Thoughts on sweetgum

      A quick primer on sweetgum. July 4, 2000

Q.
I have some logs given to me and they called them sweetgum. They look like cottonwood. My question: How good is it as lumber, and how hard is it to dry? We are building a solar kiln; can we use it to side the kiln?



Lester, my opinion and experiences with sweetgum will probably be different from the usual commercial view.

I have found sweetgum to be a beautiful wood which I have no trouble selling. My first experience with it was sawing and air drying very wide boards. The wood did move quite a bit, making "normal" use sort of impossible. We were able to get wainscoting from it by resawing on the bandmill and cutoff saw before planing. The wood takes a finish beautifully.

I am told that during WWII, most of the black walnut was going into gunstocks, so sweetgum was used in its place. The wood has held up very well; it is in a room that gets direct sun and is also heated by a masonry heat sink. In spite of the normal shrink/swell cycles, the gum has remained without warp.



Sweetgum is everywhere here in Central Mississippi. Yes, it does have a reputation for much movement! Gum species are used a lot in the furniture industry for interior parts, especially for upholstered goods where it is cut into smaller blank sizes.


To dry, sticker it every 12 inches and use weights on top for the flattest lumber. IF it's at the right MC, it will not move much at all.
Gene Wengert, forum moderator


Check out the excellent, positive article on the gums in a recent issue of Fine Woodworking, the one with Michael Dunbar making a table on the cover.



Would you like to add information to this article?
Interested in writing or submitting an article?
Have a question about this article?


Have you reviewed the related Knowledge Base areas below?
  • KnowledgeBase: Lumber & Plywood: Wood Identification

  • KnowledgeBase: Wood Engineering: Wood Properties

  • KnowledgeBase: Knowledge Base


    Would you like to add information to this article? ... Click Here

    If you have a question regarding a Knowledge Base article, your best chance at uncovering an answer is to search the entire Knowledge Base for related articles or to post your question at the appropriate WOODWEB Forum. Before posting your message, be sure to
    review our Forum Guidelines.

    Questions entered in the Knowledge Base Article comment form will not generate responses! A list of WOODWEB Forums can be found at WOODWEB's Site Map.

    When you post your question at the Forum, be sure to include references to the Knowledge Base article that inspired your question. The more information you provide with your question, the better your chances are of receiving responses.

    Return to beginning of article.



    Refer a Friend || Read This Important Information || Site Map || Privacy Policy || Site User Agreement

    Letters, questions or comments? E-Mail us and let us know what you think. Be sure to review our Frequently Asked Questions page.

    Contact us to discuss advertising or to report problems with this site.

    To report a problem, send an e-mail to our Webmaster

    Copyright © 1996-2016 - WOODWEB ® Inc.
    All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced in any manner without permission of the Editor.
    Review WOODWEB's Copyright Policy.

    The editors, writers, and staff at WOODWEB try to promote safe practices. What is safe for one woodworker under certain conditions may not be safe for others in different circumstances. Readers should undertake the use of materials and methods discussed at WOODWEB after considerate evaluation, and at their own risk.

    WOODWEB, Inc.
    335 Bedell Road
    Montrose, PA 18801

    Contact WOODWEB











  • WOODWEB - the leading resource for professional woodworkers


      Home » Knowledge Base » Knowledge Base Article