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Author Topic: pecan  (Read 148 times)

Offline drewactual

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pecan
« on: February 16, 2020, 02:25:52 AM »
Just for discussion, though i can get a picture if anyone demands it...

going through scraps in the shop and some larger pieces too small to do anything real with, but too big to toss.... y'all know what comes next, right? Time to produce some cutting boards... i'm not good enough to do anything with them but make gifts, perhaps...

I was given two pieces Pecan sometime back. (thanks dave!!!)  I have several sticks of white ash... several sticks of Sapele.. and various other, but for this let's talk about those?

first off- pecan is second only to (true) Hickory in hardness for (American) domestic woods. Weird about it, it is light- lighter than oaks and maples. Honestly, the only use i'e had for pecan other than collecting it's fruits, is for smoking red meat. it does a great job with that as a trailing burn- meaning low and slow, smoke with hickory up front and then run the pecan for a good amount of heat with a small fire, but with a delicate smoke that tames down the hickory especially if the hickory was even slightly uncured... anyway, this place ain't about that...

Pecan is really light for it's strength.. really light- and, it's super stout- stouter than any of the oaks or maples- again only beat out by true Hickory, and not by much.. i think they're in the same family, actually.

Has anyone here used it for either cutting board or butchers blocks purposes here? It is a gorgeous wood- stunning, actually- like a milk with a splash of coffee my college age daughter drinks from those fancy cups @ $7 a go... the grains are subtle with beautiful swirls around the knots... I mean, until that primary piece of the cutting board came out of the planer, i'd forgotten how nice a wood it actually is.

what do y'all do with it? I know it is hell on blades... otherwise i'd brace it to the CNC and make some cool stuff- but those bits aren't cheap... It IS prone to decay but generally because of bugs- which a kitchen at least 'ought' to not have...

anyone have any pics of furniture made with it? of anything made with it you're willing to share?

if you can't tell, it's late and I'm bored... yet it seems like i've rediscovered something i'd forgotten about. I just pulled the cutting board from the clamps and ran it through the planer... it's gonna be purty with the white ash and sapele accents..

Offline MLZettl

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Re: pecan
« Reply #1 on: February 16, 2020, 09:56:48 AM »
I agree that pecan is a beautiful wood. My understanding from discussions with professional lumber retailers and wholesalers years ago is that it is not harvested in significant quantities to sell as dimensional lumber, and when it is sold, it is sold as hickory. For all intents and purposes, the two are identical. It would probably take a microscopic analysis to tell the two apart.

As far as the properties are concerned, I think that both hickory and pecan are considered very "tough" woods. It is not hardness alone that makes them so, but rather an elastic and shock absorbing quality. That is the reason that hickory has been the traditional choice for wooden tool handles. My recollection, and admittedly it has been years since I used any, is that it is not any more difficult to work than oak, maple, cherry, or other hard American species. I cannot comment on it's effect on edge tools, but generally speaking woods that dull edge tools quickly tend to have high silica content. Teak is a great example. I have never done it, but have been told that if you run teak through a planer in the dark, you can see some occasional sparks come off it.

In any case, pecan is a perfectly fine wood to use for any of a number of projects. It just depends upon the look that one is seeking. It has a beautiful grain, and the workability is really not a major issue IMHO. Just keep in mind that the trees are grown primarily for the nuts. Because of that, they are found in yards and groves where there is a greater risk of running across metal embedded in the logs, and experienced sawyers are wary.T

hanks for posting, Drew. Bring the cutting board to the next meeting!
Matt
"It's the poor workman who blames his tools."

Offline drewactual

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Re: pecan
« Reply #2 on: February 17, 2020, 05:12:12 AM »
good info!!! thanks for that!!!

I did notice some tear out  here and there but nothing major, and i'm surprised how well the grain pops out of it after raising it up and scalping it with steel wool- almost like a heart pine that's been around a while- can run my finger over it and feel each grain ever so slightly.

i don't know that the thing rates being shown off... maybe a picture...