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, and a good shot of which can be seen halfway down the Center for Invasive Species Research’s page on the ELBs. You can see in my shot below what appears to be little bits of mud caked on. This is what remains clinging to the wood below the bark when peeled away. It’s the excrement of the ELB larvae, and is time-consuming to remove without a wire bristle brush, which is what I used to scrub (and scrub (and scrub)) the wood to remove every trace of it. I thought I was sanding down the wood, but after much work, I realized the grain patterns were swirling with the wood, and were not caused by me.
Here’s the mess the bugs leave under the bark, with their trails caked in by their own excrement, which really isn’t anything more than wood pulp. It all smells lovely, actually, just like Eucalyptus :)
This is the outside of that same piece of bark, showing no signs what an awesome little world lies beneath:
Here’s what kind of mess you create brushing the boring bug excrement off a couple of logs, and out of all of the bug trails:
The end grain got me a little excited. I’m really interested at this point to see what comes out of this when sawn and/or turned. I love having enough tree here than I can really try everything, including quartersawing (very small planks :), wet turning, dry turning, stacking and stickering tiny planks and watching them dry (with the ends sealed), and joining jointed, small planks into larger boards for maybe some things like boxes. Also, I can really experiment with a host of finishes now, too. This is all one tree, so I can really see how everything works and finishes Eucalyptus wood with several copies of each kind of stump, log, branch, and pen blank. Neat!
And here’s what I got after lots of scrubbing up of some pieces I cut:
And now for some workability info…
I find this Euc to be wonderful to work with. It’s heavy and dense, and of course still wet, but my Irwin 15” ProTouch™ 9TPI course-cut carpenter saw chews through it in maybe 5 strokes per inch (I’ll need to empirically test that next time I cut one of these). It doesn’t take long to cut through a 5”-6” log. I also used a large, course pull saw from Home Depot to cut a smaller piece (~3” diameter) later for turning, and it went through it nicely, and left a very clean cut.
I will say this, though – it starts splitting along its ray lines at the ends almost immediately. I didn’t have any sealer when I started, but got some Rockler Green Wood End Grain Sealer a day or two later and immediately covered every cut I’d made in globs of it. Just awhile ago tonight I ordered a 2-gallon pail of Anchorseal straight from the source, as I’m starting to really find trees and large branches now. It’s become a fun hunt in this urban sprawl.
In part 3 of this 3-series promise, I will reveal something I turned with a 3” diameter chunk of one of the branches of this thing. The turning is simple – I’m very inexperienced, on a very tiny machinist mill – but the wood is gorgeous inside. More later, and thanks for reading along with my mini adventure!
There are several more pics hidden in the flickr set
Oh, and btw, a moment of silence for my little Rockler Japanese pull saw, which could not cope in the field with the enormous strains of the heavy, wet wood. It bound constantly, even on the pull stroke, and though it occasionally helped a little, even bending the limb in different ways to try to ‘open’ the cut around the blade just didn’t help. I think the wet wood swelled as I cut, pinching the blade. The blade is now quite kinked, even though it’s hard to see in this shot. It’s replaceable, but with such a little saw, it’s almost like throwing the whole thing away to put in a new blade. Ah well… it was all I had in the way of hand saws on that impetuous night of a week ago.
-- Gary, Los Angeles, video game animator