Once you extract your cores from the tree, what do you do with them? First, let them air dry inside your straw. You may have to slit the straw if you use plastic ones. Push them out gently (a bicycle spoke works great) and maintain the order of the pieces if the core is broken up. Sometimes they'll be complete cores, other times they've break up into several pieces. That's OK. Now you need to mount the cores somehow...
is part owner of Custom Woodwork by Billy Jack, which
supplies core mounts made of yellow poplar: "We have been
supplying core mounting sticks for several research labs in
the lower US and Alaska for the past ten years or so. Dr. Ed
Cook sent me a sample and these are made to his
specifications. They are made from yellow poplar and are
3/8" x 3/8" by 4 feet in length. The present price is 35
cents per linear foot plus shipping (ask for shipping prices
and details). The name of our business is CUSTOM WOODWORK BY
BILLY JACK. You may contact us by telephone at 601-928-3801,
email@example.com or fax 601-928-3527. We have added
an additional size of core mounts - 19mm wide x 16mm high by
4 feet in length designed for holding 0.5" diameter cores
used in archaeological analyses as well as regular studies.
These mounts are made to the specifications approved by Dr.
Henri D. Grissino-Mayer of the University of Tennessee. The
cost per linear foot is 75 cents plus shipping (ask for
shipping information and prices)."
Custom Woodwork by Billy Jack
149 Breland Road
Perkinston, Mississippi 39573 USA
Dayton C. Gank, Proprietor
A West Virginia company also makes core mounts for dendrochronological research. They are 3/8-in. X 3/4-in. X 4-ft. with a beveled top containing a semi-circular notch to hold samples and come neatly bundled in packages of 500 linear feet. Dayton sells them for $375.00 per 1000 linear feet (orders can be in increments of 500 feet), made from clear yellow poplar which is easy to work with. Contact:
Dayton C. Gank, Proprietor
Frame and Trim Molding
Terra Alta, West Virginia 26764-9541 USA
Although Dayton takes credit cards and works closely with university payment systems, we encourage everyone to pay by check/purchase order when possible because of the hefty fees assessed by credit card companies.
Rob Argent gives these instructions for making core mounts:
Buy 3 meter lengths of 9 mm X 9 mm hardwood from your local building supplier. Buy a router bit that will cut a 6mm diameter semi-circular groove (such as a 6 mm (1/4") Core Box Router Bit, e.g. Carb-I-Tool T408 in Australia). Find a table router in your nearest wood machining workshop (i.e. a large machine with a centrally placed router bit facing upwards and a flat top over which the wood moves). It might be possible to use a hand-held router, but it would need to be well set up so that the wood was very stable. Set up the bit in the router, adjust the guides so that the groove will be cut centrally on the wood face, and slowly cut the groove in the wood. Make sure that the bit remains clear of swarf (woody debris).
Mounting your cores
The grooves should be about the width of your cores. When gluing your cores, make sure the core is aligned exactly as it was inside the tree. To do this, look at each side of the core. You should see a shiny band alongside each core representing wood cells that were "ripped" longitudinally by your increment borer. These represent the sides of the core. On conifers, you can look at the end of each core and you'll see the vertical alignment of cells. Make sure the cells go up and down when you mount the core. Pour Elmer's glue into the groove, and place the core inside the groove. To make sure the core stays put while it's drying (cores sometimes like to warp), wrap the core and core mount with string (if you have individual core mounts) or masking tape. Alternatively, you can place a weight on top of the core until it's dry.
Once dry, it's best if you cut the cores so that each core has its own mount. This way, you can slide the cores alongside each other under a microscope. A band saw or table saw can easily do this, but it's best if the core mounts are made and sawn before the cores are glued down.