Score! #3: - OR - What Did You Do With YourOwnBadSelf Between 11 & 1 Today?

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Blog entry by Mark Wilson posted 01-27-2016 10:35 PM 1869 reads 0 times favorited 24 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 2: Mexican Fan Palm Trunk Chunks Part 3 of Score! series Part 4: Update on the Eucalyptus - OR - WOW! I'm Big And strong »

I got a backache. That’s what I did.
First, there was the call of the mighty chainsaws. I scanned the horizon (the rooftops across the street). I saw a man in a basket. I witnessed parts of that Eucalyptus tree around the corner, succumbing and being overtaken by gravity. I walked around the corner, eyes in a glaze. Immediately, one of the guys walks up to me.

“You want some of this wood?” saith he.
I opened my mouth, and spake these words:
“I want most , if not all of it.”
“Where’s your house?”
“Around the corner.”
“How much you want?”
I yammered something like, “I can’t say. There’s so much.”
“We’ll bring some to your house with the skip loader, if you want.”
On and on this went. I walked back and got my gloves and my buggy.
I parked as close as I could, without being in the way, put my gloves on, and started working on that backache I mentioned. Got what I could. Some logs had to be rolled like a barrel close enough to lever up onto the tailgate. I was getting no help, from either the cutting crew, who had finished cutting the tree down, and were on a break, or, any of the handful of neighbors who were out, watching the activity.
It’s late-January, here in Southern California. That means some of the flowering trees have started blooming. Miss Eucalyptus was blooming. Her blooming crown, now on the ground, was a treat for the bees. I’m allergic to bee stings. I’ve found, however, that, when bees are occupied with their business, they’re not interested in me. So, I didn’t worry about the bees. I just went about, humping the logs I could carry into my buggy, til “Chevy Tough” started seeming a little less-so.

I stood there looking longingly at that trunk. About thirteen feet of 2-1/2’ to 3’ diameter glorious Eucalyptus, containing, God knows how many, pieces of furniture. Longingly, I said. I have three perfectly good chainsaws that don’t work. Two, here.

Well, sir, the crew had very nicely-running chainsaws, and were more than wiling to make some custom cuts for me. That’s how I got the buggy load into manageable sizes. But, that trunk.
Back when the Maple tree, across the street from this tree came down, I shared my dismay at having to pass on the trunk. I didn’t take pictures of the Maple trunk. And I got an earful from some of you about how I could have thought of something, some way to get some of that trunk. I went home and got my camera.

Mr. Man began bucking the trunk, while I stood there, on the verge of tears. (I’m only being a little hyperbolic.)

While another guy started grinding the stump.

I watched, with heartache aplenty as the glorious crown of this majestic tree was shunted off to the bin.

And, on the bucking went.

VIMH: This is starting to look manageable.

Way ahead of you.

”’Scuze me, good sir on the skip loader.”


“Could you please, pretty please, take those two logs over to my house?” (The log with the “X” is just too big.”)

“Ask the Boss.” (The guy with the leafblower.)

“Yes, of course”, said he. “Lead him to your house. Lead on.”

“Thank you, so much.”

They went on the parkway, next to where the biggest piece of the Maple landed, because it was too big and heavy to put anywhere else. Compare the sizes. This Eucalyptus is, by far, the biggest bit of timber I’ve bagged, to date. I need a crane and a trailer to get anything bigger. And, chainsaws that work. And a chainsaw mill.

Now, I have to find some way to get that from my buggy to the back yard. (I’m really becoming the pride of the neighborhood, I imagine. No one’s complained yet. But you know what they’re thinking.)

Happy Mozart’s 260th birthday.

-- Mark

24 comments so far

View Mark Wilson's profile (online now)

Mark Wilson

1699 posts in 487 days

#1 posted 01-27-2016 10:41 PM

And here’s the tacky first comment from the author.
Mr. Skiploader got five bucks, for his trouble.

-- Mark

View kaerlighedsbamsen's profile


1170 posts in 1138 days

#2 posted 01-27-2016 10:44 PM

Nice find!
How is eucalyptus to work with?

-- "Do or Do not. There is no try." - Yoda

View Bob Collins's profile

Bob Collins

2264 posts in 3108 days

#3 posted 01-27-2016 10:56 PM

Nice lot of wood Mark, but 5 bucks? jeeez your a bit of a cheap skate mate.

-- Bob C, Australia. I love sharing as long as it is not my tools

View Grumpy's profile


21459 posts in 3275 days

#4 posted 01-27-2016 11:36 PM

Good to see some Aussie trees in California Mark.
Do you know what variety?, there are hundreds of different ones.
When I was in San Francisco 2 years ago we went through a whole forest of eucalypts.
I think from memory they were grown for railway sleepers.
Great save anyway mate.

-- Grumpy - "Always look on the bright side of life"- Monty Python

View BrentH's profile


58 posts in 464 days

#5 posted 01-27-2016 11:45 PM

Well, Mark, I can almost see them now… a project post on LJ from you every day for the next 10 years. Well, maybe it’ll have to dry some first. In any case, I’ll look forward to them!

-- Brent H. --"This retirement stuff is hard work. I need to go get a job so I can get some rest!"

View Mark Wilson's profile (online now)

Mark Wilson

1699 posts in 487 days

#6 posted 01-28-2016 12:11 AM

Nice find!
How is eucalyptus to work with?

