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Elm Stems

Discussion in 'Tips and Tricks' started by Dave Wermuth, Apr 2, 2009.

  1. Dave Wermuth

    Dave Wermuth Who hid my paddle?

    I just bent two sets of stems using Elm. It bent well after an hour of steaming. I liked it better than ash. I was lucky to find some in the barn of a local sawyer. Anyone else use Elm?
  2. David McDaniel

    David McDaniel Canoe Dude


    Hey Dave & Gil;
    I have steamed elm and I think there is hardly an easier
    wood to bend other that cedar.
    Thomson and Racine both used elm on stems, inner & outer .
    later Dave
  3. Fitz

    Fitz Wooden Canoes are in the Blood


    Funny you should mention elm. I recently acquired a large pile of free elm that I thought I was going to split into firewood. Now, I was literally raised on the wood pile in Maine, but I have never seen anything like this stuff. Virtually impossible to split by hand. Maul and sledge hardly touch it. Rock hard, stringy, dense heavy stuff. Good stem qualities I suppose.

    Further proof there is no such thing as "free" firewood.:eek:

    Then again, I could just be getting old. :rolleyes:
  4. Ed Moses

    Ed Moses LOVES Wooden Canoes

    Sawing Elm


    If there are any pieces of your firewood elm long enough for stems bring them up to the sawmill and I'll cut them for you. Have a new fuel pump on the mill as of yesterday and she's running like a champ once again. I tested it by sawing up two 20' 6" ash boards into rail stock.

  5. Fitz

    Fitz Wooden Canoes are in the Blood


    Shucks. That will teach me not to look into the canoe building qualities of a tree before slicing it up into fireplace length!

    I think I got overzealous with the chainsaw and there is nothing long enough left (this time!). But now that I have seen your mill in operation, I will keep my eyes peeled.

  6. OP
    Dave Wermuth

    Dave Wermuth Who hid my paddle?

    That's what gave me the idea to try to bend it. Everyone knows you can't split elm. The cells all interlock. Saw it on Roy Underhill's "The Woodright Shop"

    The WCHA reprint of The Rushton Catalogue notes they made their stems of Elm.

    I have to suspect it will hold fasteners well too.
  7. Dan Lindberg

    Dan Lindberg Ex Wood Hoarder

    Don't feel too bad Fitz,

    I did the same thing.
    The neighbor had a large/medium elm cut down last summer, and I had them leave me 2 - 6 ft sections to cut up into canoe wood, just for fun.

    But I had no way of handling them, and last fall, just to get them out of the way, cut em up. :(

    Still wish I had some elm.

  8. Canoez

    Canoez Paddle Bait

    I always thought that the canoes that Rushton made for George Washington Sears had Elm ribs and stems... Was a nice Sairy Gamp at the Maine Boatbuilder's show built the traditional way. (The Apprenticeshop, I think?) I wonder if the ribs were elm in that one?


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