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Old 26-04-2003, 01:28 PM
P van Rijckevorsel
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Default 5' diameter Burr Oak; oldest in South Dakota?

Archimedes Plutonium schreef
I own a large burr oak, in fact a cluster of about 5 burr oak trees. The

largest of which is approx. 5' in diameter trunk. I hate to cut it down if
this tree is the oldest burr oak in South Dakota. Anyone in South Dakota
have a larger Burr Oak than this?

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The biggest oak and the oldest oak may well be two different things
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Question: I know oak is a hard wood. And from looking at the growth

patterns of oak versus hickory I am wondering how is it that hickory wood
can withstand shock and heavy use in tool handles.

Oak trees generally can put out limbs that are almost parallel to the

ground. But hickory cannot do that. Cannot bear the weight of parallelism to
the ground.

So, is hickory wood really the best wood for tool handles or is oak wood

better? There maybe a difference in tensile strength and supporting

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The properties of wood are measured from clear trunk wood.
Hickory is the superior wood for tool handles which have to stand impact
(read hammer & axe handles). It will take more strength to break a hickory
handle than an oak handle of identical dimensions

Oak is a pretty strong wood too. IIRC it was one of the woods medieval
knights used for lances in tournaments

However the weight of branches is not directly supported by trunk wood but
by special wood around the base of a branch.
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Question: does hickory grow in England?

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These days it does but mostly in Arboreta: these become big trees and they
canot be transplanted. So to grow a hickory tree you need to really plan
ahead. Also they do not grow really fast
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I am remembering that the trebuchet was built with oak timbers. If hickory

grows in England, why did they not use hickory timbers for their trebuchets.

I seem to be detecting a contradiction here. We are come to believe that

hickory is the strongest wood for shock and tool handles. But is that really

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Yes it is. Matter of measuring
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Since hickory trees cannot grow limbs parallel with the ground, suggests

that the hickory wood is really not as strong as the oak wood.

My guess is that oak is the strongest wood because it can grow limbs

parallel to the ground with much ease.

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In the golden age of wooden warships special pieces of oak, with a natural
bend in them (a branch with trunk wood) were used for the frame of
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But that oak is more difficult to work with in crafting a tool handle

whereas the hickory is so much easier for a craftsman to fashion into a tool

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This proves not to be the case
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So that the endconclusion is that oak is the superior hard wood and that

hickory is just easier to work with.

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Oak is more durable and therefor for most purposes a hardwood superior to
hickory, but not in strength.
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P.S. Can I trim some limbs off of this 5' oak without killing the tree.

One limb runs clear across my yard and is parallel to the ground and so
unsightly. Do Burr Oak like being trimmed or do they hate it?

Archimedes Plutonium,
whole entire Universe is just one big atom where dots
of the electron-dot-cloud are galaxies

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All trees hate it when big limbs are trimmed off (the trick is to do it when
they are little).
Some trees can stand it fairly well.
Oaks do not seem to be among them.
I don't know about Burr Oak