How do I get specific logs.
August 17, 2021 7:23 PM   Subscribe

I need to obtain specific varieties of hardwood logs, not milled lumber, to grow mushrooms on. Weird thing is, there's no log store to go to. I don't know how to get some logs.

One of many newfound pandemic hobbies has been cultivating mushrooms. I've done all sorts (bioluminescent ones were a particularly fun experiment), but so far have only ventured into ones that require more of a compost-style medium to grow on.

I'd like to branch out (ha! sorry!) to ones that thrive on hardwoods. I've got a short list of logs I'd like to get. They don't need to be big necessarily, maybe 4ft. If one human could manage to move them around that would be ideal. I don't need whole trees, just a few feet of log, or a few rounds for four or five specific hardwoods. I would prefer not to go poaching in the forrest.

Most hardwood would do in a pinch if I have no choice, but I would prefer some white oak and some beech.

I am in Portland, Oregon. General advice is great, but specific advice would be dreamy too. Who's your log hookup?
posted by furnace.heart to Food & Drink (12 answers total)
Best answer: Learn to recognize the tree species you’re looking for. Keep some room in your car’s trunk or cargo area. Watch for tree services taking down trees. Ask nicely.
posted by jon1270 at 7:39 PM on August 17, 2021 [3 favorites]

Best answer: Call some arborists/tree services. I use For the Love of Trees for tree care, they might have some ideas.
posted by janell at 7:42 PM on August 17, 2021 [6 favorites]

Best answer: Have you checked Craigslist? Back when I was into woodworking, it used to be a thing to find people posting wood, especially after storms. If someone has a tree that fell, it’s an easy way to make a few (or more than a few, if you know the value of certain hardwoods) bucks. I guess FB Marketplace is the new CL, so check that too.

Other than that, yeah, check with tree services.
posted by kevinbelt at 7:43 PM on August 17, 2021 [2 favorites]

Best answer: White oak and beech are going to be hard to find in the Portland area. You're definitely not going to find them out in the forest. Does the exact species matter? For instance, does it matter if you get European beech (Fagus sylvatica) as opposed to American beech (Fagus grandifolia)? Can your white oak be any of the species referred to as white oaks, including Oregon white oak (Quercus garryana) or does it need to be Quercus alba? You'll want to find out the answer before you start trying to hunt down logs. Once you know exactly which species will work, checking with a tree service seems like a good idea. It appears that people also sell mushroom logs online. There are a lot on Etsy.
posted by Redstart at 7:58 PM on August 17, 2021 [3 favorites]

Best answer: Here in Wisconsin you could solve this by calling a firewood guy. The challenge for white oak and beech is that neither grows naturally west of the Mississippi, so you aren’t going to find a lot of them around.
posted by rockindata at 7:58 PM on August 17, 2021

Best answer: And you shouldn’t ship logs around, it spreads tree diseases! Do Not Do. Work on the mushrooms that grow on Portland area wood, which can’t be a short list.
posted by clew at 8:39 PM on August 17, 2021 [11 favorites]

Best answer: Check with an apple orchard, especially a pick your own type place. It's not pruning season, but they might have something you can use now or later in the year.
posted by carrioncomfort at 4:06 AM on August 18, 2021 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Yeah, look into using logs that are native to your area. Maybe people at this native plant nursery could help.
posted by mareli at 4:19 AM on August 18, 2021 [1 favorite]

You could use fuel pellets, or chips meant for smokers. They often come as specific varieties, and can be found on ebay
posted by Jobst at 4:45 AM on August 18, 2021

Best answer: Can the wood be dried, either air or kiln? Does it have to be a full round?

If yes a search for white oak slabs or white oak live edge will get lots of results for 1-4" thick solid wood cut either longitudinal or across. Ignore the listings with four figure prices and drill down a bit and you'll find stuff for less than a hundred dollars. This sort of thing is also available locally most places at hardwood dealers but prices are higher because it is cabinet gradish.
posted by Mitheral at 6:41 AM on August 18, 2021

Response by poster: These all give me some really good ideas on where to focus my searches. I don't know why I didn't think of an arborist; we've used one for tree trimming in the past and I'll hit ours up. Ebay isn't even on my radar these days; that also looks promising.

I can't use damaged wood, because it is possible to likely that since it was damaged it is not healthy (and may already be colonized by something else that could compete with the mushrooms, and I don't have the pasteurization setup to really do whole logs).

Any hardwood will do, just some hardwoods would be better than others; Oregon white oak will totally work for shiitakes for example. I like trees but my taxonomy skills are not sufficient (yet) for the job of IDing trees out and about.

Pellets, chips and sawdust totally work, but they require more infrastructure than I can do right now. This is strictly an outdoor project, so logs are the best choice.
posted by furnace.heart at 6:56 AM on August 18, 2021

You can ask to receive logs on Chip Drop. You can request particular species, but not sure how well that works.
posted by momus_window at 4:25 PM on August 18, 2021

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