I’m relatively new to woodworking, but I need to know if the wood in a sweet gum tree is good for woodworking? I have a large, but very dead sweet gum tree in my front yard that needs to be cut down before it falls on the house, and before I just tell them to cut it up for firewood or recycle I’d like to know if it would be worth it to harvest it for woodworking projects? I was thinking that they could just cut it into 4-8 foot sections & leave it. What do ya’ll think? – Lee Hockman
Tim Inman: Gum is often used as a “utility” wood in manufacturing. You probably have an abundant supply of firewood on your hands, though. My experience is that trees that are “dead on the stump” usually don’t make good furniture wood. If you try saving this wood, expect a high loss of furniture grade boards due to all kinds of defects within the wood. Saving trees for lumber is always a noble thing to do, but in this case you’ll probably be disappointed. It will burn well, though.
Chris Marshall: If the wood isn’t completely decayed and punky at this point, you might try a chunk or two on the lathe to see what happens. Maybe your gum tree will still make some “sweet” bowls and other turnings. Worst that could happen is that they go from the lathe to the burn pile if the results aren’t what you like. More than one turner has discovered some hidden gems buried in the firewood pile — I can imagine the same discovery in a dead-but-still-standing tree.