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My neighbor cut down an old meyer lemon tree and gave me the wood.  Just got it so it will be drying for at least several months and I don't know much about it.  All I could find on the net was that the wood was hard and fine grained with little or no figure.  Anyone have any experience with lemon or citrus wood in model making?

My advice and comments are always worth what you paid for them.

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I have read that any citrus tree will produce good timber, as with just about any fruit or nut tree.  The drawback is the size of the lumber it produces, but that is not a concern for what we use it for.  The fresh cut wood should be left to dry for one year per inch of thickness.  A good idea would be for you to slice the wood into one inch thick slices and stack the lumber with one inch "sticks" separating the boards. Let us know how the wood works out. See you next January..........



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Congrats, citrus is supposed to be excellent for

our uses.  It is just darn near impossible to

obtain if you do not live in a subtropic region.


The method that I use now for framing has a need for

2 inch thick stock if building a 3rd rate or larger at

1:60 or larger is a project.  Otherwise, 1 inch is just

the ticket and should be treated as Jim has advised. 


In addition coating the cut ends (including cut off

branches) with a thick coat of latex paint if you have

any left over from house painting, or varnish or

coat with melted paraffin.  The point is to slow

the rate of water loss to something close to or less than

the rate from the side surface.  In most species of trees

this reduced checking and splitting.

Once you have the billets, you can use the bandsaw to freehand

shave off the bark.  This speeds water loss or at least equalizes

the rate at that surface and removes any bark beetle infestation.

If you do not have use of a bandsaw, a draw knife is a quick way

to shave off the bark.  Other edge tools work, it just takes more work.

NRG member 45 years



HMS Centurion 1732 - 60-gun 4th rate - Navall Timber framing

HMS Beagle 1831 refiit  10-gun brig with a small mizzen - Navall (ish) Timber framing

The U.S. Ex. Ex. 1838-1842
Flying Fish 1838  pilot schooner -  framed - ready for stern timbers
Porpose II  1836  brigantine/brig - framed - ready for hawse and stern timbers
Vincennes  1825  Sloop-of-War  -  timbers assembled, need shaping
Peacock  1828  Sloop-of -War  -  timbers ready for assembly
Sea Gull  1838  pilot schooner -  timbers ready for assembly
Relief  1835  ship - timbers ready for assembly


Portsmouth  1843  Sloop-of-War  -  timbers ready for assembly
Le Commerce de Marseilles  1788   118 cannons - framed

La Renommee 1744 Frigate - framed - ready for hawse and stern timbers


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Got the wood de-barked.  Used a 1" chisel as the trunk of the tree is fluted and a draw knife will only hit the high areas.

Painted the ends and cut a few pieces to see what it looks like.  Found some insect damage and staining under the bark.  Wood is nearly white (sort of a very light cream color) but still pretty wet so probably going to change color a bit as it seasons.  I will cut out the stained areas for pen blanks.  A friend of mine is a pen turner and I send him pieces of interesting wood.  Very hard wood.  Might make a good substitute for holly.

My advice and comments are always worth what you paid for them.

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I just had three trees harvested. A Pecan, Cherry and a Walnut. Research suggested two years to dry and cure. To hasten this I have had the logs cut to 24" (rough) an then used my band saw to create 1-1/2" x 3-4" x 24"billets (no bark) and stacked and cross stacked. Hopefully I can use them in a year.

Edited by Dupree Allen



"A slow steady hand conquers a fast shaky mind" - me



HMS Triton 1:32 Cross Section

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  • 3 years later...

Yes, small pieces of almost any North American wood, actually anything about 1 1/2" thick will dry in a year indoors, in the house that has heat on over the winter, not a shed. The relative humidity in winter in most homes with central heating is basically the same as a wood kiln. It can actually dry too fast, but so much depends on the species. Of the three species you mentioned, cherry is the trickiest. I think if it's cut in the growing season it has too much moisture and cracks fast. Hickory can be like that too, but not Pecan for some reason. Walnut is not a problem to air dry, even in massive thicknesses. That's my experience. The most important thing is to get rid of all bark and inner bark, that's where the bug eggs are, and coat the end grain with many coats of paint, glossier is better, 3 coats is minimum for big pieces, or a couple coats of wood glue. The emulsified wax that they sell for this purpose is good, but not more effective than wood glue. It's just soft and clear so the grain can be seen and tools aren't blunted. The advantage of glue and latex paint is that it will be carried into cracks by capillary action and hold them shut. Oil base paint is actually better for preventing moisture transmission but doesn't have the same capillary-gluing effect. If you've got short precious pieces with end checking, such as you often get from "firewood." Unknown-1.jpeg.81fb86246d6afa76c5d24d50201b66ba.jpegyou can stand them in a pan of wood glue diluted with methyl alcohol (blue wiper fluid). Capillary action will suck up the liquid and close the cracks, sometimes a few clamps will help close a crack. This works well with cherry. No amount of end coating can overcome the cracking of a round log as it dries. It does work for half logs. An unheated attic is a great place for drying and storing lumber if you have one. The temp will get high enough in the summer to keep vermin and fungus at bay, and the relative humidity will be very good year round. The year per inch thickness rule is for air drying stacks of milled hardwood lumber outdoors. Covered and stickered flat is how they do it. In olden times wood was air dried vertically and allowed to warp or split as it pleased, doesn't even need to be covered because the rain will drip down the sides and not soak the wood too much. Defects were worked around, and crooks were used for furniture parts. Construction lumber was used green. 


Edited by Carlos Reira
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