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Gum

Liquidamber styraciflua - Other Names: Redgum, Sapgum, Sweetgum
 
 

Stain Selector

Clear

Light

Medium

Dark

 

The origins of its Latin name, liquidamber styraciflua, are traced to the writings of Spanish explorer Hernando Cortez who, in 1519, described the gums as “large trees that exude a gum-like liquid amber in color".

Where It Grows

The gums are an important part of the Eastern hardwood forests, and are found throughout the Southeastern U.S. Average tree height is 80 to 120 feet: they prefer rich, moist soil and grow vigorously on occasionally flooded land.

Main uses

Cabinet making, furniture parts, doors, millwork, strips and mouldings, turnings and rail ties. Good substitute for walnut when stained.

Relative Abundance

Together, aspen, basswood, cottonwood, elm, gum, hackberry, sassafras, sycamore and willow represent 12.5 percent of commercially available U.S. hardwoods.

Did You Know?

Storax, the clear, balsamic oleoresin that the tree secretes, often is used for medicinal and pharmaceutical preparations and it is used for adhesives, incense, perfuming, powders and soaps.

General Description

The sapwood tends to be wide and is white to light pink, while the heartwood is reddish brown, often with darker streaks. The wood has irregular grain, usually interlocked, which produces an attractive figure. It has a fine uniform texture.

Working Properties

The wood is easy to work, with both hand and machine tools. It nails, screws and glues well, takes stain easily and can be sanded to an excellent finish. It dries rapidly with a strong tendency to warp and twist. It has a high shrinkage, and is susceptible to movement in performance.

Physical Properties

American gum is moderately hard, stiff and heavy and has a low steam-bending classification.

Availability

Readily available, often separated for color and sold as sapgum (sapwood) and redgum (heartwood).

Working Properties


Machining

 
 
 
 
 
Poor
Good

Nailing

 
 
 
 
 
Poor
Good

Screwing

 
 
 
 
 
Poor
Good

Gluing

 
 
 
 
 
Poor
Good

Finishing

 
 
 
 
 
Poor
Good
 

Strength and Mechanical Properties (inch-pound)a


 

Static Bending

Moisture Content

Specific Gravity (b)

Modulus of Rupture
(lbf/in2)

Modulus of Elasticity (c)
(106 lbf/in2)

Work to Maximum Load
(in-lbf/in3)

Green-12% 0.46-0.52 7,100-12,500 1.20-1.64 10.1-11.9

Impact Bending
to Grain
(in)

Compression
Parallel to Grain
(lbf/in2)

Compression
Perpendicular to Grain
(lbf/in2)

Shear
Parallel to Grain
(lbf/in2)

Tension
Perpendicular to Grain
(lbf/in2)

Side Hardness
(lbf)

32-36 3,040-6,320 370-620 990-1,600 540-760 600-850

a) Results of tests on small clear specimens in the green and air-dried conditions. Definition of properties; impact bending is height of drop that causes complete failure, using 0.71-kg (50 lb.) hammer; compression parallel to grain is also called maximum crushing strength; compression perpendicular to grain is fiber stress at proportional limit; shear is maximum shearing strength; tension is maximum tensile strength; and side hardness is hardness measured when load is perpendicular to grain.

b) Specific gravity is based on weight when ovendry and volume when green or at 12% moisture content

c) Modulus of elasticity measured from a simply supported, center-loaded beam, on a span depth ratio of 14/1. To correct for shear reflection, the modulus can be increased by 10%.