- kaerlighedsbamsen

In my head, I can’t even begin to figure out how to pronounce that. Please tell me your name.
In answer to your question: It’s very hard, when dry. It turns the hands black, I’m guessing due to the resin within. What I have is what I think they call the “Blue Gum” variety. The first load I got a few years ago had very dark veins of this blue/black sap(?), which isn’t yet visible in this new batch. It was the first local hardwood I bagged (the first load, a few years ago), and it quickly stole my heart with its figure and chatoyance. It’s one of my favorites.
Bob, it was 2/3s of what I had in my pocket. And, really, all he did was roll it around the corner and place it gently near the curb. About a minute-and-a-half. Do the math. No. I’ll do it for you. That’s $200/hour.

-- Mark

View Mark Wilson's profile (online now)

Mark Wilson

1699 posts in 487 days

#7 posted 01-28-2016 12:28 AM

Tony, we have Blue Gum, Red Gum, some others. I’ll have to ask my friendly local botanist, when I think of it at an opportune time.
I really need a way to slab those trunk pieces, before they get all cracked and checked. I can see a lot of box-making material in much of the smaller stuff, too. But those trunk chunks. They want to be furniture. Most of the smaller bits will likely wind up on the lathe. I don’t know. I feel so small when this happens. So much timber. So little me. Such a small brain. I’d almost rather give it all away, lest it go to waste.
Brent, nothing, and I mean nothing happens in only a day in my world. Besides which, I still have some left from the first batch of Eucalyptus I got a few years ago. All, lathe-worthy stuff Nothing big like this. Then, there’s the Ficus, the Mulberry, the Maple, the Podacarpus, the Gardenia, the Cape Chestnut, the…so much timber. Such a little brain.

-- Mark

View lew's profile


11266 posts in 3180 days

#8 posted 01-28-2016 12:36 AM

Looks like you’re going to have to take a break from the lathe long enough to build a wood shed!

-- Lew- Time traveler. Purveyor of the Universe's finest custom rolling pins.

View rustfever's profile


716 posts in 2734 days

#9 posted 01-28-2016 12:45 AM

Yes, I do believe you have Blue Gum. Tazimainian Blue Gum, And the wood will dry to a beautiful shade of red. It is a bear to dry. It will twist, cup, and the dry wood will have ‘shakes’ [splits, lots of splits!]

The wood, afer a few years drying, even in the Californai climate, will take 1.5 plus years if the wood is 4/4 cut. 8/4 will take more like 2.5 yrs and 12/4 will take most of 4 yrs to dry.

Then you will need to use a very BIG bandsaw and place the warped wood on a sled to true it up. You will probably cull out 40/50% and throw in the fireplace. [Watch it…Burns very hot].
[TIP…Try a carbide tipped BS blade]

When you get done you will marvel at the beauty of your find.

I have worked most of mine into boards of about .5” X 4” X3’ to 4’ long. I use it in box making [as in keepsake or jewlery boxes]

The wood is VERY VERY beautiful and is somewhat difficult to work with.

Good luck. Get the end painted/Anchorsealed ASAP as in yet TODAY. It will start splitting withing just a couple of days.

If you PM me, I can find a few pics of raw and dried wood.


-- Rustfever, Central California

View Mark Wilson's profile (online now)

Mark Wilson

1699 posts in 487 days

#10 posted 01-28-2016 01:38 AM

Thanks for the advice, my newest Buddy, Ira. In Modesto. One of fewer than a handful of fellow-Californians I’ve met in LJs. You certainly have a ready-made market for your work around Paso Robles and Santa Maria. Probably a good source of Olivewood, during harvest, too. Not to mention fruitwoods. We’ve lost all the vineyards and orchards down here. I read your Blog on the Redgum. Have you made anything of it yet?

Looks like you re going to have to take a break from the lathe long enough to build a wood shed!
- lew

A shed requires lumber, Lew. And carpentry skills. And a place to put a shed.

-- Mark

View Rick M.'s profile

Rick M.

7735 posts in 1804 days

#11 posted 01-28-2016 01:56 AM

Nice wood score. I wish we had cool wood in our neighborhood but it’s all silver maple, if really lucky you might run into some red maple.


View BobWemm's profile


1732 posts in 1350 days

#12 posted 01-28-2016 01:57 AM

Hi Mark,
Yeah I was thinking Blue Gum from the bark and leaf colour. Can’t help you with the wood characteristics (Geez, I’ve been waiting weeks to type that word). The only blue Gum I’ve worked was a lump of burl in my earlier days and from memory I think I ended up with a piece about half the original size. It was beautiful though.

Good luck with your incredible “SCORE”, and BTW, $5 was way too much.


-- Bob, Western Australia, The Sun came up this morning, what a great start to the day. Now it's up to me to make it even better. I've cut this piece of wood 4 times and it's still too damn short.

View bushmaster's profile


1255 posts in 1707 days

#13 posted 01-28-2016 03:13 AM

Looks like you will have a back ache for days to come, Nice bunch of wood.

-- Brian - Hazelton, British Columbia

View doubleDD's profile


5074 posts in 1467 days

#14 posted 01-28-2016 05:14 AM

No pain, no gain. It was all worth it. Great haul Mark. I look forward to getting lumber from the neighbors trees, Keeps me in shape. At least that’s what I keep telling myself.

-- Dave, Downers Grove, Il. -------- When you run out of ideas, start building your dreams.

View oldnovice's profile


5656 posts in 2792 days

#15 posted 01-28-2016 05:25 AM

No pain, no gain!
I think the SCORE was worth the pain!

-- "I never met a board I didn't like!"

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