Saving Olive Wood

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Forum topic by onoitsmatt posted 07-19-2015 01:40 PM 860 views 0 times favorited 1 reply Add to Favorites Watch
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389 posts in 1143 days

07-19-2015 01:40 PM

So about a year ago, I cut down a small olive tree in my front yard. It is about 18” in diameter at it’s trunk which quickly branched into a couple of (approximately) 8 or 9” diameter limbs, so the trunk is really only about 18” to 24” long before branching into the two limbs. I saved the bigger limbs and threw them in a pile in the side yard, thinking the wood smelled so good while cutting it, I’d like to use it to smoke meats. (I’m better at BBQ than woodworking). But I tried the wood for smoking and it’s not that great, so now I have all of this olive wood that is better suited for woodwoorking. The big pieces have started splitting at the ends.

So the question is, is it too late to save it, or is there something I can do with the split ends to salvage some good, useable wood (assuming these logs are big enough to use for something) or is it too late?

Also, yesterday I cut down another limb about 9” in diameter from another olive tree in the front yard. I have read I can just use some latex paint to seal up the ends on this new piece. Is there a need to store it inside or can I leave it out in the side yard? Anything else I should do to prevent ruining the new piece(s)?

I’m in Phoenix, so it’s hot and dry and there’s limited rain, so not much exposure to moisture outside.

Additionally, anyone local (or visiting) Phoenix area that wants a few pieces is welcome to come get them. My wife may insist you take all of it! I suspect this stuff would be really good to use for smaller turning blanks for pens or something. Just shoot me a note if you want some.

Thanks as always for your expertise and input!


-- Matt - Phoenix, AZ

1 reply so far

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8534 posts in 3616 days

#1 posted 07-19-2015 02:22 PM

latex paint, or heavy waxing will prevent (or more correctly minimize) it’s fast drying through the ends and allow some of the moisture to escape along the length of the limbs (in a slightly more balanced way to minimize splitting). those limbs that have already started splitting might be challenging as you’ll want to seal the inside of those splits as well for the same purpose.

I love olive wood, but keep in mind – the beauty of this wood is mostly cross-grained, using narrow limbs for ‘turning’ really doesn’t do the wood justice in most cases. that said, without seeing the lumber it’s hard to say, but just keep this as an FYI. those 9”+ sections could be quick amazing turning pieces when cut cross grain (cut into disks, then cut into turning blanks).

If I lived any closer, I would help you clean your stock up ;)


-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

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