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View DrJosh's profile

Wood Species & Historical Significance?

by DrJosh
posted 01-02-2013 09:34 PM


22 replies so far

View teejk's profile

teejk

1215 posts in 1369 days


#1 posted 01-02-2013 09:56 PM

american elm or horse chestnut (and I fear the ash will be next…that emerald ash borer that apparently came in with asian pallet wood is spreading)...all pretty much laid to rest here now due to insect infestations.

View bbc557ci's profile

bbc557ci

543 posts in 759 days


#2 posted 01-02-2013 10:03 PM

And what kind of tree did George Wahington cut down??? LOL … if you consider that of historical signifiganc that is.

teejk – sad to hear that about ash. It is one of my favorite woods. I built my previous home in ‘86 and trimmed it out in ash. I recently moved and bought a fixer upper on a local river, and about 3 weeks ago picked up 380 BF of rough cut ash, with plans to mill it for trim.

-- Bill, central NY...no where near the "big apple"

View teejk's profile

teejk

1215 posts in 1369 days


#3 posted 01-02-2013 10:41 PM

bbc…the emerald ash borer problem seems to be spreading despite restrictions on moving firewood and lumber. bye bye to baseball bats at this rate. hate to see you using ash for trim since I think it lends itself to some “interesting” grain patterns.

I have an old beam supposedly from chestnut…it’s from a refurb farm house in NY so it’s old…I’m sure any bugs are long gone and I intend to get it sawed up someday. And I hope it has some of the worm holes/tracks that make old lumber so interesting to look at (I had a twisted/checked cherry beam from the same house that I managed to get enough wood from to build a small table).

View sprucegum's profile

sprucegum

323 posts in 682 days


#4 posted 01-02-2013 11:34 PM

Balm-of-Gilead has been use for medicine since biblical times. I have used a little on small simple projects. It is as soft or softer than pine, stays pretty flat and strait wile drying , all and all not a great wood for woodworking, but it is historical.

-- A tube of calk and a gallon of paint will make a carpenter what he ain't

View WillAdams's profile

WillAdams

78 posts in 680 days


#5 posted 01-03-2013 12:57 AM

Ash is traditionally the best wood for a fire, so would be what a king would be warmed by according to one rhyme. ``But Ashwood wet and Ashwood dry // A King may warm his slippers by.’‘

Mostly it’s practical by usage or other tradition—- Willow has traditionally been used for artificial limbs, yew, bois d’arc, osage orange and mulberry for bows, &c., dogwood won’t grow large enough for large projects ‘cause it was cursed for being the wood used in the crucifix of Jesus, &c.

View joeyinsouthaustin's profile

joeyinsouthaustin

1264 posts in 757 days


#6 posted 01-03-2013 01:28 AM

What kind of wood was GW’s teeth made of?

-- Who is John Galt?

View patron's profile

patron

13092 posts in 2026 days


#7 posted 01-03-2013 01:39 AM

rosewood was the wood for kings

and don’t forget
the cedars of lebanon

-- david - only thru kindness can this world be whole . If we don't succeed we run the risk of failure. Dan Quayle

View mcase's profile

mcase

438 posts in 1814 days


#8 posted 01-03-2013 01:39 AM

The ancient white pines of colonial New England grew to over two hundred feet in many instances. All the great pines, two foot or more through the center, were claimed by the King by royal decree. The King’s Pines, as they were called, were to be only cut by agents of the Royal Navy for use as masts in ships of war. Needles to say, this did not sit well with the colonist who wanted the timber for themselves. Conflict over the King’s pine came long before either the Stamp Act or the Boston Tea Party.

View runswithscissors's profile

runswithscissors

1002 posts in 710 days


#9 posted 01-03-2013 02:18 AM

Willow is also used for cricket bats. As for the Brits hogging all the good wood, they are the ones who stole most of the beautiful mahogany from British Honduras, now known as Belize. Very few of the big trees left.

View bbc557ci's profile

bbc557ci

543 posts in 759 days


#10 posted 01-03-2013 02:26 AM

hate to see you using ash for trim since I think it lends itself to some “interesting” grain patterns.

teejk – That’s why I used it for, and want to use it again for trim, interior only. No paint just a light stain and a couple of clear coats. I too like the grain as it is indeed intersting as you say. I always try to put the character side showing. The grain/character is why I’m drawn the ash. I made my daughter an ash coffee table, and myself a nice sized plant table. Both have gotten some nice complements as the wood is beautiful.

-- Bill, central NY...no where near the "big apple"

View crank49's profile

crank49

3456 posts in 1656 days


#11 posted 01-03-2013 02:47 AM

Chestnut was the Redwood of the Appalachins. The economy of this entire area was dependant on the chestnut, for food, for stock feed, for weather resistant lumber, for homes and construction. The fact that the loss of the chestnut happened to coinside with the great depression was a double whammy for the people who depended on it.

