Firewood Treasures

Baugher's Plum
(Prunus americana)

About five years ago I asked Alan Baugher, owner of Baugher’s Orchard and Restaurant (where they serve those marvelous pies in Westminster, MD) if he had any fruit wood that I could have. Orchards are continuously replacing old trees with new ones, and Baugher’s is no exception. To my surprise, he told me to bring over my chain saw and he’d let me harvest an old plum tree myself. The tree I settled on was at least 25 years old and badly infected with borers. The six inch base and a couple of the larger branches, however, still contained some good wood.

Plum, like most fruitwoods, is very hard and fine-grained. Unlike most others, however, plum wood is highly figured with streaks of pink, red, and, well, plum-colored extractives. Beyond being hard to cut, plum is also very difficult to season. It has a great tendency to check (crack) during seasoning, and what doesn’t check, warps. So the yield in usable wood from the bole of a plum tree is very low. But what you get is well worth the effort, highly figured and finishes out to a smoothness rivaled only by dogwood. The creamy sapwood ages to golden brown, the figuring to rich tones of chocolate and maroon.

How to Contact Us