Woodworking Talk banner
1 - 5 of 5 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
63 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello all,

Manzanita is some of my favorite wood because of the colors and character. However, it's not a wood you can buy (to my knowledge) so your only real option is to mill and dry it yourself. I've only tried to dry manzanita that was large enough to get boards out of once and the results were pretty disastrous. I knew from other experience with manzanita that if I just painted the ends after cutting a log and letting it dry that it would still split to the core and if I painted the ends then milled, the boards would split and warp horrendously. So I milled the log, soaked it in saltwater for a few weeks, and then stickered it to dry (a method I found in some article I found on manzanita a very long time ago). This did seem to reduce the splitting but the twisting and cupping was still horrendous.

I've found that using manzanita that died naturally (or is almost completely dead) has much better results but that wood is typically much darker than the wood from a bush/tree that was still alive when milled/dried.

Well, I'm all out of the manzanita from that log now and want to mill/dry another so that I can have more on hand. I figure, I can just cut thicker boards so that after surfacing, I'll have more to work with but if anyone here has experience with drying manzanita in a way that will significantly reduce the warping/splitting, I would really appreciate the advice.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
28,781 Posts
The splitting issue may be one reason the lumber companies don't mess with it. You might try melting some gulf wax and dip the ends of the boards to see if the wood dries any better. In any case the general rule for wood is it takes a year to air dry the wood per inch thickness. It might take less or more depending on how arid your climate is. If you try to accelerate the drying process you are more likely to have it split. Wood needs to dry slow. Even the lumber companies that have a proper dry kiln it may take six to eight weeks to dry the wood.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
40 Posts
Manzanita is naturally twisted and I wonder if there is so much tension/stress going on inside that when you make a cut you are relieving that tension/stress which is causing it to crack and twist.
I don’t think I’ve ever seen manzanita lumber milled. The only use for it is in its branches. I’ve seen wedding/home decor, aquarium folks love it for their interesting branches that make great driftwood for their aquascapes. The branches are usually very expensive so if you are trying to make money from these trees then I’d recommended selling the branches on places like aqua bid, you’ll be surprised how much aquarium folks will pay for the stuff.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
63 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Manzanita is naturally twisted and I wonder if there is so much tension/stress going on inside that when you make a cut you are relieving that tension/stress which is causing it to crack and twist.
I think you're right about cuts relieving tension, I was just hoping that there was some method of minimizing that so that more wood can be salvaged.

I don’t think I’ve ever seen manzanita lumber milled. The only use for it is in its branches. I’ve seen wedding/home decor, aquarium folks love it for their interesting branches that make great driftwood for their aquascapes. The branches are usually very expensive so if you are trying to make money from these trees then I’d recommended selling the branches on places like aqua bid, you’ll be surprised how much aquarium folks will pay for the stuff.
That log I referenced didn't leave much for me but I was able to make some thin shelves and a drinking game out of it (my profile picture). Other than that, I've used manzanita a lot for rings and bottle openers. I'm not really trying to make money off of it though, I just love the look and want to incorporate it where I can.
 

·
Registered
Retired engineer
Joined
·
445 Posts
manzanita is one of those woods that corkscrews as it grows. I think the best way to use this wood is to cut slabs across the grain and use them for live edge table tops on small end tables. You can use the skinny branches to make lamps. We have a couple of lamps made this way; slabs form the base and a branch 3-4 inches in diameter is the post. Add a bulb socket and shade and it makes a nice rustic lamp. As soon as you try to cut boards out of this stuff you are just making firewood.
 
1 - 5 of 5 Posts
Top