-- Michael :-{| “If you tell a big enough lie and tell it frequently enough, it will be believed.” ― A H

View JT23325's profile

JT23325

151 posts in 832 days


#12 posted 01-03-2013 03:35 AM

Live Oak was used to build the USS Constitution (Old Ironside)

-- Jeff, Ability will never catch up with the demand for it. - Malcolm Forbes

View Edziu's profile

Edziu

150 posts in 1736 days


#13 posted 01-03-2013 05:18 AM

I’m just spitballing ideas here- but have you considered using a piece of wood with significance to your niece? If it’s available: maybe something made from her old swingset….something made from an old piece of furniture…a piece of wood from the house she grew up in…..something along those lines.

Or if you have a local architectural salvage, consider making something using some old framing lumber from a demolished house in your town.

just my 2 cents.

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile

TopamaxSurvivor

14849 posts in 2361 days


#14 posted 01-03-2013 06:03 AM

I think it was black alder that made the best charcoal for making black powder before smokeless was invented.

-- "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

View WillAdams's profile

WillAdams

78 posts in 680 days


#15 posted 01-03-2013 11:53 AM

I’ve always heard that it was dogwood that was best for charcoal for black powder—- Britain bought if from Prussia for musket use, but used locally grown willow and alder for cannon and blasting powder.

Wood should be ~10 years old, ~4 inches in diameter (~1 inch for dogwood), harvested in the spring for easy debarking, then dried to 10 percent moisture content before charring.

View FeralVermonter's profile

FeralVermonter

100 posts in 656 days


#16 posted 01-03-2013 03:34 PM

I’d imagine that if you dig down deeply enough, you’d find “historical significance” to every wood—a significance, moreover, that varies between peoples and through time. If I learned anything earning my degree, it’s that history is never static, always a moving target. So I’d suggest you pick a wood you like, and dig into its particular history—I’m sure you’d find something cool about it.

View Dallas's profile (online now)

Dallas

3030 posts in 1172 days


#17 posted 01-03-2013 04:14 PM

I lived in Southern Indiana for many years, across the river from Louisville, KY. That is the home of the Belle of Louisville…. the last wooden hulled paddle wheeler on the Ohio or Mississippi river.
While it was undergoing refit I grabbed a bunch of the old paddle wheel blades made from local oak and cut them down into small pieces, finished them with BLO and gave them out to the school kids where my kids went to school.
One teacher was so excited that she got a bunch of the other teachers to go in together and buy up all I had made. I sold them for 10¢ each and made $1000, although I probably threw in another 2 or 300 for good measure.

-- Improvise.... Adapt...... Overcome!

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile

TopamaxSurvivor

14849 posts in 2361 days


#18 posted 01-03-2013 05:54 PM

Actually my foggy memory and I misspoke. It is Buckthorn, not black alder that makes the best black powder. I corresponded extensively with the Bill Knight, aka Mad Monk, during my quest for long range (600, 900 and 1,000 yd) performance. He is a world wide renowned expert on the subject of black powder and its substitutes.

-- "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

View Tennessee's profile

Tennessee

1466 posts in 1199 days


#19 posted 01-03-2013 06:07 PM

Teak has traditionally been the wood of the Emperors of China. The Forbidden City is made of it, and the Chinese Fleet of Junks that made some of the first ocean crossings in the 1400’s were all Teak.

Ebony was treasured in Egypt.

Olivewood is closely associated with Christians.

Old growth aromatic cedar was often the wood of choice for people living in the Old South of the United States.

-- Paul, Tennessee, http://www.tsunamiguitars.com

View BTimmons's profile

BTimmons

2139 posts in 1170 days


#20 posted 01-03-2013 07:07 PM

Yew was the wood of choice for the English longbow, a weapon that left quite an important mark on history.

And then there’s hemlock, with a poisonous sap whose properties were not lost on a gentleman named Socrates.

-- Brian Timmons - http://www.BigTWoodworks.com

View joeyinsouthaustin's profile

joeyinsouthaustin

1264 posts in 757 days


#21 posted 01-03-2013 08:15 PM

+1 +1 edziu Go with historically significant to her. Maybe get something out of the high school, or her room/house growing up.

-- Who is John Galt?

View sprucegum's profile

sprucegum

323 posts in 682 days


#22 posted 01-06-2013 10:39 PM

You sure as heck got a ear full on this one Doc. Just wondering did you find what you were lookin for? :)

-- A tube of calk and a gallon of paint will make a carpenter what he ain't

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