What to do with these big Sycamore trees? - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
 
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post #1 of 12 Old 02-06-2010, 08:58 PM Thread Starter
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What to do with these big Sycamore trees?

Ok i am new to cutting timber etc so bear with me. I have a tract of land here in middle ga that has a head of Sycamore trees. Very big mature sycamore trees. Last year i cut one down about as big around and my thigh and cut up in logs to use for turkey calls. Ive got my eye one a few of the bigger trees now.

What are some good uses of sycamore? cutting boards? tables? flooring?

If i were to cut one of these trees down what lengths should i cut them into to make them most manageable for the majority of projects and for the sawmill.

Lastly, as you can see in one of the pictures. I cut down one of the trees last year and the inside was hollow at the base. Im guessing this is a disease. Is it because the land they are growing on is relatively wet? (its really wet in the picture because we have alot of rain this winter, alot more than usual) but it is usually fairly damp back there. In the first picture look in the background. YOu can see about half of the sycamores. They go down a good bit further too. Picture 2 and 3 are the same tree. I could not get my arms around the base of the tree and im 6"3. I had a range finder with me and i measured just about every tree right at 90-105 ft tall.

Any other information yal would like to give id love to hear it.







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post #2 of 12 Old 02-06-2010, 09:32 PM
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bnew, welcome aboard.

Those sycs you have are just babies. You asked what to do with them . . . let them grow.

Don't quote me on this but, I believe syc is considered to be the largest growing hardwood on the north american continent. Remember the syqouyahs or however you spell it, they are softwoods.

But as far as syc's go yours are just pups. You can't even hardly qtr. saw them because they are too small to make the effort worth it. Plain sawn syc is B - O - R - I - N - G but quartersawn is dynamite. General rul eis that 16" is the minimum to quarter saw but I don't usually mess with them unless they are 20" and then they better be damn straight. That's one thing yours have going for them. they are damn straight, but let them grow for another 20 years.

20 years is not a long time. Just ask Woody.
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post #3 of 12 Old 02-06-2010, 09:52 PM Thread Starter
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bnew, welcome aboard.

Those sycs you have are just babies. You asked what to do with them . . . let them grow.

Don't quote me on this but, I believe syc is considered to be the largest growing hardwood on the north american continent. Remember the syqouyahs or however you spell it, they are softwoods.

But as far as syc's go yours are just pups. You can't even hardly qtr. saw them because they are too small to make the effort worth it. Plain sawn syc is B - O - R - I - N - G but quartersawn is dynamite. General rul eis that 16" is the minimum to quarter saw but I don't usually mess with them unless they are 20" and then they better be damn straight. That's one thing yours have going for them. they are damn straight, but let them grow for another 20 years.

20 years is not a long time. Just ask Woody.
Wow, i never thought those things would be considered small but your the expert not me! what about that picture with the rotted inside?

The trees are actually on my aunts land. If she decided she was gonna cut the timber at some point out there i may would have to go ahead and take them down or the timber ppl would probably get them.

Thanks !
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post #4 of 12 Old 02-06-2010, 10:43 PM
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Plain sawn sycamore also moves quite a bit after it is in use. I have a small box with a plain sawn sycamore lid that tells me the weather. Opens by itself the wetter it gets outside and closes when the heater runs a lot.

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post #5 of 12 Old 02-06-2010, 11:01 PM
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Wow, i never thought those things would be considered small but your the expert not me!
This is how they grow in my neck of the woods... big enough to 1/4 saw.

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post #6 of 12 Old 02-06-2010, 11:04 PM
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I read some time ago that sycamores get so big that there were recorded cases of pioneers cutting down hollow ones about chest high and using the base as a cattle pen. I thought the guy that wrote that was nuttier than a fruitcake, but a little more research seemed indicate that it was my incredulity that was off base, not the original report I read.

When I was a kid there were several out in front of my house in a traffic circle and they were all at least as thick as I was tall (I was about 5, however tall that is).

There's a pic on my web site of one that is 4 1/2 feet thick and has the most AMAZING red color, which I understand fades really quickly.

