Orchard Stumps

Interesting comments on the qualities of orchard wood and stumps. July 10, 2007

I have access to orchard run cherry stumps that measure 20-24" by 36" long from northern California. They are the rootstock of some very old cherry orchards that are at the end of their production life. Anybody out there have experience with this particular wood, its nature, similarity with other cherry variety? While not very long, the width may make milling this wood worthwhile. The little I have cut looks similar to its eastern cousin with the pinkish hue.

Forum Responses
(Sawing and Drying Forum)
From contributor J:
I have used east coast cherry orchard wood for turning and like it a lot - especially if you can center the work on the location of the graft. Your mileage may vary.

From contributor R:
I have no personal knowledge with cherry, however I have seen side by side apple wood. The neglected and rarely fertilized had tighter growth rings. The cultivated or orchard grown wood had much wider growth rings. I assume orchard trees get annual applications of fertilizers. Faster to bearing age, more fruit, etc. I was comparing apples of the same varieties, not crab apples planted for landscape accents. I never saw ugly cherry!

From contributor T:
I cut some 80 year old almonds that were orchard grown. They had 10 to 15 growth rings per inch. The logs had lots of stress wood, so much of the lumber wasn't straight, but it was gorgeous! Medium to dark browns with small flecks. It machined well and it is very dense.

From contributor W:
I would take some of the largest stumps. The length limits the wood to be used for small rustic or contemporary projects, or maybe even gunstocks. Gunstocks would ruin the width, but if you are getting curly butt grain, it's possibly worth your while. If the roots are still attached, watch out for rocks. You can cut the roots off completely but you are going to loose a great deal of the butt figure if it does exist. Wood turners are going to want to know you, too. Find somebody with a Oneway lathe through the AAW (American Association of Woodturning). There is probably a local chapter near you which holds monthly meetings.