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Burnt Tree/ Wood ID?

Discussion in 'Woodturning Discussion Forum' started by Tom Albrecht, Oct 17, 2020.

  1. Tom Albrecht

    Tom Albrecht

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    A tree that I helped my dad plant about 65 years ago was recently severely burnt during a garage fire next door, and it will be removed. I want to get some turnable chunks, but my son is afraid that it is a Yew. Can I get some burnt tree id help?
    burnt tree - 1.jpeg burnt tree - 2.jpeg
     
  2. Randy Anderson

    Randy Anderson

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    I use an app called PictureThis that is great for identifying plants. I've never had it fail on trees where you can get leaves and it is darn good with just bark. Your bark might be beyond its ability but it appears you have some green parts to work with. Maybe.... It's free for a bit and then they want you to pay to get rid of adds. I just keep using it for free...
     
  3. Fred Belknap

    Fred Belknap

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    Just curious, is there some reason not to turn a yew tree? It looks like a type of cedar but I'm far from being an expert on ID-ing trees.
     
    Charles Cadenhead likes this.
  4. Lou Jacobs

    Lou Jacobs

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    Can’t quite see the picture of needles too clearly. Is there a sharp point on the ends of the needles? Did the tree have small fleshy berries? That would be typical of yew. Yew is toxic but is also used for turning, and traditionally for English long bows. We have a beautiful small yew bowl we bought from a turner on a trip to Ireland. Use it quite a bit and haven’t reacted to it yet.
     
  5. Gerald Lawrence

    Gerald Lawrence

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  6. Tom Albrecht

    Tom Albrecht

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    Thanks Gerald. That is an informative link. It says that the poisonous parts are “bark, fruit, leaves, seeds.”

    What about the wood itself? Would a bowl or vessel made of yew contain toxins?
     
  7. Richard Coers

    Richard Coers

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    Google says this about yew; Of most concern is that the dust is highly toxic to some people (more people than with other woods) causing breathing difficulties, sneezing fits and dermatitis (especially swelling of hands)
     
  8. Bill Boehme

    Bill Boehme Administrator Staff Member

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    I read that all parts of the yew except for the fleshy part of the fruit are toxic. However, you might swallow a seed while eating the fruit. Even though there are numerous species of yew, it appears that they all are toxic. This might be a good opportunity to see how good your Versaflo respirator works if you decide to turn some pieces. The shop hazmat clean up afterwards might make this more work than it's worth.
     
  9. Tom Albrecht

    Tom Albrecht

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    Thanks everyone. I’ll take a pass on working with this nostalgic tree.
     
  10. Lou Jacobs

    Lou Jacobs

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    Here’s our small Irish Yew bowl. If it were me, I’d go for it - carefully. It’s beautifully tight-grained wood 3BDCDC0B-8996-4DBB-AFF1-DE02D39EC706.jpeg 598A963D-996C-4ED7-A79D-DCCC8CCD9886.jpeg
     
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  11. Roger Wiegand

    Roger Wiegand

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    Sometimes those toxins are good for you. Pacific yew tree (Taxus brevifolia) is the source of Taxol (Paclitaxel), one of the most successful anti-cancer drugs used in the treatment of breast, lung, and ovarian cancer, as well as Kaposi's sarcoma. Not suggesting you eat it, just a fun fact.
     
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  12. Tom Albrecht

    Tom Albrecht

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    Well, if I had a setup like Boehme's, with the Robust outside, I'd go for it. I do have a full respirator, but the thought of all the allergic dust in my basement shop is a deal breaker.
     
  13. Leo Van Der Loo

    Leo Van Der Loo

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    Yes it looks like a Yew tree to me.

    I have turned several pieces from Yew tree wood, never had any problems with it, people have worked that wood for centuries in Europe, oh and yes I ate a lot of the berries, but spit out the pits as a kid, no ill affect :).

    The tree grows very slow, I have a pic. here from a tree that was planted (as was done often) when this Abdij where it grows was build in 1680.

    Yew rootburl.jpg Yew hollow form.jpg Yew budvase.jpg
    Yew tree and me.jpg
     
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  14. Bill Boehme

    Bill Boehme Administrator Staff Member

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    It looks like the date on the bottom of your yew bowl says 1960 so you might have been five or six years old when you made it? :)

    Perhaps an opportunity for a new hobby ...amateur oncology. :D :eek:
     
  15. Lou Jacobs

    Lou Jacobs

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    Bill, I didn’t make that bowl. Bought it from an Irish turner’s shop. I believe the notation is 19/60. His inventory shorthand. It corresponded to a number on a price list where we could find what he was asking for each piece. It actually seemed like a good idea for pricing and inventory without having to put a sticker on the piece. I think we were there in 2016, so if there is reference to the year in the notation it was not quickly evident.
     
  16. Dean Center

    Dean Center

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    A few years ago, I obtained some Rocky Mountain Juniper ('cedar') that had burned in a fire. The trees and shrubs were instantly dehydrated by the fire, yet the wood didn't crack. Possibly other woods would not have fared so well. In any case, your yew is probably not "green" wood any longer.

    Didn't the Brits make their long bows out of yew? Perhaps handling the wood is potentially irritating but not toxic.
     
  17. robo hippy

    robo hippy

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    I am wondering if we have a couple of different species of Yew. I am used to the one that taxol comes from, which can grow very tall and you could get some excellent long bow blanks from. They don't have those berries though. I remember some from when I was a kid in the midwest, and they were more shrubs and had the red berries. Never saw any that got anywhere near a size you could get long bow blanks from. Never saw one that got close to the size of the one that Leo is standing next to...

    robo hippy
     
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  18. Leo Van Der Loo

    Leo Van Der Loo

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    Reed the Pacific Yew was used for the Taxol, but that is now made from the European (AKA common Yew) Yew trees leafs, easier to harvest without wiping a species out.

    We had a Yew hedge around our front flower garden in The Netherlands, it never got the berries as it was all male plants, some times you can have those or a female plant and that will get the berries.

    The Pacific Yew is a smaller Yew hardly ever getting over 2 feet in Diameter and 20 meter tall, where the common is grown over 8 meter in Diameter and 2000 year old.

    Pacific Yew.jpg
    Yew species.jpg

    French old large Yew tree.jpg
     
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  19. Michael Nathal

    Michael Nathal

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    There are some yew hollow forms posted in the gallery today
     
  20. Tom Albrecht

    Tom Albrecht

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    Yes there are. I’ll have to try to get his input.
     

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