Lumber Making #2: American Tulip Tree Bowl Blanks

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Blog entry by Dorje posted 07-08-2007 09:25 AM 6432 reads 0 times favorited 11 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 1: A "Mini" Series - up to present Part 2 of Lumber Making series Part 3: Maple in the works... »

Today I had the good fortune of cutting up a bunch of American Tulip Tree bowl blanks. Called various things around here, such as Tulip Poplar, Tulipwood, Tulip Maple, this is supposed to be some good bowl turning material. It’s really a Magnolia family tree – I think the biggest of the Magnolias, and it ‘s called Liriodendron tulipfera. I’ve really admired these trees when I’ve come across them around town for the past few years.

I saw a craiglist post on the wood last week, didn’t get there til today, but I sure was pleased to see four very large rounds that were too heavy to be taken by the firewood hoarders (I’m one of them – just not at present). Unfortunately, the rounds were only 16-17” in length, but 29-30” in diameter! I would have liked to have them 20” or so long, just for the added insurance of getting big bowl blanks out of these. I don’t think these are going to chuck up all that well on my Jet mini lathe! But, by the time these are stable and ready to turn, I should have that bigger lathe – which one though? That’s another story. Back to the WOOD!

Here’s the truck back at home with the booty, half waxed – I think I got ten or so blanks, some of which I may divide into smaller blanks (after I took this shot, I peeled the bark off all the blanks in the process):

This chunk here is 16”x 27” – so I figure this will make a nice all heartwood bowl:

If you haven’t seen the leaves and flowers of this tree, they’re real interesting!

Here’s more info on Tulipwood, should you be interested:

-- Dorje (pronounced "door-jay"), Seattle, WA

11 comments so far

View MsDebbieP's profile


18615 posts in 4186 days

#1 posted 07-08-2007 10:22 AM

We planted a Tulip Tree 2 years ago. No flowers yet. I’m so excited. Can’t wait until it flowers. They say that it might have to be 7-10 years old before it flowers. We’re getting closer.

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (

View Dorje's profile


1763 posts in 4022 days

#2 posted 07-08-2007 10:24 AM

That’s what I’ve heard with other Magnolias – 6-7 years as the minimum.

-- Dorje (pronounced "door-jay"), Seattle, WA

View Sawhorse's profile


281 posts in 4466 days

#3 posted 07-08-2007 12:33 PM

Nice haul…

-- Sawhorse - Sulphur Springs, TX -

View Lee A. Jesberger's profile

Lee A. Jesberger

6859 posts in 4005 days

#4 posted 07-08-2007 03:17 PM

Hi Dorje,

It’s a pretty sick bunch that looks at the back of a pick up truck, sees some firewood, and says ooh.

I’m really starting to worry about me now!


-- by Lee A. Jesberger

View Karson's profile


35125 posts in 4426 days

#5 posted 07-08-2007 03:25 PM

Good insight Lee. We all are a little strange at times

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Southern Delaware soon moving to Virginia †

View Bob Babcock's profile

Bob Babcock

1809 posts in 4112 days

#6 posted 07-08-2007 05:57 PM

Nice haul Dorje.

-- Bob

View Douglas Bordner's profile

Douglas Bordner

4024 posts in 4089 days

#7 posted 07-08-2007 07:08 PM

He’s even gotten me salivating over logs. This greenwood turning is infectious.

-- "Bordnerizing" perfectly good lumber for over a decade.

View Dorje's profile


1763 posts in 4022 days

#8 posted 07-09-2007 08:13 AM

Yes, a little strange are we…

-- Dorje (pronounced "door-jay"), Seattle, WA

View rondo's profile


4 posts in 2854 days

#9 posted 07-16-2013 06:23 AM

What a coincidence! I just loaded up my pickup this afternoon with tulip wood. I’ve befriended a tree cutter, who called today to tell me to get over to his woodlot before the stuff got split into firewood. Looks like it’s going to be pretty nice, esp. if I can turn a few endgrain. Gotta admit, it’s a shame to go over there and see oak, black walnut and redwood cut into firewood (the redwood was 6 ft in dia) The tulip wood was up to 30” dia x 24” long. With a few blocks as steps, I was able to get some 24” pieces, plus some smaller into my pickup. There’s some interesting patterns there…

View rondo's profile


4 posts in 2854 days

#10 posted 07-16-2013 06:25 AM

And Dorje, thanks for the background info. This is a new wood for me.

View rondo's profile


4 posts in 2854 days

#11 posted 07-16-2013 06:28 AM

@Doug Bordner: There’s a problem with me turning green wood: At some point, someone’s got to come pull me out of the shavings!

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