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Crazy mulberry

Discussion in 'Woodturning Discussion Forum' started by Darrell Stokes, Aug 6, 2020.

  1. Darrell Stokes

    Darrell Stokes

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    I got this mulberry wood today for free via Craigslist. I’ve never seen these red patterns before. Is this common in mulberry?

    Edit 2020-08-07: Sorry, everyone! I didn't read the rules about image posting, and posted those pics to the gallery. They were rightly removed. Here's the original photo:

    IMG_4285.jpg
     
    Last edited: Aug 7, 2020
  2. Gary Beasley

    Gary Beasley

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    Are you sure its mulberry? Looks like flame box elder
     
  3. Darrell Stokes

    Darrell Stokes

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    Nope, I’m not sure—that’s just what the guy I got it from told me. It was in his mother’s yard. I’ll have to do more research!
     
  4. Richard Coers

    Richard Coers

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    no question, that's box elder. Fresh cut mulberry is bright yellow with white sapwood.
     
    Russell Karkheck likes this.
  5. Gary Beasley

    Gary Beasley

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  6. Lou Jacobs

    Lou Jacobs

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    The wood will turn beautifully, but over time the red figure will fade a bit to a brownish.
     
  7. Darrell Stokes

    Darrell Stokes

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    Excellent! I’m in the middle of rough-turning a bowl now. It’s sad that the red will fade, but still, it’s spectacular.
     
  8. Russell Nugent

    Russell Nugent

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    Wait till you put an oil finish on it. Really stands out then.
     
  9. Richard Coers

    Richard Coers

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    I don't like oil on box elder. It can muddy the light color. Spray lacquer is much better, water based imparts little color at all. This piece has Krylon Fixatif
     

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    Last edited: Aug 6, 2020
  10. Russell Nugent

    Russell Nugent

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    Ok. That's good
     
  11. Darrell Stokes

    Darrell Stokes

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    Wow, I see what you mean. Thanks for that tip.
     
  12. Darrell Stokes

    Darrell Stokes

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    Have you ever turned green box elder to finish instead of twice-turning? How does it hold up in drying? Is it prone to cracking, or mainly just moving in shape?
     
  13. charlie knighton

    charlie knighton

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    a green bowl will wrap....hf green will hold its shape as long as opening smaller than width.....pretty much all woods except that Texas wood
     
  14. Richard Coers

    Richard Coers

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    Box elder turns very easily, is soft, and not prone to cracking. It can be a little stringy when turned wet, so a shearing cut is required. That little hollow form I posted just weighs ounces, wall thickness of 3/32, turned from green to finished in one session.
     
  15. Darrell Stokes

    Darrell Stokes

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    Good to know. I rough-turned the first piece, but I think I'll fully turn the next one and see how it turns out.

    IMG_4289.jpeg
     
    Charles Cadenhead likes this.
  16. hockenbery

    hockenbery AAW Advisor Staff Member

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    Bleach in box Elder will Take out the yellow and turn it white which makes the red pop.
    These were bleached and then finished with a water based poly with uv inhibited added. E1237F8D-C366-4128-81E0-A89B34D499B0.jpeg
     
  17. Dean Center

    Dean Center

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    If you keep it out of sunlight, including indoor sunlight, the red can last years.
     
  18. John Walls

    John Walls

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    I have a shed full of box-elder, love the color! When you say bleached, how do I go about that? I want the red to pop and the rest like your examples, white. Full strength or diluted, soak it, how long? I have some Elm with coloring, would it also work for that species?

    I've found when using this wood, if I turn small bowls/boxes, I can microwave for 1.5 minutes and it dries out pretty good with little to no warping (saw it in a video). Wife will make comments about the smell so I do it when she's off doing her thing.
     
  19. hockenbery

    hockenbery AAW Advisor Staff Member

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    I use 2 part wood bleach by Klean Strip. There was an article in the AAW journal on making you own.
    Pretty simple. Part A Is mostly lye and part B is mostly hydrogen peroxide.
    Klean strip is hard to get now. Home Depot stopped carrying it a long time back.

    I Wear goggles and nitrile gloves.
    I mix the two parts and use a foam brush to wet the whole piece. When it dries it bleaches.
    Putting the piece in the sun on a nice day can speed. Takes about an hour to dry.
    A second bleach coat is seldom necessary but can be done as soon as the first is dry if you think it needs it.
     
  20. Timothy Allen

    Timothy Allen

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  21. Darrell Stokes

    Darrell Stokes

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    W
    Wow, those are gorgeous. I haven’t tried bleaching yet, but maybe that’s in my near future.
     
  22. Darrell Stokes

    Darrell Stokes

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    I went back for one piece of box elder that was left. What would be the best way to process this for bowls and/or platters, given the shape? I've really only processed much rounder stuff so far.

    (Human added for scale.)
     

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  23. hockenbery

    hockenbery AAW Advisor Staff Member

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    Darrel , these buttresses/ lobes offer some excellent natural edge opportunities. The oval ness of the one at the top will give really high end wings for a dramatic rim.

    piece A on the right will have a really cool lookin rim on the end facing. If the indent goes to the other end that would be extra if not you will have terrific NE Rim with a more regular rim on the other end sort of a heart shape.

    all the other lobes offer similar rims. These are rims you rarely get from logs.


    0375B4BF-942D-48C6-B3C9-FC530C580DEB.jpeg

    This bowl about 12” diameter came from a beech tree with a similar base to you box elder.
    Something like piece “A” but a deeper notch than yours appears to have. This piece looks so much better without the bark.

    36C9C221-ED54-47FF-B563-A02341395F25.jpeg
     
    Last edited: Aug 12, 2020
  24. Darrell Stokes

    Darrell Stokes

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    Thanks a lot, Al. I need to get tools for hollowing so I can advance to vases and hollow forms. For now, I’m making NE bowls from this box elder and it’s lovely.
     
  25. Davey Jones Johnson

    Davey Jones Johnson

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    yep mulberry is positively bright yellow for a while after it is fresh cut. like all wood will darken in time. I have a bowl I did years ago in now a light brown. I turned it green, few days later took in the factory and sand blasted it in a cabinet sand blaster. tis a neat effect. a wire wheel will do the same but limited. you got a better deal with the box elder, but NOT all Box elder has the red.
     
    Darrell Stokes likes this.

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