From the don't know wood species

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Project by GreenfireLatheLady posted 04-10-2014 02:25 PM 1320 views 0 times favorited 13 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Got this wood from a fallen tree on a trail where we walk our dogs. This was my second attempt turning really green wood….the first cracked and ended up in the wood pile. I thought at first it was lignum vitae because of the green tint and heavy grain, but now I don’t know. Would love to hear thoughts since I have a good bit of this wood left in my shop.

Sanded to 600 grit and finished with Shellawax EEE paste and Shellawax Cream.


-- --I live for sawdust.

13 comments so far

View Thewoodman2000's profile


817 posts in 1060 days

#1 posted 04-10-2014 02:31 PM

I like the color and grain pattern of this piece. Good shape too!
I wouldn’t think its Lignum Vitae because it grows in Central America and northern South America. So unless you take long dog walks?

I would like to know too because it is a pretty looking wood?

-- (the only thing in there she says is....tap on head..........tap..........tap..... saw dust) - James

View Monte Pittman's profile

Monte Pittman

18606 posts in 1427 days

#2 posted 04-10-2014 02:54 PM

3 things on Lignum, I don’t think it grows this far north, I think it’s much darker than this and you would know when you cut into it. I believe it’s the 2nd hardest wood in the world.

Now on your bowl. My favorite type of wood is free and beautiful. Yours is both. Good find regardless and nice job turning it.

-- Mother Nature created it, I just assemble it.

View Jim Jakosh's profile

Jim Jakosh

14393 posts in 2195 days

#3 posted 04-10-2014 02:54 PM

That is a very beautiful bowl- super grain in that wood!!
The wood will shrink when it is drying and that makes it crack unless you turn the bowl complete right away or rough turn the bowl to a wall that is 10% of the diameter ( like .800” for an 8” bowl), let it dry and warp and then finish turning it. If you turn it right away and finish it, the drying and shrinking of the wood will most likely leave you with an out of round bowl but that is better than cracking.

I have had a bowl crack all over that I started one night and then did the inside the next day- wrong thing to do. I left the mass of the wood in the center and it had no place to go when it shrank so it pulled that solid piece apart.

You sure have a winner with that one. Keep the chips flying!!! One thing on the Shellawax. I started out using the paste like you do but I found that id dried out before I got it all used up. I added denatured alcohol to thin it back out because that is the solvent for shellac, but now I use the liquid Shellawax and it stays usable for the full time I use up a bottle.

Cheers, Jim

-- Jim Jakosh.....Practical Wood Products...........Learn something new every day!! Variety is the Spice of Life!!

View LesB's profile


1168 posts in 2532 days

#4 posted 04-10-2014 04:48 PM

It looks like some Golden Chain tree wood (Laburnum family) that I recently worked with but I don’t think it grows well in your area. It prefers the 5-7 garden temperature zones. It is toxic if ingested so take care on breathing the dust.

Trouble with turning wet wood. Rather than describe it here for you here just do a Google search on microwaving wood. There are several You tube videos. It works great. Rough turn you blank, microwave per the various methods and your done.
I just saved a 16” X 7” walnut bowl that would have cracked by drying it in the microwave.

-- Les B, Oregon

View woodtickgreg's profile


211 posts in 2208 days

#5 posted 04-10-2014 09:49 PM

Nice! Possibly locust? Good turn whatever it is.

-- wood tick tools for turners by woodtickgreg @

View bondogaposis's profile (online now)


3450 posts in 1440 days

#6 posted 04-10-2014 11:06 PM

Unless you live in the Caribbean it is highly unlikely you found Lignum vitae in the wild. To me it looks a bit like Osage orange, which sometimes develops a green cast when comes in contact with soil. Beautiful bowl by the way. I’m pretty new to turning and that is one of my near term goals is to turn a bowl.

-- Bondo Gaposis

View doubleDD's profile


4018 posts in 1132 days

#7 posted 04-11-2014 12:14 AM

Whatever lumber it is, you made it look good. Nice work. I have some locust logs that gave a similar appearance, but didn’t have that much dark grain. Do you have a piece of it with the bark on?

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

View Chris Peroni's profile

Chris Peroni

101 posts in 1028 days

#8 posted 04-11-2014 12:55 AM

the grain pattern reminds me of the ash wood bowl I made, but your bowl has different colouring in the grain sections – very cool looking.

-- Never discourage anyone...who continually makes progress, no matter how slow. -Plato

View emart's profile (online now)


405 posts in 1717 days

#9 posted 04-11-2014 02:49 AM

if it is a yellow color it could possibly be locust. it is usually a neon yellow when its freshly split with a off-white sapwood

-- tools are only as good as the hands that hold them

View hoss12992's profile


3330 posts in 982 days

#10 posted 04-11-2014 06:28 AM

Great job and love the wood and grain.

-- The Old Rednek Workshop

View CFrye's profile


6548 posts in 929 days

#11 posted 04-11-2014 08:44 AM

You really brought out the beauty in this piece of mystery wood! Hope you find out what it is. Thanks for sharing.

-- God bless, Candy

View GreenfireLatheLady's profile


26 posts in 598 days

#12 posted 04-30-2014 02:05 PM

Thx for all the comments and guesses! I just started turning another bowl from this wood and given the fact that I have to use my carbides to shape it, I’m guessing it’s locust. Also, now that the leaves are coming out, I can do a bit more detective work and figure this out.

-- --I live for sawdust.

View OldWrangler's profile


731 posts in 684 days

#13 posted 11-03-2014 05:01 AM

Nice piece of work. Finish is especially nice. Wood looks like possibly Sumac or Locust, both would be in your area. The Sumac night be a little more green, the Locust more yellow but I would lean more towards the Locust.

-- I am going to go stand outside so if anyone asks about me, tell them I'M OUTSTANDING!

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