Kentucky Coffeetree Lumber Characteristics

      Sawmillers share experiences with sawing and drying Coffeetree wood. March 9, 2010

I have been offered a Kentucky coffee tree. I have a small Wood-Mizer mill to cut it up with, but I have never cut any of this before. Any tips, uses, oddities about this wood? I haven't been able to find much out.

Forum Responses
(Sawing and Drying Forum)
From contributor C:
I just cut my first coffeewood three weeks ago, so I am no expert on it. But a few things I can tell you: It is at least as dense as oak. It is ring-porous. It is prone to tension in the log if it has grown anything short of straight up (in which case, maybe seal the ends, keep the sun off it and let it sit for a little bit). It looks really good flat sawn, and due to its fairly slow growth, looks even better quarter-sawn. The sapwood was only about an inch or two thick; the heart has a pinkish hue which is really attractive.

I have mine stickered and air drying right now and while I have heard that Kentucky coffeewood is prone to splitting, none of mine has done so. In fact, other than walnut, I have never seen lumber dry so well and be so forgiving of the elements. In fact, I have a large piece that didn't fit in the stack and I left it out and forgot to resaw it. It has been leaning against the south side of my building for 3 weeks and it has not warped or checked, despite the fact that the sun has beat on it and it has been rained on several times... Amazing stuff.

From contributor T:
Cut up a log for friend about three years ago. It was either dead on stump or had been cut long before. The hardest thing I ever put on the mill. Would cut two boards about 15" wide and have to change blades. Finally halfway through, he decided to quit and made it into an outside bench. Put linseed oil on it and it still looks great. He tried to joint and plane a couple of the boards and gave up. Too hard. Very nice looking boards, just exceptionally hard.

From contributor A:
I have never had a hard time sawing coffee tree with a band mill. It saws about like honey locust or black locust, which it is kin to. The sapwood is very narrow and the heart looks about like red elm. It is a heavy wood and turners like it. Never noted it being bad for checking or much on warp. Just so little of it in these hills. Might need to find some beans and start some a growing.

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: Knowledge Base

  • KnowledgeBase: Primary Processing

  • KnowledgeBase: Primary Processing: Sawmilling

  • KnowledgeBase: Wood Engineering

  • KnowledgeBase: Wood Engineering: Wood Properties

    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 © 1996-2021 - 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