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Curly Curly

6384 Views 41 Replies 9 Participants Last post by  JON BELL
If the term curly refers to the stripes then what do you call the grain.Aren't they both grain.
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Daren-That's just mean buddy, tortuous for those poor guys.

JP, where have you been brother? I thought you fell off the map. But I should have know, someone uses the words curly and birdseye in the same sentence your funky wood alarm goes off :laughing:. I have been doing pretty good with burls here lately myself. Did you see this picture ? A redbud I could not get my arms around (I am 6'3")...the "tree" was 12" maybe, the rest was just burl on top of burl :eek:. And I have been picking up a few at a time from the firewood cutters, they just cut them off and dump them in the yard.


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Yeah, I apologize for being in the mist lately. I've been pulling late nights trying to get everything up and running. I was to the point that the shop was full of dried stuff, both kiln chambers were full and I have probably 15,000bdft of different interesting hardwood logs to get to. I finally got the shop wired, insulated and just got the dust collection system running for the planer. I'll get some pics tonight. I just got done a pile of hardwood flooring to go to my buddy for T&G and relief cuts. The whole project really took a lot more time and effort than I had anticipated but I guess that's par for the course. I'm excited at the possiblities, I've gotten some inquiries about the operation and what I can have in stock by some local guys that are real into this kind of stuff. I haven't turned the corner in this yet but I can see it coming...

Offer to help the guy sell the figured walnut for a portion of the profit. At least that way you know the wood is going to good use. Of course, if he's a jerk you're still helping him out, but you're also helping you out.

I'd love to get some highly figured walnut. It's one of my favorite woods. I made a table from quilted maple and wish it were a darker color, although I really love the blond wood next to the rest of my dark furniture. Contrast works sometimes.
Of course, if he's a jerk you're still helping him out, but you're also helping you out.
You would have to know this guy, he is a jerk, and not even a smart one. I have had dealings with him before. I was told he was a real oddball before I ever met him, but his money was green. I did offer to help him sell it, no commission ...he said no, he would just keep it. I had 10 guys who would have bought it in a heartbeat, they all saw it and tried to buy it and I said it was not mine to sell. (it laid on a pallet in my shop for 3+ weeks, right in my way, before he would come get it after I called him and said it was dry. And he lives 1 1/2 miles away. Are you getting the picture?)

I will even tell more of the story. This guy cost me logs too. The day he brought the log in his neighbor came with him. I spent some time showing them around. The neighbor was an old dude, like 90, seemed like a nice feller. He said he had 3-4 walnuts down he had pushed up behind the barn I could just have. They had been down a couple years (which does not scare me abit) just come out with a trailer and he would load me up with his tractor.

So fast forward a few days. I had not got out to pick up the free logs, I had been busy sawing and figured they were not going anywhere. I cut into the curly log and stopped on the first cut and called the guy. He wanted it all sawn 4/4, but since it was curly I thought maybe he would want to do something different. He said "What is curly?" I explained, he still did not get it. I told him it was worth 3+ times as much as plain walnut. He said 4/4 was fine, so I went out and sawed it up. I get in the house for lunch and there is a message from the old neighbor, he wanted to talk to me. I did not call him back right then.

I am back out milling in the afternoon and the old dude pulls up. He says "You know I have been thinking, I will just hang on to those logs, don't bother coming out" :censored:. He had talked to the jerk and he was bragging about having a small fortune growing in his yard, so the neighbor thought for sure he did too...I bet there ain't another walnut like that for 100 miles, let alone across the road from the first one :no:.

90 years old and the logs have already laid for a couple years, what does "Hang on to them" mean? His neighbor talked him out of giving them to me...and I was nothing but nice to both of them.
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Curly curly

Sometimes you just can't win for losing. Oh well, you try to do the right thing.

Ok Daren, here's the pics:

I still have work to do on the shop, plywood on the walls etc. The slide saw table still needs to be leveled and shimmed but the planer system works great. What an awesome machine, 70's vintage powermatic 18 inch planer with the quiet cutterhead. It weighs about 1400 lbs. The edger is powermatic too, runs great. I threw in a couple pics of flooring and some spalted maple, birdseye and butternut.


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JP, looking good feller. Real good.

