It would seem Rob (user: socalwood) nailed another species down for me in my previous post – the Pride of Madeira – going off nothing more than one gnarled limb (which turned out to be the whole trunk and some branches of a small plant) and some withering leaves. Great job, Rob!
I looked a bit more into one of the few branches of the second mystery species, and found a yellowy, eccentrically-ringed wood that seems to love to split along its length down its ring and ray lines. I’m hoping it’ll dry out and harden up so that I may use it in my mini lathe. If it stays this prone to splitting, however, the best I may be able to do is turning it carefully in a chuck, as the pressure of centers could split it apart. Here are some pictures inside a thin limb of about 1” and under in diameter. I have another one that’s more in the neighborhood of 1.5”.
I cut it up with a Japanese flush cut saw from Rockler. I love the finish sawing with that thing leaves, and it flushes things so perfectly – pegs, pocket hole plugs, etc. – you can’t feel them. I’ve even used it to do the work of a laminate trimmer. It cuts very fast in all the woods I’ve tried it in, and with no effort at all:
The eccentricity reminds me of a certain Hollywood Juniper limb I cut down last year, the pieces of which are still drying in my shop, for use eventually on the mini lathe. I keep thinking that eccentricity like this is just a hallmark of a lot of fast growing species. The rings in this are pretty far apart in some areas – 1/4” or more – and that seems like fast growth to me. Maybe not.
Mineral stains reminded me a lot of poplar I’ve seen, and for all I know it could be any of the related poplars or tulip woods. It really likes to split along its ray and ring lines. The splits were already there, or appeared in pieces that fell to the floor (not sure if that caused them, though). I didn’t cause any splits with my sawing:
There’s a kind of fiery sunburst around the outer edge, inside the outer bark. I researched for awhile, but still can’t tell my vascular cambium from my secondary phloem, so I’m useless to explain what I’m seeing here, other than that it looks neat. It seems online you either find colored microscopic slides of cellular level things, or illustrations of the larger stuff, but no actual labeled real photos of a variety of tree and limb cross sections to really give you a better sense of what you’re seeing. This doesn’t match up with pretty much anything I found:
This piece was already split, so I cut around it, but it’s pretty detailed inside, with another internal split, mineral stains, wood in various states of dryness, what almost appears to be rot, or spalting (though I don’t think it is), and much else. It was fun to just wander around it with my eyes, trying to understand everything inside:
I haven’t room in my shop to build tables, couches, beds, or rowboats, but I also have a real love of tiny, detailed things, so these little limbs, which can be turned into very tiny things (hopefully) are still rather delightful to me. With the fractal nature of trees, all of the hallmarks of woodworking are still found in miniature in these tiny ‘logs,” so in a sense, I almost feel like I’m doing regular woodworking, but as a giant :)
-- Gary, Los Angeles, video game animator