Sinker logs: Cutting, use and grading

A quick review of the cutting, use, and grading of lumber from sinker logs. June 20, 2000

I have several questions concerning sinker logs:

1. Does the pitch have to be set at 180 degrees F for 24 hours as with new-growth pine when kiln-drying?

2. Is the sapwood usable if the logs have been submerged since floating them downstream?

3. How are these boards graded, as they appear to be worth a considerable amount of money?

4. Are there any publications that pertain to this type of wood?

5. Are there any solutions that you can apply to the band (Woodmizer)that stops pitch buildup?

(1) Yes.

(2) As usable as it was when the logs sank, but it is possible that deterioration began before sinking or that the sapwood turned soft when sunken, due to mechanical abrasion. (More of a problem if in salt water.)

(3) The key is finding a market to pay extra for sunken timbers and the lumber from them. There is a very small market, and I think that this market is saturated (no pun intended) already. So the outlets for more sunken wood will not be much (if any) above the typical market price for softwoods.

One of the sunken wood companies that has public stock has seen its stock fall in value quite a bit -- I think that this mainly reflects the lack of markets that will pay the higher cost for the lumber.

(4) None that I know of.

(5) Search the archives here for info on pitch and gum removal from sawblades.
Gene Wengert, forum moderator