BTW, you can send me that wood with all those ugly black lines in it if you get tired of looking at that horrible stuff.
Isn't that stuff terrible?, even more so with the tiger curl....
Looks like you have been busy JP, and it looks like you still have plenty to do. I reckon I can see why you are limited on forum time. You still have time to saw up those old rotten logs though I see ;). I just pulled some spalted curly red oak out of the pile I forgot about until this morning, its almost as ugly as that maple :huh:.
I just can't resist those old logs. Some are like sponge and I end up throwing them into the outdoor furnace but some really are amazing. I've got 3 coming in this weekend that I think are holding some potential. Just ran into a cool deal a few weeks ago. Another logger called me and was cutting in central vermont and came across a series of trees that he couldn't identify. After mulling it over, one of his guys that runs the skidder came up and said "wow, I haven't seen chestnut in years". Sure enough, it was american chestnut. I didn't think there was any left. There wasn't even a listing on the log yard list for it so they sold it to me with a pile of cherry for the same price. It looks sweet cut, very much like the look of cherry. A white sapwood with a rich dark brown heart, not quite as dark as walnut.
Back again.Ok, so let me see if I got this straight.The curl is caused by the end grain poking through the face grain.Wow.That looks so obvious now I can't believe I didn't see it before.That's why the curls soak up more stain,because they're endgrain.click.So to answer my question;The squiggly lines are reffered to as grain.But eventhough the curls are grain,they aren't reffered to as grain but as curl.Hope that's right.By the way,what causes the end grain to poke through?
.By the way,what causes the end grain to poke through?
It is a deformity. If I could draw you a picture I would. A tree grows in rings around itself in a layer underneath the bark. Only that part of the tree is growing. Usually in a straight and symmetric way, up and out. The curly pattern occurs because of an irregular stem growth. This causes tensions in the zone between the wood and the bark (the cambium). The same thing can happen underneath a heavy limb for example, its called compression curl. I see alot of curl at the bottom (right on the ground) due to compression.

If you split the "grain" of curly wood..it is squiggly because the grain is not straight it is "curly".

I am not going to split a curly log to illustrate a point. But I did take a picture of a piece of wood with compression curl. maybe you can see the difference in straight grain and curly grain this way. This was a leaning tree, that caused the curly. Where it was not compressed it is straight grained and the wood split in straight splinters.

A whole curly log would look like the little bit on the corner of this piece.


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Here is a piece of split quilted maple. I think you can figure out now if it were sawn flat it would have end grain, straight grain and the transition between the 2.


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I have more questions,but I have to go.Thank you soooo much.This is where my main intrest lies and you're helping alot.:thumbsup: :thumbsup: :thumbsup: :thumbsup: :thumbsup:
Oh my god!Maybe I don't have to go:no:
Daren, you have to decide what piece of wood I have that you can't live without because i am DYING to have a piece of maple like that. Do you realize my hands have never even touched a piece of wood anywhere even close to that!

Put your thinking cap on feller I am will to make sure you get the long end of the stick if you can find me a piece like that.
if you can find me a piece like that.
I may already have. I looked at one yesterday. Just the base of the tree, the homeowners could not cut it and called me, they cut and hauled the limbs off already. I saw birdeye, curl and about 2 1/2' of solid fused crotch (the tree just went up and split into 2 limbs) it is over 3 feet across and about 7 feet tall. Once it dries up, or freezes and I can get the skidsteer in there me and the old Jonsered are going to have at her. It's too muddy right now, I would trash the yard, that kinda slows the free log calls when word of that gets around :huh:
This may be the single funkiest thing I have found yet...or could be a chainsaw chain, bandmill blade ruining nail infested thing that is hollow inside :laughing:. I am hoping for the former.
Ok,I got the compressoin curl part.That cross section really helped.I'm not sure I got the part about "irregular stem growth" causing "tension".What does irreg. stem growth mean and how is it caused?How does irreg. stem growth cause tension and what exactly is meant by tension?:eek: Sorry,but one answer leads to 10 more questions.I've bought a few books and visited some sites,but none of them goes into this type of detail.If you could recommend one it might cut my questions from 1,000 a month to 100.:yes: Something that not only explains that light and dark colors are caused by seasonal temps.,but also gets into the detail of how you get 10 colors in one piece of wood.
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