So, yeah, they get big. I was quite startled when you said you had some big ones and then showed a pic of these tiny little scrawny things.

I have no idea how fast they grow but if TT says leave'm for 20 years I don't doubt him.

He's also right about flat cut syc being pretty much useless. QS stuff is gorgeous (or at least it can be). I'm not sure you're going to find it worth your while if you have to take them down soon.

Anyway, good luck with how ever it works out.

Paul

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post #7 of 12 Old 02-06-2010, 11:06 PM
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Now those are a couple of nice ones, right there

And the logs are nice also. bill
TT you yakin' about me in the post above re 20 yrs?

The answer to your question will only be as detailed and specific as the question is detailed and specific. Good questions also include a sketch or a photo that illustrates your issue. (:< D)
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post #8 of 12 Old 02-07-2010, 10:24 AM
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Yeah I was picking on you Woody, I gonna lay off a while though and be nice.

Paul I just used 20 years loosely, I really don't have an idea how big they would be in 20 years, I just kind of figured that the size they are now, combined with a couple decades would get them in the 20" range, but just shootin from the hip really.

Not trying to engage in fish stories, one of the adjoining tracts of land on the backside of us there is a conglomeration of three sycamores and one osage all growing out of the same big mound atop the intertwined root balls. I'm sure it ain't so, but this wooden mound appears to have fused together including the osage. Paul this is in your area of expertise - I have no idea if an osage can fuse with a sycamore, can that happen? The osage appears to be growing out of this common wooden mound. Don't sound right though.

The largest of the sycs is around 5' across. I haven't had a look at it in a couple of years. I've told Daren about it and he said "what's the big deal it's a big sycamore, so what". I think it'd have to be about 7' or better to impress him. Anyhow the tops are all tangled together and no way am I gonna drop it. I have started to a couple of times but each time I set my saw down and begin to assess how to drop the smallest one and still get away, the hair on the back of my neck stands up and the Grim Reaper is suddenly standing in front of me with a smirk as if to say "Kevin. It's a great idea. The wood is gorgeous. It's not hollow inside. Just think of the 10' wide 20' long book matched table sitting in your great room."

Any time old man reaper says to do this, then you better not do it. So I just pick up my saw, take a few steps before turning to him and say . . . "Alright, you cut it down. Call me when your done."
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post #9 of 12 Old 02-07-2010, 10:46 AM
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Originally Posted by TexasTimbers View Post
The largest of the sycs is around 5' across. I haven't had a look at it in a couple of years. I've told Daren about it and he said "what's the big deal it's a big sycamore, so what".

Anyhow the tops are all tangled together .

the Grim Reaper is suddenly standing in front of me with a smirk
I know we have talked about it a few times...and you are itching to get it...I have just acted like that because from your description here and our phone conversations...I am afraid it might get you. It just doesn't sound like there is any place to run and you would get splattered.
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post #10 of 12 Old 02-07-2010, 10:59 AM
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I have some picture of me milling decent sized sycamore...someplace I found these pics here on this forum. It musta not been too big because it fit on the mill without being cut in 1/4 first, I guess it was 36" or so...it was the 3rd (4th ?) log up the tree that was 4 1/2' to 5' diameter chest high.



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post #11 of 12 Old 02-08-2010, 10:29 AM
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I gave my dad a syc sapling for fathers day when I was 1. The tree was planted right smack dab in the middle of the front yard. The tree got hit by lightning when I was 25. The rest of it had to come down and it was probably about 50' tall and 24.5" at the butt end of the log. I guess those guys grow pretty quick.

Jack
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post #12 of 12 Old 03-08-2010, 07:55 AM
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"I read some time ago that sycamores get so big that there were recorded cases of pioneers cutting down hollow ones about chest high and using the base as a cattle pen. I thought the guy that wrote that was nuttier than a fruitcake, but a little more research seemed indicate that it was my incredulity that was off base, not the original report I read."


I know of one in central ohio that was turned into an outhouse.

Joe
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