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Thread: Uses for Cottonwood trees?

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    Member thewhop2000's Avatar
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    Default Uses for Cottonwood trees?

    I'm building a house on land near four corners by Wasilla. Have a lot of Cottonwood that needs to go away. @ 30 trees and some are 3'-4' across. Any suggestions on what to do with them?

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    Member walk-in's Avatar
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    I went on a cottonwood eradication binge a couple years ago and only have 1 left on my property now. I hate them. The last one will be going this fall after the garden is done.
    As far as I'm concerned, the only thing cottonwoods are good for is bonfires....and they're not even all that great for that.
    We are right to take alarm at the first experiment upon our liberties.
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    They are great widowmakers. Kill them all.
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    They make pallets and shelving out of them, the lumber could be useful for some things like that. Sounds like the ones you have are fairly large for Black cottonwoods, they are a much more solid tree than the giant ones we have here. Though they dont make the best firewood they can be used for it, they produce a lot of ash. But then again so does any softwood.

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    Default Cottonwood lumber

    I had a friend mill up some cotton wood with a chainsaw mill and lined the inside of his cabin and outhouse. It is light colored and lookd great!

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    Cottonwood planks are great for lowboy decking. Light and tuff when dry. It's not structurally strong, but the grain it has makes for nice lowboy decking.
    "The older I get, the better I was."

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    Burn it or use it for smoke wood.
    It gives off heat but burns fast.
    Burns clean compared to spruce.
    Strip the bark off and season it a year under cover.
    It is not hard to split. Goes real easy at -10f and colder.

    We are not wood snobs. We burn everything.
    It's there use it.

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    Supporting Member Amigo Will's Avatar
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    Grind it up and use as feed for horse,cows,moose ect in the winter

  9. #9

    Default Cottonwood is good wood

    It has a high moisture content and needs to be dried well. I know of at least 4 cabins made of cottonwood. Two were built in the 50s and one was built around 1900. They are still solid and look good. If it is kept dry it won't rot and is actually better insulation than spruce. It isn't a very strong wood so that should be kept in mind if using it for structural use.

    The real thick trees are often rotten in the middle and may not be much useful good.
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    Quote Originally Posted by martyv View Post
    It has a high moisture content and needs to be dried well. I know of at least 4 cabins made of cottonwood. Two were built in the 50s and one was built around 1900. They are still solid and look good. If it is kept dry it won't rot and is actually better insulation than spruce. It isn't a very strong wood so that should be kept in mind if using it for structural use.

    The real thick trees are often rotten in the middle and may not be much useful good.

    to add to that. Cotton wood is one of the few woods that will shrink in length as well...

    when building with pop pal, or the larger cottons. they need to be peeled and stacked on cribbing for a few years.

    most woods will shrink in diameter with little to no difference in over all end length. the cottons also shrink considerable more in diameter then the spruces. a white spruce will 8" log will shrink 1/4-3/8" over time. 3-5 years.

    cottons will shrink 1/2-3/4 in the same period. as well loose overall length. of an inch or more depending on actual length.

    it is great for running through a mill and stacking lumber to dry. this also allows you to remove the center rot that is common in the cottons and birches up here...
    "If you are on a continuous search to be offended, you will always find what you are looking for; even when it isn't there."

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    Member ironartist's Avatar
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    dunnage, good blocking or cribbing material and light for handleing
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    Default Sauna benches..............

    Where I'm from back in Michigan lots of folks used it for the top of their sauna benches. For some reason Cottonwood doesn't hold on to the heat of the sauna which makes it really nice to sit on with your naked backside. Must be something to do with its "heat capacity", or what ever that engineering parameter is that I used to understand. No sap to ooze out also, which is nice when you are trying to get clean. Since it really likes to twist and bow, kerfing the underside will help to straighten it out when you are securing it to the sub-frame. It's not a worthless wood....... it's a niche wood. Good luck

    standdup

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    The reason the cottonwood shrinks more, makes good sauna seats, and makes a warm cabin is it is less dense than hardwoods. The more dense an object the more it transmitts hear/cold. The lower density means less energy potential as a fire wood, but cotton wood will burn.
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    What about using all the wood you have for a split rail fence or just a fence?

    George

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    Default Ceiling T&G

    I have some friends that used it in Tounge and Groove form on their ceiling. It looks great - warm, slightly pink color to it. Just need to use it where it won't get bumped, as it is really soft.

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    I would love to come out and take a truck load or two off your hands.

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    Sponsor ADfields's Avatar
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    For the lower 48ers, our Alaska cottonwood is nothing like lower 48 cottonwood, what is called black cottonwood here is a lombardi poplar species. It has a very straight grain that splits readily, is so soft that it will not hold screw that well and forget about nails, it’s almost like balsa wood but not quite that soft. The cottonwood I grew up with in Arizona will not split easy, I bent the ram and foot on a 30 ton splitter trying to once, and its far heaver than this Alaska stuff.

    I have used Alaska’s cottonwood for:
    Fire wood
    Cribbing lumber but not for anything heavy as it splits out easy
    Light panning trim lumber
    A big work bench in my shop
    And part of my house frame was made with it but I don’t advise it due to not holding nails well.

    I have heard horse’s won’t crib (chew) on it but I don’t know firsthand on that.
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    Cottonwood is in fact a hardwood and not a softwood and while its density is not on the same level as some types of ash or oak it does hang right there with douglas fir willow sitka spruce and aspen, its also more dense than cedar white pine or bamboo. As far as holding a screw or a nail I guess they don't make anything out of cedar or white pine either.

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    Quote Originally Posted by rdrash View Post
    Cottonwood is in fact a hardwood and not a softwood and while its density is not on the same level as some types of ash or oak it does hang right there with douglas fir willow sitka spruce and aspen, its also more dense than cedar white pine or bamboo. As far as holding a screw or a nail I guess they don't make anything out of cedar or white pine either.
    In the lumber world "hardwood" means wood from any deciduas tree and has nothing to do with density of the lumber. "Softwoods" are from evergreen trees and some like Sothern Yellow Pine make some of the most dense lumber around.

    To give an idea of just how structurally week our Alaska cottonwood is here is one of the many ways it has failed to come even remotely close to the strength of spruce, pine, or even western red cedar. That the part of my that was built with cottonwood framing has 2x6 ruff cut joists on 12 centers with 1 T&G ply subflooring over it. The span started out as 8 feet which is well within the span charts for 2x6 spruce/fur/pine on 24 centers, but the cottonwood was like a trampoline so the builder split the span to 4. Now 2x4s on 24 meats code in the span charts for 6 clear span so surely cottonwood will be fine . . . ya right. The house was 6 years old when I got it and I had to sister up the cottonwood because it was sagging 2 to 5 inches in that little 4 span. Not just sagging, almost half the joists were split diagonally from the bottom to the top and these splits did not always follow the grain of the wood but sometimes ripped the woods fibers.

    Cottonwood has some good uses but is not in any stretch of the imagination in the same strength ballpark as common lumber like spruce and fir, cottonwood is not even in the back part of the parking lot.
    Andy
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    Yes on the deciduous and evergreen types of wood the term we are looking for in repsect to hardwoods and softwoods are angiosperm or gymnosperm. Covered seeds for the hardwoods and naked seeds for the soft. Yellow pine is just about at the bottom of the wood density list only a point or two above cottonwood.

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