Just before Christmas I got a message from a friend who is the head gardener at a local National Trust property. Did I want a Elm tree? It had died in 2016, he was worried that branches might start falling off and hitting the visitors, so he'd got the tree surgeons in and they were about to cut it down.
When I got there they had cut all the branches off, and I was looking at fifteen feet of pristine tree trunk; perfectly round, no side branches, and dead straight. About 18 inches wide at the bottom, and 12 inches at the top. I watched the tree surgeon cut it down and then asked him to cut it into 3 foot lengths, which I marked out for him. The tree was in the way, and I needed to do something quick with it or it would be burnt.
Next day my son and I went back with the splitting gear. We split the heaviest logs in half, so we could lift them, and after several car journeys the whole lot was in a pile outside my workshop. As an added bonus, we also had several branches, dead straight, about 8 inch diameter, and about 3 foot long.
It was the most unusual Christmas present I've ever had, but I was about to get another. When my wife asked how I was going to cut it all up I said I would need a bandsaw. A big one.
"About a thousand pounds"
Amazingly, and I still can't believe this, she said,
"Well get one then".
So I did. It came just before Christmas.
I have never sawn logs into planks on a bandsaw, but have made a start. I split one half log into quarters, planed one split face flat on my planer, and cut a few 1" boards, maximum width about 8" (the saw has a 12" maximum depth of cut) .
The half inch blade supplied with the saw made a good job of 8" x 1" boards, but I am aware that cutting thin guitar backs, and sides, might be a different ball game. So any advice about doing this will be greatly appreciated.
Oh yes, and is English Elm a suitable wood for the back and sides of a Classical guitar? In asking this I am mindful of the fact that Elm is a rare wood these days, and isn't seen much. But it is a beautiful wood, with a good colour, and interesting grain.