This branch, found a week ago now, was a mystery for awhile, but then I accidentally identified it while looking up something about paperbark trees, which are in some ways related. Callistemon, or Bottlebrush Trees, in the Myrtaceae family, are – like many LA trees – native to Australia. My coworker and officemate, who knows about my log and tree-collecting shenanigans told me one morning that the city had roped off a big branch that had fallen. He saw it on his drive in to work. ...
My bones haven’t finished knitting back together, and the gum tree chunks are still in the bed, but on the way back from a fast food run tonight, I saw a log pile on the grass in front of the sidewalk, right on my block! I backed up in front of the driveway there, and loaded one very large trunk piece, and a bunch of other large branch pieces in right on top of the eucalyptus. I have a feeling they were out all day, and people picked through the little stuff for firewood, leaving the la...
I learned what a Chinese elm is 1 year and 10 days ago, and blogged about it here. A friend told me she had read about a very old one that had fallen on someone’s car during high winds the day before. It turned out to be only a 10 minute drive from work, which is where I was reading the email. At lunch I headed over, found the crushed truck on the side of the road, but the tree was already gone. Since then I’ve seen Chinese elms all over my area, and they are wild looking, beautif...
I decided it would probably be boring to show each step from the previous ‘milling everything flat and square’ post, to the final board, so here’s the final board, all finished: It is 6-3/4”x8-5/8” and a little over 1.75” thick. Or, you know, about the size of the US hardcover edition of “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince,” though the book is a little less than an inch taller in the longest dimension. Note the butcher’s block c...
I can’t believe it’s been just over 3 weeks already since I picked this stuff up. This year is cruising past me. I saw an ad one morning – only a few minutes old – for a very large pile of scrap wood, mostly superior-grade alder, but with a mix of some other things in there, like plywood, and walnut. I wrestled internally for a bit. Do I really need more wood? The answer, it turned out, was yes. I wrote, mentioned I was a budding woodworker, and would love to find uses...
In part 1, I found a Euc in an LA neighborhood, went back under cover of ninja darkness around midnight, spent 3 hours cutting it up and hauling it home in 2 trips, and detailed what I ended up with. In this part, I cut up some of the bigger logs, look under the bark a bit more, and brush away boring bug excrement to reveal some more beautiful patterning underneath. The trails seen here are caused by Eucalyptus Longhorned Borer larvae, several of which I found while digging under the bark,...
While looking through old Flickr sets, I realized I never made public one in which I slabbed one of the huge Eucalyptus logs I wrestled home from a craigslist ad. The largest of them is over 230lbs. I chose the smallest – probably around 80-100lbs, because I was desperate to see what lurked inside. I have at least a dozen of these things, so I could sacrifice one enormous beast to curiosity, though that said, I did immediately seal up the ends with a few inches worth of Anchorseal, and ...
A couple weeks ago I passed some tree trimmers cutting up a handful of paperbark trees (Melaleuca quinquenervia). I passed a few times on lunchtime errands, and finally decided to stop and ask for some free wood. I’ve been so curious for 5 years now about what’s underneath the spongy, peeling bark of these trees. You can punch the trunks and leave a deep imprint of your hand, which swells back up eventually, hiding the dent. It doesn’t hurt, because they feel like a s...
Monday of last week, some 12 days ago, I was talking with a coworker who was wearing a small fedora. I commented that I should try to turn him a hat on my lathe. He thought it was a fun idea, and I mentioned I’d seen full-size, wearable cowboy hats online turned from green wood to very thin, then bent in jigs to hold them in proper shape with curled brims and dented-in top until dry, at which point they could be worn. The site was Johannes Michelsen’s woodhat.com, and his gallery ...
I never posted it, but the day after I got those paperbark branches I went back to the same location to pick up the logs of the tree they were cutting down fully, so the building there could put up a security camera. I had stopped for the paperbark, and they asked if I wanted to come back for a whole tree the next day. Score! Here’s the tree as it stood between the cut-back paperbarks. I honestly never even looked at it, busy with paperbark at the time, so I was glad I had this one blur...
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