Properties of Tamarack

Tamarack dries nice and straight, but it's splintery and may have some shake. August 8, 2010

Question
I am planning to build a camp within the next couple of years and in preparation, I have cut 80 tamarack trees ranging from 12'' to 20'' at the trunk. I have left them full tree length for now. My plan is to haul them out next spring and get them sawed by a local guy who operates a mobile sawmill. Out of them, I will need some floor joists, roof trusses, and etc. I also plan to use some of the boards for flooring. Iím unsure if I will let the lumber air dry or if I will bring it to a kiln operation.

If I leave the lumber to be air dried do I need to worry about bug being present in tamarack trees? Also, how long would I need to leave it air drying before starting construction? Does tamarack have a tendency to warp more than other softwood?

Forum Responses
(Sawing and Drying Forum)
From contributor G:
I would think 80 trees could provide every stick of wood you would need. Itís a great tree, often used in wood boats for planking. It should be very stable. Just saw the boards you need, sticker them correctly, and wait for them to air dry. Air dry time varies depending on thickness of the boards and the drying season.



From contributor U:
We purchased and logged off a couple of acres of tamarack/larch and sawed it this past summer. We found that it can have wind shake, it is very light in weight, it has fibers in it that act as very small thorns or splinters and get all through your clothes and skin. It takes about two days for them to wear out of you. Larch is full of sap (if I was using inside I would want to kiln dry to set pitch). It air dries very nicely - hardly any cup, bow or twist, and lastly, was one of the prettiest looking softwoods we've ever come across.


From the original questioner:
Yes I agree, it seems to have a lot more sticky sap than other softwoods. The sawdust seemed to be glued to my chainsaw. Like I said, the main use of it will be framing lumber (2x4ís, 2x10ís, etc) but I do intend to use some as flooring upstairs on the loft floor where there won't be as much traffic. It does have a very nice grain.