Sunday, December 11, 2022

Humble aspen wood

Here in Western Canada spruce and pine rules the roost as far as preferred wood species for building goes. Dimensional lumber by the millions of board feet are produced on a regular basis and exported all over the world.

Shortly after arriving here in 1987, I took an interest in a deciduous species called “trembling aspen” that is also very common but not as highly regarded. In the building trade is is primarily used as feedstock for Oriented Strand Board (OSB) production and can now be found in that form in every modern home constructed.

Having faith in the value of this wood, I called my 40 acre wood “Aspenwood” when I settled here in 1991 and have enjoyed the protection and utility of this tree ever since.

Using chainsaws, I cut most of the dimensional lumber for my cabins from aspens right in the yard, and beyond for larger beams.

Results: Providing it is kept away from alternating wet and dry moisture, stopping the fungi from moving in, the wood is as good as it was 30 years ago. And that includes aspen shingles on one of my cabins, cut with a chainsaw and mounted on the cabin in 1992.

In fact, I have found that spruce and pine logs are more prone to dry rot (fungal infection) than aspen as they get wet and dry up again, creating ideal conditions for Nature’s Master Recycler: Freddy Fungus.

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