all.

It is a fool proof way to check wood for sap.

A warning though,, don't excessively heat greenish wood, the internal pressure from the heat cannot escape and it can develop micro cracks, or just flat out explode.

Slow and low for awhile if it is necessary.

 

The dead standing trees from beetle kill that I have seen, have been clean, no sap sweating as it dries,

I would imagine that everything is used up as the tree is dying, with beetle kill it is as if the whole tree has been ringed.

I personally find that the dead standing wood is the best, and I would always prefer it.

 

The winter blow over with green needles still on the tree has had no sap sweating either.

 

If you get a green tree with tight bark and there are a few beetles(larvae) in it, as soon as it is cut they will dive into the heartwood for some reason and quickly destroy the wood.

If it is hi graded on the spot the damage will be light, just barely in the sapwood,

if you take it home and deal with it later the damage is always much worse, some how they know the tree is now dead and they devour it fast.

That doesn't happen on dead stands unless it is old and useless anyway,most often the damage is confined to the sapwood only, and no sap.

At times I've had so much green I couldn't deal with it immediately, so standing it on the end  keeps it the longest as it will drain,

but the bark has to come off immediately  to inspect for insect damage.

 

Just how it is.

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Please explain further.

Is this supposed to be an argument that when the tree contracts in cold weather, the reduced volume pushes moisture into the roots?

If so, hello, the moisture contracts with reduced temperature too. If this is in any way mysterious, take a look at what happens to the liquid in a thermometer. It contracts with reduced temperature.

 

Until water freezes, at which point it expands. But when the liquid is frozen, it doesn't move around in the tree so well. ;)

No explanation will satisfy you as it seems you blindly follow "the science".  In any case I don't think you would understand the driving force of life.

The simple explanation is that trees adapt to their environments. If you sit on on a molehill near a tree and contemplate how many small branches  and leaves it has. The falling temperature makes the small branches and pine needles to contract first and drive the sap and extractive towards the thicker branches, trunk and down to the roots, ( the reverse happens when the temperature warms) you may begin to wonder at the complexity of life!

Another wellknown fact is that many trees have antifreeze in the sap!

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 No explanation will satisfy you as it seems you blindly follow "the science"....

.....Another wellknown fact is that many trees have antifreeze in the sap!

Does thermal expansion and contraction of water (or other liquids) cease with with the addition of antifreeze? I know it doesn't in my car! It's pretty easy to check by looking at the level in the expansion or "overflow" reservoir at different temperatures.

But this is probably just further proof of my being "blinded with science". ;)

 

However, I find that preferable to being blind to science. :)

 

If you sit on a molehill near a tree, you may well understand the driving force of life but you will also have mud on your arse ...

Worse yet, you could end up with a mole up.......... :o

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A point I made earlier that I'd like to go back to is that a small proportion of spruce that I have bought over the years has leaked a sweat of resin beads as it dried in storage. What is going on there and is it an indication of when it was cut?

Melvin, I don't have the answer, but here's a bit of what I've gleaned from various sources (and it could be wrong, I don't recall reading anything  yet that I thought was really solid and definitive on that).

 

The nourishing sap in pine or fir trees is high in carbohydrates (like most plants), and is different from the resinous compound or pitch, which seems to be produced by the tree for a different purpose, that of protecting the tree. For instance, it is supposed to be a natural insecticide and mold inhibitor. So my speculation about wood of the same species, which contains an unusually high amount of this resin, would be that it has been stressed in some way, perhaps by some form of insect or other biological attack, or perhaps it grew in a different region. Again, this is just speculation.

 

One source which suggests this:

http://northernwoodlands.org/articles/article/blisters

 

If anyone comes across something more solid, more along the lines of a research paper, please share that,

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If anyone comes across something more solid, more along the lines of a research paper, please share that,

Nope,

nothing as solid as a research paper here,,

 

just 1000's of hours behind a chain saw hauling tons out of the forest.

 

One time for a good tree had to carry out green half rounds for 1/2 mile one way crossing on single logs over streams up and down steep terrain.

 

I left all the papers in the forest.

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Hello. Several years ago (mid 90's) I was at a jam session and one of the guitar players was constantly wiping his hands on a rag. I didn't know him. Turns out he was a logger. You could see the sap stains on his hands. In the course of conversation he said it didn't happen in the winter. I had a guitar playing friend who happened to be getting a PHD in forestry. I told him about it and he said "There is no evidence for that." Go figure.

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Can you refer me to technical studies showing this change in distribution?

