Underwater wood: Worthless?

      Generally speaking, submerged lumber is often a total loss. 1998.

by Professor Gene Wengert

Q.
There's some cypress that has been underwater for many years here in TX and LA. Many old oil rigs and support platforms were made from cypress and have been abandoned. I have heard that this wood is very nice because of the water soaking. Have I heard this from the horses mouth, or from a snake oil salesman?

A.
The University of Wisconsin-Madison has a two page report on how to handle lumber that has been rewetted by flood waters or exposure to high RH. (SASE please.) Lumber that has been underwater is basically a total loss because the grit that is left on the wood surface is extremely abrasive on planer knives (cannot be washed off) and because there will be large color problems (and there will be checking in oak). High RH exposure is easy to correct without much serious losses noted afterward.

Professor Gene Wengert is Extension Specialist in Wood Processing at the Department of Forestry, University of Wisconsin-Madison.

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