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Working with Hands - James E. Price


 
  Cypress Wood from The Mississippi Alluvial Valley 1 of 2  

 

This post is for members of this group who are not familiar with bald cypress wood common in The Mississippi Alluvial Valley.

 

Due to its slow growth is not harvested as much today as it was in the 1890's and in the first three decades of the 20th Century.

It is the State Tree of Louisiana and played a great role in the settlement of The Mississippi Valley where it was used in home construction, outbuildings, furniture, fence posts, coffins, and hundreds of other things.

It is rot resistant and lasts far longer than pine, oak, and other deciduous species. I live on The Ozark Border at the western edge of The Valley at the base of The Ozark Escarpment. Bald cypress trees grow a few miles along creeks and rivers that drain the southeastern face of the escarpment west of where I live.

Cypress is a conifer that sheds its needles in October and grows new ones in April. It's cone is round. Of interest is that during a wet year the growth rings are narrow and in a dry year they are wide. The roots put up "knees" that grow above the water in which cypress trees grow.

The wood is rather soft and is easy to work with hand tools. I got out a piece of salvaged cypress this afternoon and planed it to dimension for re-sawing to make thin boards for a plane case I have planned. I thought you might like to see what it looks like if it does not grow in your area.

Fourteen years ago I planted 18 cypress seedlings in a low area on our property and since that time they have grown over 30 feet tall. They'll make someone in the future some great cabinet wood because they grow to be 600 years old and reach up to 8 feet in diameter.

Cypress is a wonderful wood that is a joy to plane.

This is a close-up of what the grain looks like after being planed.


 
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