RE: Ã¢â‚¬Å“Big MadroneÃ¢â‚¬ Posted Below and at:
From 10 tons of 8Ã¢â‚¬â„¢ logsÃ¢â‚¬¦
Ã¢â‚¬¦the 240-year-old Pacific Madrone was milled into flooring, stair tread/threshold and turning stock, along with the flitches taken from the slabsÃ¢â‚¬¦
Madrone is a relatively unstable wood, benefits from slow drying, and a wide stack is made using 4/4 dry cedar stickers:
On a small hilltop with good airflow, cedar slabs were laid on the ground and shimmed flatÃ¢â‚¬¦not necessarily (or even desirably) level, but flat. For 8Ã¢â‚¬â„¢ stock, five 4X6 DF bearers were laid square, and the flooring stock stacked in layers or decks tightly with the edges touching, 90 degrees to the bearers followed by the heavier 5+/4 stair tread stock. Each layer of stickers is positioned directly atop the bearers, and the stack is laid to slope outward slightly as it gains height to provide shade. A few layers of beveled cedar siding top it to provide shade. Light builderÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s felt or tarpaper will be applied just to the top surface later. Tarpaper, Tyvek, and some commercial products made for the purpose donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t condense moisture beneath as severely as plastic.
The wetter and more unstable the wood, the closer the bearers must be until the wood dries to equilibrium. On stable woods, I can get use 36Ã¢â‚¬ between bearers for 4/4 stock, but as this Madrone is both wet and subject to shrinkage and warp, I use 24Ã¢â‚¬ here.
To slow down drying of the end grain to minimize checking, the log ends were painted with HenryÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s #107 Roofing CompoundÃ¢â‚¬¦tar in a water emulsion that dries like paint and doesnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t smear during sawing. The preferred product for this is a wax emulsion called Anchor SealÃ¢â‚¬¦very effective but also very expensive. This Home Depot tar at 3 bucks a gallon works as well and much better than common paint (by all means use any old paint rather than nothing) Ã¢â‚¬¦but it adds a step. IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ll have to chop those tarred ends off before running this stock through the planer.
The flooring stock is laid in a 8Ã¢â‚¬â„¢ X 10Ã¢â‚¬â„¢ stack for the first year. The heavier turning stock is stacked separately. This time next year, the center will be removed from the flooring stackÃ¢â‚¬¦once the cedar cover is removed the stack doesnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t have to be dismantled, the boards will pull outÃ¢â‚¬¦to make two, 4Ã¢â‚¬â„¢ wide stacks. By then, the 4/4 and 5/4 stock will have reached around 20 per centÃ¢â‚¬¦close to equilibrium in this climateÃ¢â‚¬¦and it will dry to below 10 per cent by September next.
One important step many omit. Sure, the bearers were dead flat when I beganÃ¢â‚¬¦I tested them with a straight edge. But then I loaded them with 10,000 pounds or so, and I sight long ways down the boards looking for any bows or sticker pinchÃ¢â‚¬¦and adjust the bearers with wedges and maul accordingly until the boards are perfect. This stack required minor wedging of three bearers, and IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ll check and adjust again periodically during the summer.
Cedar can be dried in less than half the time of Madrone and other unstable hardwoods and Douglas Fir in a little more time than cedar.
The final tally for the tree was over 900SF of vertical grain flooring and tread stock and another 500BF of turning stock and flitches
Ã¢â‚¬Å“When we build, let us think that we build forever. Let it not be for present delight nor for present use alone. Let it be such work as our descendants will thank us for; and let us think…that a time is to come when those (heirlooms) will be held sacred because our hands have touched them, and that men will say, as they look upon the labor and wrought substance of them, Ã¢â‚¬ËœSee! This our father did for us.Ã¢â‚¬â„¢ Ã¢â‚¬Å“ –John Ruskin.