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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
An acquaintance offered to sell me some red gum wood. As you can see from the cell phone pic, it is nice looking. However, I don't know anything about red gum. How is it? Hard/soft, easy to work, brittle, price?

Thanks for the info!

red gum.jpg
 

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My understanding is that red gum is the heartwood of sweetgum (Liquidambar styraciflua). It is somewhat dense, a lot like elm, with an interlocked grain that makes it tough to split. It is hard to keep it straight when milling and drying, but if it is already kiln dry, that won't be a problem. I have milled some on my portable sawmill, and been very pleased with the color of the grain. It is air drying now. It has been compared to cherry in hardness, but less brittle. Hope this helps, and that you'll post photos of the project, if you decide to buy it.



 

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From my mill in southwest Missouri, I would charge per board ft:
$1.20 green, right off the mill
$1.80 air dry
$2.50 kiln dry
$4.00 S2S (surfaced two sides)

50% more if the customer picks through to get the best boards

That should get you ballpark. Price will vary, depending on where you are. It is sort of a two-edged sword. The person with the wood probably doesn't have many opportunities to sell it, and you probably don't have many opportunities to buy sweetgum. Hopefully some others will have some input.

Consider, also, the advantages of having a good relation with the sawyer. I have a couple of woodworking customers that I call when I get a spectacular log, or that bring me logs that they have found to mill for them. If you want to be on this sawyer's "A list", don't try to knock off too much from the asking price. Make it worth his time to work with you, and you may be richly rewarded.
 
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