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Someone in my neighborhood if offering a bunch of elm wood for free, is it good for handles? 

It was all just fresh cut.

Need some answers quick because things near me tend to be picked up fast :)

 

Thanks 

Edited by Conner Michaux
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Perhaps you are mixing up or the elm in your area is harder, but here it is softer than maple, almost twice as soft as the sugar maple we've got here up north. A relatively soft hard wood. But it's tough and hard to split indeed. 

 

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I'd take it! 

Sometimes a plain wood can fit the look that you want. If its soft like Joël says it'd be great for carving. A wood that doesn't split easy is valuable in certain blades. 

If it's fresh cut and fairly small in diameter, leave the bark on, put it in a dry place, and forget you have it. It should be ready in 3-5 years. 

If its larger you may need to split it or saw it up. 

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Elm was used for the hubs for wagon wheels due to it's resistance to splitting, as Alan mentioned. This is caused by the tree having interlocking grain, where the grain in successive growth rings spiral around the tree in different directions.  I haven't worked with elm, as most of the trees where I'm located were killed by Dutch Elm Disease, but I would expect it to be tough to carve, as the grain will change directions a lot.  If you plan on shaping with a belt sander, you should be fine.  To dry it you should split any logs and coat the ends with wax or a green wood sealer such as Anchorseal.  Woodcraft sells it by the quart or gallon.

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Elm is nice for carving, as the grain doesn´t overpower the carving and it is hard enough to take fine detail.

A plain inexpensive hardwood is also nice as the under layer for leather- or wire wrapped handles and for wooden sheath cores.

If its free and you have the space to put it I would never say no to hardwood.

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Ill go pick some of it up later if theres some left, I have had an interest in carving spoons lately.

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