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Whats in Store

Edition 1

January 2020

Hi [subscriber:firstname | default:subscriber],


Whats in Store is a blog that is intended to provide information to interested parties regarding the availability of volunteer opportunities, wood, species characteristics and the findings of our members in working with the wood. Whats in Store will be published from time to time and will be maintained historically on the viwg website.

Welcome to the first edition!

Why Do This?

Many reasons come to mind. With the materials coming into the shed, we now have quite a variety of wood species. In some cases, little is really known about them by any of us. So some research is needed and we have begun to put this in writing for you. Our hope is that our members will understand how these woods can be used. And with input from first buyers who are using the wood, we will keep you informed on actual uses.
Along the way Whats in Store will outline changes and procedures in the milling, storing, selling and shipping of Wood Recovery Wood. The goal of Wood Recovery is to make our wood available to our members in a simple straightforward manner. The proceeds from your purchases fund our important ongoing community projects. The first is the annual schools donation program and the second is our bursary and wood donations to the Fine Furniture Program at Camosun College.

Thank You to our Wood Recovery Volunteers

Before going any further, a heartfelt thanks go to our volunteers. Their contributions allow us to mill, transport, store and sell our wood for the benefit of all members purchasing wood. This blog will introduce you to the key members of the Wood Recovery team and over time provide an overview of each of their responsibilities. It goes without saying that we are always on the
lookout for additional volunteers. We hope with more information you might join us as a helping hand. Whether you want to support the locating of trees/logs, milling or selling, we will welcome you for half a day or on an ongoing basis!

In the Shed

Slabs – about 6 priced at 40% of market or less. Garry Oak (dry), Maple(2020) Ailanthis (2020)
In the future, we will provide the measurements, price and if possible a picture for notable slabs.
For example we have one notable WM crotch slab – a real art piece $100.
Boards ($2.50 bd ft)
Garry Oak – a little (2017, 2018, ie ready to use)
Garry Oak – a lot (May 2019)
Garry Oak – a lot (Nov 2019)
Catalpa – a modest amount (2020)
Ailanthis – a modest amount(2020)
Red Oak – a lot (2020)
London Plane – a modest amount (2020)
Western Maple – a small amount (2020)
General Guideline for air drying local wood
In our shed, we have found that most species (excluding Arbutus), takes 2 years for our 2.25 inch X 7.5inch boards to cure. Bring it home, stack and sticker it, weight it or cinch it if possible and it should be ready to work 2 years after the milling date.

To conclude our first edition of What's in Store, lets look at a couple of our most unusual woods.
Scientific Name: Catalpa spp. (C. speciosa and C. bignonioides)
Distribution: Native to eastern United States, but naturalized throughout North America
Tree Size: 50-100 ft (15-30 m) tall, 2-4 ft (.6-1.2 m) trunk diameter
Average Dried Weight: 29 lbs/ft3 (460 kg/m3)
Specific Gravity (Basic, 12% MC): .38, .46
Janka Hardness: 550 lbf (2,450 N)
Got that? That is from the Wood Database (
My input:
I see wood with color very close to local elm, ie a true mid brown, not gray like garry oak. Grain in our log is curvy, attractive. The wood is not dense so quite light, growth rings are wide, we know it will dry quickly as compared to Garry Oak. First time we have had the wood, it likely won't come again.
Used for carving and turning (good to very good use). As a furniture maker, I believe it will be a good wood for drawer bottoms, cabinet backs and depending on the board chosen would make interesting door panels. I will be cautious and not say it can be used for door frames as it is quite light, but we will see in the future. Color wise, this would pair well with our fir or maple. Not sure about Garry oak, but then I am a little color blind. We have sold a good batch to Glenn Bartley and will update you on planned uses.

Ailanthus: Tree of heaven, Chinese sumac
Scientific Name: Ailanthus altissima
Distribution: Native to China; widely naturalized worldwide
Tree Size: 65-100 ft (20-30 m) tall, 2-3 ft (.6-1 m) trunk diameter
Average Dried Weight: 37.1 lbs/ft3 (600 kg/m3)
Specific Gravity (Basic, 12% MC): .44, .60
Janka Hardness: 1,420 lbf (6,300 N)
My input:
Who can resist a tree with the name Tree of Heaven.
Color like Ash, very light. Grain coarse, again Ash like. This is light wood close to fir in weight, will dry quicker than garry oak. Our boards are from one tree and they are meandering double live edge pieces 8 feet long and average about 16 inches wide. They are interesting slabs, but will go for prices close to standard board foot pricing. First time for this wood, we likely won't see it again anytime soon. We know it carves well. I will go out on a limb and say it should be good for similar uses to Catalpa.

Interested in helping with some aspect of wood recovery? Send an email to We will get you slotted in for a session, and thank you.
Interested in a wood purchase? For now, send an email to and we can help you get the right material as quickly as possible.
Phil Makin

Wood Recovery Team