Dave Mather Pecky Cypress

    We recently returned from our traditional mud-season vacation. This year we spent it in the South. Typically I couldn't help myself and felt compelled to explore rural nooks and crannies until I ferreted out some new wood sources. One of these sources can supply us with "Pecky Cypress" lumber, which is extremely popular down south for natural and pickled wall and ceiling paneling. I have some samples of pecky cypress at our shop and would like to see if we can generate some interest in that product. Consequently, I would like to partially repeat last August's issue of Splendid Splinters, which explained that unlike "Buggy Butternut", and "Wormy Chestnut", bugs do not cause the long worm-like holes in this wood.
    "Pecky cypress" or "peckiness" occurs in the bald cypress tree (Taxodium Distichum (L.) Rich.) and it is the fungus Stereum Taxodii that causes this brown "pocket rot". The fungus usually enters the crown and slowly works down through the heartwood to the base of the tree. Once it is felled and sawed out, all fungal activity stops. As long as there is enough wood in between the pockets for strength, there is no utilization problem. The pockets are finger-sized and run with the grain for a distance of 6" to a foot or more. At its early stage the "pecks" are only faintly discolored but eventually become dark "friable" masses of decayed wood.


© 2001 by David Mather. All rights reserved. No parts of this publication may be reproduced in any form or by any means without the written permission of the author.