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Worst wood to chainsaw??

Post in 'The Wood Shed' started by Cedrusdeodara, Dec 7, 2008.

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  1. Cedrusdeodara

    Cedrusdeodara Member

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    I am a bit of a new comer as a burner, however I have had some experience working on our family's nursery with cutting some "Difficult" to deal with genus/species. The absolute worst wood that I've had to chainsaw was a non-native tree, Parrotia persica (common name Persian Ironwood). Parrotia is actually a highly prized ornamental tree that is related to the Witch Hazel family. It is a nice deciduous tree that has a nice dense growth habit. It is highly prized for its winter scarlet flowers, pealing bark, and wonderful fall color.

    Anyway, long story short, I had 5 big trees growing on my property. They were stock plants from a Nursery that occupied my property before me. I tried to save them, but they were damaged from a storm. The One that I cut down had a 20" caliper at the base. I fell the tree and 0destroyed the chain half way through my 2nd cut through the trunk. I contacted my father in law, he showed up with a brandnew chain on his saw...... same deal, it was smoking and throwing powder by his third cut. We wore a file out trying to get an edge back on his chain.

    He actually saved a piece of log and says after 3 years of seasoning in his garage, it sounds like a piece of iron/steel when he drops it on concrete!!!

    Any other stories out there of nasty wood for cutting? I've read that Ostrya virginiana (Eastern Hophornbeam, or Ironwood) is a native with GREAT BTU capacity. wonder if that is as bad as Parrotia on the saw.

    Brian
    Cedrusdeodara (a tree I love and would never burn)

    Stihl MS361
    SPee Co hydraulic splitter
    Osburn 1800 insert, soon to be replaced by Napoleon 1402 insert

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  2. PA. Woodsman

    PA. Woodsman Minister of Fire

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    Very dry Black Locust is a killer to cut...
  3. Cedrusdeodara

    Cedrusdeodara Member

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    Yeah, very dry anything is hard on a chain, we don't have alot of Locust near me to cut... Interesting.
  4. FF184

    FF184 Member

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    I agree, the first time I cut some of it I thought there was something wrong with my saw.
  5. bren582

    bren582 Member

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    I have 3 black locust in my back yard. I have trimmed back all 3 of them and I can tell you.. You have to go slow when cutting it.. It's amazing how such a hard tree grows so fast..
  6. Jake

    Jake Member

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    nw burbs of Chi
    Sometimes the pallets of lumber we get (exotic...cumaru, ipe, jatoba) are too long for us to use, We have to saw them in 1/2, That wiill easilly kill a chain
  7. awoodman

    awoodman Member

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    A lot of Hedge wood here in Missouri they call it Osage Orange. The Indians would make bows out of it and White man made fence posts out of it.
    That is real hard and the slowest I have ever seen to rot laying on the ground.
  8. savageactor7

    savageactor7 Minister of Fire

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    I had some real huge willows that were almost as tough as Locust.
  9. JustWood

    JustWood Minister of Fire

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    Dry hickory is a real chain killer . FIL lives in Arizona and cuts Mesquite for his smoker and he says its like trying to cut granite.
  10. Cedrusdeodara

    Cedrusdeodara Member

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    awoodman,

    Osage Orange has one of if not the highest BTU values for burning. Your lucky if you have some in your seasoned stack. That tree does have a natural antibacterial/antifungus compound in it's wood. An arboretum outside of Philadelphia has a large dead trunk lying on the ground from an Osage Orange tree. A plackard next to the trunk states that the tree fell down in the 1960s during a storm. It looks like it could have fallen last year because it shows little to no rot. Apparently Osage Orange is premium wood for fence building due to it's natural resistance to rot.

    Cedrusdeodara
  11. Bigg_Redd

    Bigg_Redd Minister of Fire

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    Any wood that has been dragged around or rolled in mud.
  12. LLigetfa

    LLigetfa Minister of Fire

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    and then frozen!
  13. Superlite

    Superlite New Member

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    Old dead dry Mulberry, it throws sparks at night. Just kidding but it is like concrete, and explodes in the woodstove. Looks like its petrified when has been standing dead for a long time.
  14. FatttFire

    FatttFire Member

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    IRONWOOD all the way! NO DOUBT
  15. jotul8e2

    jotul8e2 Feeling the Heat

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    Bois D'arc, Osage Orange, Hedgeapple, Horse Apple - same tree, different names.

    I really do not think there is anything native to North America any harder. Once dry it WILL throw sparks off your chain. The time it takes to cut through a dry 6" fence post is approximately - well, I never made it clear through one.

    As for longevity, come down to the Ozarks and I will show you plenty of 50 - 75 year old hedgeapple fence posts still doing regular duty. Some of them have gone through three or four sets of barbed wire.

    Mark
  16. smokinj

    smokinj Minister of Fire

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    Anything with rotten spots! (or hedge apple)
  17. billb3

    billb3 Minister of Fire

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    petrified oak.

    don't know how it compares to any of the above.


    When a puff of smoke comes out of the cut, it's time to withdraw the bar and let some cool air and oil at the bar and chain.


    This would be oak that was standing so long it had anice fruitwood colored patina through and through.
  18. Dill

    Dill Feeling the Heat

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    I've found apple to be really tough on saws. Last year I helped an orchard cut down a couple of hundred older trees so they could plant more dwarfs. That was some hard cutting.
  19. Adios Pantalones

    Adios Pantalones Minister of Fire

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    Dry wood with loose bark can accumulate dirt etc under the bark- so not only is it super hard, but it's abrasive
  20. Chief Ryan

    Chief Ryan New Member

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    I cut about 2 cords of Black Locust and i had to sharpen the chain every 20 min. I went slow and wiped off any dirt on the bark. About 1 hour ago i cut some old Red Oak, very tough stuff.
  21. beau5278

    beau5278 Member

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    I've never had a problem with ironwood,locust can be difficult,some of the others,I've never seen.Anything dry or dirty is a pain but if your chain is sharp and more importantly,your oiler is working good,you should be able to cut anything as long as it's wood
  22. Corey

    Corey Minister of Fire

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    Interesting to see so much hedge and locust responses...when I go to cut my own wood (ie not scrounging or taking what ever is dropped off) , those are the two I go after and never really thought about them being too bad.

    My first thought was elm...not because it's so hard on the chainsaw, but I know that most every piece sawed has to then be split...so I cringe at every saw cut! Second worst was a toss-up of willow, cottonwood, cedar, etc, as I think I've expended more energy cutting, splitting, and stacking those woods as actually comes from burning them. :)
  23. RAY_PA

    RAY_PA Feeling the Heat

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    Agreed!, dry black locust is a distant second to this nasty stuff.
  24. Burd

    Burd Feeling the Heat

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    What does this Iron wood look like
  25. ansehnlich1

    ansehnlich1 Minister of Fire

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    Yep, I never cut some of the stuff talked about here, like ironwood. I've cut locust, it's hard, but I think hickory is worse. And seasoned apple, that stuff's hard as rock. I cut some with my table saw and it smoked and carried on awful.

    Worse wood to cut is stuff that has nails and barbed wire in it :roll:
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