Qualities and Uses for Sweet Gum

A small sawmiller sees his first load of Gum wood, and gets advice about its value and how to handle it. June 22, 2005

I bought a new bandmill a few months ago for my own use. I built a barn for a vacation cabin and am using wood I saw to finish it out - hard maple flooring, building my own cabinets, etc.

My question is, most of the wood I cut I have a purpose for, or the person it belongs to tells me what they want. I got a call recently from someone who said he had some sweet gum and white oak loaded in his dump truck and asked if I wanted it. I said I did, and when I got home there were 10 logs in the yard, and 7 were sweet gum 20" x 10'. I know what to do with the oak, but I am wondering how I should saw the gum to make it a resale item?

Forum Responses
(Sawing and Drying Forum)
From contributor T:
I believe sweet gum is the same as red gum, which was used as high quality millwork in many of the houses that were in the High Park area of Toronto back in the 20's. It’s beautiful wood. The red gum would be the darker heartwood of the sweet gum trees.

From contributor A:
Sweet gum is a great wood, but it cups and twists when it dries. If you cut it extra thick and pile a ton of brick on the pile as it dries, you can get something to use when it is dry.

From Gene Wengert, forum technical advisor:
The heartwood of sweet gum is reddish, and is therefore called red gum. The sapwood is white and is called sapgum. Both are excellent wood. Both like to warp when drying, so use all the standard methods to prevent warp. Process the wood before the weather warms to avoid stains.