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Sweet gum splitting?

Post in 'The Wood Shed' started by dougand3, Jan 6, 2010.

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  1. dougand3

    dougand3 Minister of Fire

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    A friend is felling a 30 ft sweet gum tree and asked if I want it. My splitting equipment consists of a maul and a 52yo body. Would this be a ton of effort to split w/o hydraulics? Thanks, Doug.

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  2. webby3650

    webby3650 Master of Fire

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    Run from it, if you don't have access to a splitter. Even then, I think it dries to about the weight of Poplar.
  3. gzecc

    gzecc Minister of Fire

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    I wouldn't take it all. Maybe just a few of the easiest small rounds, if its close to you. Its not close to top shelf wood. IMO its not worth all the back braking work for low quality wood.
  4. Wood Duck

    Wood Duck Minister of Fire

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    I know I'd take it for sure. Free wood is free wood, and it may be tougher to split than some other species, but I think you'll get the job done without too much hassle. What do you have to lose by trying?
  5. webby3650

    webby3650 Master of Fire

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    Ahh, back surgery at 52
  6. gzecc

    gzecc Minister of Fire

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    Just like all opportunities its all relative. It depends on your needs + resources. I wouldn't take it, because I always find higher quality woods and have enough to be discriminating. While your taking the gum maybe some ash will become available, or maybe you won't have any room to take higher quality wood after taking the gum. Its a very relative decision!
  7. Wood Duck

    Wood Duck Minister of Fire

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    I risk injury by excercising, you risk heart disease by not, and we all end up dead anyway. I plan to go down swinging.
  8. webby3650

    webby3650 Master of Fire

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    Gum is not exercise it is torture! But, if had no other wood I would probably do it to.
  9. dougand3

    dougand3 Minister of Fire

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    Yeah....agree with the relative factor. If I was low, might give it a shot. But I've got 5 cords of oak, hickory, birch, pine ranging from 1-3 years split. And I'll say - the toughest I've found to split was the pine (probably yellow pine). Thanks for the input guys. Doug
  10. Wood Duck

    Wood Duck Minister of Fire

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    I haven't split gum either - Sweet Gum is not native in this part of Pennsylvania, and not too common as a shade tree. I guess I should be glad that i don't have to put my money where my mouth is. We do have lots of elm, however.
  11. Bubbavh

    Bubbavh Feeling the Heat

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    The outer rings of it split pretty easily with gum. The center will probably kill you or any non-superhuman without a splitter! It burns ok but without a splitter I'd probably pass!
  12. trailrated

    trailrated Member

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    I just split some black gum the other day by hand. I was cussing the whole time.
  13. BrotherBart

    BrotherBart Hearth.com LLC Mid-Atlantic Division Staff Member

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    I have split/burst a lot of sweet gum. The stuff is downright evil. Busts into a knarley mess. Stinks burning and is generally painful start to finish. I let'em rot in the woods anymore.
  14. Pagey

    Pagey Minister of Fire

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    I only have experience with black gum. It doesn't split so much as tear. Very aptly named - it's like splitting a wad of chewed bubble gum.
  15. dougand3

    dougand3 Minister of Fire

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    Thanks, everybody for input. BB, I relayed your words to my friend - raucous laughter ensued and to the street for county pickup, the sweet gum goes. LOL
  16. Eisele

    Eisele New Member

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    I wouldnt touch it with a 30 foot pole with out a decent log splitter. I have tryed to split it with my fiskars ss and just bounces off even my 30 ton ram log splitter groans and grunts on the stuff just nasty
  17. myzamboni

    myzamboni Minister of Fire

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    I like it, but you have to split it within a couple days of being cut or it is a nightmare. Love the way it burns.
  18. Hurricane

    Hurricane Minister of Fire

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    My 8 lb maul and fiskars bounced off and I was swinging and connecting hard. The wedge kept poping out. So I loaded it in my truck and went to use my buddies splitter ( before I bought my own ) and it shredded on the splitter. I did not get a clean split on any of it. It does not stack well because of all the shredding. That was last year and I have not burned any yet. Maybe I will go get a piece to try.
    If I needed wood I would take it but if any other option was available I would pass on it.
  19. Wood Duck

    Wood Duck Minister of Fire

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    I have to try splitting a couple of Sweet Gum rounds, just to make me appreciate the other wood that I currently think is hard to split.
  20. FLINT

    FLINT Feeling the Heat

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    myzamboni is right, you have to split it right after its cut and then its not total torture. but its very wet when green so you can't stack it in a tight shed right away or it will mold. and when it dries its very light.
  21. dougand3

    dougand3 Minister of Fire

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    Thanks, Flint. I must be a wimp - I avoid even partial torture. LOL.
    When thinking back - I split these 5 cords with a maul---and one species (maybe the birch?) split so straight and easy. Like the maul air current from a miss would still cause a crack. I gotta figure out what species that was and FIND MORE.
  22. FLINT

    FLINT Feeling the Heat

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    no way, you aren't a wimp. splitting gum SUCKS! no matter how you do it - it even kind of sucks splitting it with a log splitter as its so stringy you sometimes have to rip the pieces apart.

    i was just saying, if you can split it green right after its cut, its a little better, but still not fun.

    the only other thing that I can think of that was comparably horrible was some huge knotty beech that we tried to split one year - that was ridiculous.

    never split birch, but tulip poplar, ash, and red oak are all very easy to split (usually) and cherry can be easy.
  23. wahoowad

    wahoowad Minister of Fire

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    I scrounged some up 2 years ago. It was horrible to process. I will not touch it. In fact, I'm gonna go find some in my woodpile when I get home and burn it up with extreme prejudice!
  24. Bspring

    Bspring Feeling the Heat

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    I have a lot of it around and burn it often but I will not split it. It usually grows tall and straight so if it is less than 9" in diamater I will buck it, stack it, and burn it. It burns better than Poplar.
  25. dougand3

    dougand3 Minister of Fire

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    Bspring, how long do you dry a 9" round of sweet gum?
    I need to visit upstate SC. Grew up in the most redneck town in SC - Gaffney and did undergrad at Wofford.
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