 

If not, I suppose I can call the Department of Forestry at Michigan State University next week, and see what they have to say about it.

I did call the Michigan State University Department of Forestry today, and had a conversation with someone named Bert Cregg, a professor of tree physiology. There are lots of other professors in that department, specializing in things like "forest ecology", "forest entomology", "forest management"  etc., but I thought the tree physiology guy might make the most sense to hit on first.

 

He said that sap and nutrient content could move around between the tree and the roots a little bit during different seasons, also depending on other conditions, but that the movement is rather trivial, can't be directly correlated to the time of year, and concentrations basically stay about the same during the different seasons.

 

When I asked him about conifers, he said that nutritive sap and water, and the pitch (rosin, turpentine etc) are basically two separate systems, using different wood cells, and serving different functions. The pitch is stored in separate dedicated compartments or cells, and is mostly a defense mechanism and a preservative, and not a part of the nourishment of the tree. I should add though that he said it's hard to consider any biological function of a tree as being totally separate and discreet from another.

 

On the oozing of various substances from cut wood:

He thought that would mostly be a function of temperature, partly from temperature affecting the viscosity of the fluid (higher temperatures would make it thinner and cause it to flow more easily), and partly from variations in temperature changing internal pressure of the wood. Warm the wood, and the fluid excretes.

 

When I asked about a scenario as proposed by Melvin, where some cut spruce leaked resin much more than other samples (I also added a caveat that the wood was the same species, and had been harvested from the same place), he said that he couldn't exactly answer that, without doing some more research, to go beyond what he had said in the last paragraph.

 

Most of this is remembered from the conversation a couple of hours ago, assisted by some frantic notes I took during the conversation, so I won't claim that I got everything right.

 

Most of these folks have been so enthusiastic and helpful, when I've contacted them (gawd, how boring can rote teaching be, versus someone who calls you up with challenging applicational questions) that I've never experienced any sense of resentment for bothering them. Kinda like things go on this forum, where many high-level professionals are quite willing to answer questions, to the best of their ability.

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When I asked about a scenario as proposed by Melvin, where some cut spruce leaked resin much more than other samples (I also added a caveat that the wood was the same species, and had been harvested from the same place), he said that he couldn't exactly answer that, without doing some more research, to go beyond what he had said in the last paragraph.

Sometimes there are small faults in the spruce and small splits and hollows fill with resin. It happens often and probably every maker finds it in some tops. (there is one in the messiah top) When temperature is high either in the store room or outside the resin comes to the surface in small beeds.

Apart from that spruce from some locations contain resin that bleed out in hot weather.

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Not that it matters, but it is well known that, in at least some species such as hard maples, winter (dormant) sap is much different than growing sap. Maple syrup is made from only dormant sap. As soon as the trees start to come out of dormancy the sap is unsuitable for syrup, as every syrup maker knows from experience. Shortly after that the flow from the taps diminishes dramatically. Admittedly, some or all of that change may be because of bacterial growth in the holes, but I think if you drill a new hole then, it will not flow. I don't know whether similar changes occur in other species.

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Not that it matters, but it is well known that, in at least some species such as hard maples, winter (dormant) sap is much different than growing sap. Maple syrup is made from only dormant sap.

The dormant winter sap (from what I've been able to determine so far) would have the highest sugar content, accumulated from the growing season. Quite different from the depleted stuff that remains after the spring growth surge.

Which might suggest, if one wants to harvest wood with the lowest sap weight, solids content and concentration, this might best be done in the late spring/early summer.

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I did call the Michigan State University Department of Forestry today, and had a conversation with someone named Bert Cregg, a professor of tree physiology. There are lots of other professors in that department, specializing in things like "forest ecology", "forest entomology", "forest management"  etc., but I thought the tree physiology guy might make the most sense to hit on first.

 

He said that sap and nutrient content could move around between the tree and the roots a little bit during different seasons, also depending on other conditions, but that the movement is rather trivial, can't be directly correlated to the time of year, and concentrations basically stay about the same during the different seasons.

 

When I asked him about conifers, he said that nutritive sap and water, and the pitch (rosin, turpentine etc) are basically two separate systems, using different wood cells, and serving different functions. The pitch is stored in separate dedicated compartments or cells, and is mostly a defense mechanism and a preservative, and not a part of the nourishment of the tree. I should add though that he said it's hard to consider any biological function of a tree as being totally separate and discreet from another.

