Decay Concerns when Storing and Milling Sinker Cypress

      Questions and answers about how long you can wait to mill and dry antique Cypress logs after pulling them up from underwater. April 24, 2014

Question (WOODWEB Member) :
Years ago I used to talk to an old timer who recovered and milled true old-growth sinker cypress. His logs were branded. The brands included dates - usually mid-1800ís. At the time he told me that he left his logs underwater until milling time. He said they deteriorated quickly once taken out of the water - in this case fresh water. If this is true, are there general guidelines on how long a recovered sinker cypress log can be out of water before deterioration begins?

Forum Responses
(Sawing and Drying Forum)
From Gene Wengert, forum technical advisor:
In warm weather, less than a week and in cold weather, a week or two.

From the original questioner:
Thank you. I'm not sure if this is old growth or not. It was dark when loading but it appears to have maybe 30 plus growth rings per inch. I may have access to a dozen more. If these are old growth I will probably get a slabber for my Lucas 825. The tree was submerged under mud in brackish water.

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From Contributor Y

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At 30 rings per inch, you'll have some incredible lumber. I might consider a band mill instead of a chain saw slabber, though. It will give you an extra 1" board for every 8 cuts.

From the original questioner:
Hereís a blurry photo of the growth rings. The calipers are set to one inch.

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Slabbed 6/4, bucked to 9'. I have about 16 of these. I still have about five more feet of stem attached to an additional 6' of root ball.

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From contributor E:
I have 11 logs sitting on the ground that I hauled out of the Atchafalaya Basin that were covered in mud for over a hundred years. Some have been in my yard for over a year and I can guarantee you they have not deteriorated one iota. The ring count on some of the larger logs is 30-50 per inch. I get a stash together, and right now I have 12 logs that will yield right at 5000 board feet. Then I either bring them to a sawyer or have him come cut them up at my place if he has a large enough saw to make complete slabs with natural edges for furniture making. The one important thing to remember is to paint the ends of the logs to slow down moisture loss through the end grain.

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