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Tom King

Sweet Gum for Windsor chair blanks???

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Previously, my favorite thing about Sweetgum, was when I found out about Arsenal, so finally something that would kill it.  

Anyway, on one of the old house properties I look after, there are two HUGE Sweet Gum trees that need to come down.  They're big enough, that if they aren't hollow inside-which I've never seen in SG,  there could be Many quarter sawn seat blanks cut out of these trees.  They're well over 4' in diameter, and high enough to the first branches that the saw logs should be pretty good.

The owners are going to pay someone to cut them, and dispose of them, but I'm wondering if they are worth any effort, at all, on my part to try to do something with them.  One of the things on my to-do list is to build a run of at least 20 Windsor chairs, but there is no rush on that.

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I know how Sweet Gum goes crazy when flat sawn, but I've never seen any quarter sawn.  Windsor chairs are painted anyway, so it doesn't really matter what the wood looks like.  The blanks could be cut, or split, oversized, ends painted, and left to air dry for several years.  Around here, the only thing I know that's made from it is pallets.

Does anyone have any experience with it at all, other than what you've heard?  I've never even considered doing anything with it before, but it would please all involved if these trees were put to good use.

The last timber we had thinned, the good stuff brought $15.50 a ton, and Sweet Gum brought a dollar a ton.  No one even wants to burn it as firewood.

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IIRC the heartwood of sweetgum is quite pretty looking in my opinion. The downside to the wood is that it is kinda soft like poplar or a good SYP.

If you can get it dry i think the wood is a good choice. It looks like it responds well to steam bending from my research and another upside is it's lightweight.

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Some quick searching on the web I was surprised to find out that the strength of sweet gun is comparable to cherry. Thought it was softer like Nut had mentioned. 

It has favorable characteristics to steam bending and can be a pretty wood. I would say if you have the time and energy it is a wood that could work for you if, and it's a big if, you can get flat stable stock out of the logs. I assume quartersawing will help but it still moves a lot.

Here's a nice link from a wood guru, Gene Wengert, he actually comments that it is one of his favorite species that is overlooked as a premium and relatively strong wood.

https://www.woodworkingnetwork.com/wood/wood-explorer/sweetgum

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3 hours ago, Tom King said:

 No one even wants to burn it as firewood.

Probably because it doesn't split for love or money. Even on a hydraulic splitter, I've seen it just sort of mash apart. Forget about using an axe...

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