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You just never know what's inside old logs

Discussion in 'Woodturning Discussion Forum' started by Randy Anderson, Nov 13, 2020.

  1. Randy Anderson

    Randy Anderson

    Joined:
    May 25, 2019
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    Location (City & State):
    Eads, TN
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    At every market event I do I get several people that tell me about a tree in their yard and ask if I want it. My standard response is likely but, I don't take trees down and I can't haul off all the limbs and brush. Happy to come look at it and get what I can. They get one free bowl of their choice out of the haul and can buy others if they like. It's worked out well so far. At an event two weeks ago a lady that had asked if I was interested brought me a truck load of Catalpa that she says had been dead in her yard for 25+ years. She convinced her husband to pull the stump out of the ground. She loaded it and other pieces into her truck (by herself) and brought it to me. It looked terrible. Made old pieces of driftwood on the beach look good. Gnarly, covered in dirt and mud, etc. Didn't have heart to tell her no so we moved it to my truck and I hauled it home intending to go straight to the burn pile. Decided to cut it up and see what it was like inside before I threw it on the pile. Well, glad I didn't burn it. First small bowl, 5" across, looks great to me. Wood deep inside is stable and strong, no bug activity and turns well. A lot of work to get through the outside gnarl and dirt and stuff but worth it. I have enough for some larger pieces, hollow forms, etc. Net - at least cut an old log open and see what's inside. It might surprise you.
     

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  2. Roger Wiegand

    Roger Wiegand

    Joined:
    Nov 27, 2018
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    Location (City & State):
    Wayland, MA
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    Pretty wood! In theory it might grow here, but I've never seen one. Used to run into them when I lived in St. Louis.
     
  3. Gerald Lawrence

    Gerald Lawrence

    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2010
    Messages:
    1,794
    Location (City & State):
    Brandon, MS
    Yes and a nice little hole thru every limb. Great looking bowl
     
  4. Henry Novak

    Henry Novak

    Joined:
    Oct 4, 2020
    Messages:
    23
    Location (City & State):
    New Kensington, Pennsylvania
    Fantastic bowl !!
     
  5. BobCoates

    BobCoates

    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2008
    Messages:
    69
    I found that Catalpa is very stable. You can turn it as end grain (down the center) and not get any splits. I had a arborest cut a 1 inch slab from a branch and he said it would not split, and it didn't. Took a section of the the stump and attempted to make a cored set of bowls. Problem is that it is so tight grained that when I tried to separate the core, I got a funnel. Wish I could find some more.
     
  6. Leo Van Der Loo

    Leo Van Der Loo

    Joined:
    Oct 13, 2016
    Messages:
    374
    Location (City & State):
    Rainy River District Ontario Canada
    Very nice bowl Randy, good you ave it a try.

    I turned a bunch, funky smelling wood, fairly soft but it turns well, never splits, I still have some chunks sitting in my storage shed, I'll probably never get to it.

    The trees are quite common in SW Ontario, with their very long skinny beans on them they are hard to miss, also planted for their flowers and very large leaves, there are two types, one has much larger leaves.

    Even though it is fairly soft wood, it turns well and has a nice color, Have still larger bowl I never sold LOML confiscated it, with crotch figure and knots it has a very nice figured grain, and is also not heavy for the wood is like that, light weight.

    Catalpa bowl.jpg
     
  7. Gerald Lawrence

    Gerald Lawrence

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    Brandon, MS
    Oh forgot to say the worms on these trees make great fish bait.
     
  8. brian horais

    brian horais

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    Dec 20, 2014
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    Location (City & State):
    Knoxville, TN
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    Some of my best surprises within a log have been with box elder with cedar coming in a close second. The real beauty is often 'within'. All you have to do is to be willing to find it.
     
  9. John Torchick

    John Torchick

    Joined:
    Jan 24, 2010
    Messages:
    2,655
    Location (City & State):
    Cleveland, Tennessee
    1.That is beautiful grain in the wood! Looking forward for more turnings/
    2. Regarding catalpa worms, they are like rubber. Last for several fish. In Louisiana, they would turn them inside out on the hook for catfish.
     
  10. Davey Jones Johnson

    Davey Jones Johnson

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2020
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    16
    Location (City & State):
    Kokomo, IN
    those beans WILL sprout, my wife got a few to, and I planted one last year in front yrd at about 12" tall, along with some Miracal grow in the hole. it is about 10' tall now. I have turned some and like everything about the stuff. like all wood after turning/finishing keep it out of the sun light.
    I have also used hundreds of Catalpa worms as bait for catfish. N. cent. Indiana. We DO NOT attempt to turn them inside out. they will show up on the trees here in July if they do. they are the makings of the Sphinx Moth
     
    Last edited: Nov 15, 2020
  11. John Jordan

    John Jordan AAW Advisor

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    Location (City & State):
    Cane Ridge (Nashville), TN
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    Catalpa is the most stable wood we have, about the same as mesquite.
     
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  12. Randy Anderson

    Randy Anderson

    Joined:
    May 25, 2019
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    Location (City & State):
    Eads, TN
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    First 4 pieces done - 9 1/2", 7", 5" bowls and 8" vase. Four more pieces to work through. Having to turn whatever I think I can get out of the odd shaped piece. I'm pleased with it so far. Reminds me of sanding cedar, which I don't like working with. You can work it with 400 and still get scratches and need to go to 600 or 800 to get a nice finish on it but doesn't take long. Might be the age of what I have or just the way it sands..
     

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