 

On the oozing of various substances from cut wood:

He thought that would mostly be a function of temperature, partly from temperature affecting the viscosity of the fluid (higher temperatures would make it thinner and cause it to flow more easily), and partly from variations in temperature changing internal pressure of the wood. Warm the wood, and the fluid excretes.

 

When I asked about a scenario as proposed by Melvin, where some cut spruce leaked resin much more than other samples (I also added a caveat that the wood was the same species, and had been harvested from the same place), he said that he couldn't exactly answer that, without doing some more research, to go beyond what he had said in the last paragraph.

 

Most of this is remembered from the conversation a couple of hours ago, assisted by some frantic notes I took during the conversation, so I won't claim that I got everything right.

 

Most of these folks have been so enthusiastic and helpful, when I've contacted them (gawd, how boring can rote teaching be, versus someone who calls you up with challenging applicational questions) that I've never experienced any sense of resentment for bothering them. Kinda like things go on this forum, where many high-level professionals are quite willing to answer questions, to the best of their ability.

 

So for one or two here who think they may have learned everything there is to know about wood, from spending some time cutting wood in the forest (obviously, I have spent some time doing that too, which left me with much remaining to learn), what is it that you would like to say about the science of wood, actual measurements etc., versus your impressions?

 

I can understand if some people are a little too lazy to do their homework, but I also have the opinion that those who choose that path, are seldom among those who rise to the top of our trade

Well done David!  Having a conversation with experts in the field is a lot different then just thinking about what makes sense.  I have no doubt about others anecdotal evidence.  What was experienced happened, fact.  Why something happens is a different story.  If chains saws don't get clogged up in the winter maybe the wood is drier (hypothesis), or maybe the fluids are much more viscous (also a hypothesis).  The second hypothesis reminds me of trying to change the oil in my car outside in the winter.   :(   Come on, everybody tried that once right?  I'm only using Evan's story as an example not picking on Evan.  I am a scientist.  What is really fun, for me, is when my research surprises me.  Afterward I can make a reasoned guess on why a process worked the way it did (hypothesis), but I do not know why until I test that process in a scientifically defensible and reproducible manner.

 

Cheers,

Jim

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Well done David!  Having a conversation with experts in the field is a lot different then just thinking about what makes sense.  I have no doubt about others anecdotal evidence.  What was experienced happened, fact.  Why something happens is a different story.  If chains saws don't get clogged up in the winter maybe the wood is drier (hypothesis), or maybe the fluids are much more viscous (also a hypothesis).  The second hypothesis reminds me of trying to change the oil in my car outside in the winter.   :(   Come on, everybody tried that once right?  I'm only using Evan's story as an example not picking on Evan.  I am a scientist.  What is really fun, for me, is when my research surprises me.  Afterward I can make a reasoned guess on why a process worked the way it did (hypothesis), but I do not know why until I test that process in a scientifically defensible and reproducible manner.

 

Cheers,

Jim

Hi Jim,

 

I must be dense,

I see no connection between what I said,

and my "story" that you used for an example.

 

Would you try again, I can be rather thick.

 

Thanks Evan

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So for one or two here who think they may have learned everything there is to know about wood, from spending some time cutting wood in the forest (obviously, I have spent some time doing that too, which left me with much remaining to learn), what is it that you would like to say about the science of wood, actual measurements etc., versus your impressions?

 

I can understand if some people are a little too lazy to do their homework, but I also have the opinion that those who choose that path, are seldom among those who rise to the top of our trade

 

I can only assume that you are talking to me.

I find this statement rather bizarre,,

 

"So for one or two here who think they may have learned everything there is to know about wood"

 

How do you possibly make that determination?

I don't knowingly feel this way.

I am always open to new information at any level and at any time.

All I have before me is my life experience, including all sources of information that surround me, which largely includes human beings, including,,

You and everyone else that ever gets on here and has something to say. Including Lyndon, who was the fat ugly kid with zits who wasn't so dumb after all,,

that everyone had to pick on,,,

I have always reserved the right to change my mind at any time, I have hardly ever believed that I know anything.

I have always been that way from my youth, nothing that you or anyone else can think or say will ever make it any different.

How am I supposed to tell anyone what I've experienced without telling the experience,, only to be accused of motives and attitudes that I know nothing about.

 

I am sorry that you feel the need to shame me in public by accusing me of being a know it all and trying to paint that picture of me for all to see.

I am truly sorry that I forced you into the position of having to reveal my arrogant prideful nature in public.

 

I suppose that having nothing to say is the only cure for that.

 

I go and repent in sackcloth and ashes.

 

Thank you David.

 

Evan

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