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Forum topic by rwe2156 posted 02-08-2016 12:39 PM 557 views 0 times favorited 6 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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2965 posts in 1506 days

02-08-2016 12:39 PM

I have a large holly bush (tree?) that I fixing to cut a big branch off of.
I don’t know what variety there are so many I can’t figure it out.
I live in NE FL.
Am I wasting my time?

-- Everything is a prototype thats why its one of a kind!!

6 replies so far

View KYSean's profile


119 posts in 3621 days

#1 posted 02-08-2016 01:27 PM

Why are you cutting a big branch off of it?


View Tennessee's profile


2873 posts in 2539 days

#2 posted 02-08-2016 01:48 PM

Not wasting your time if the branch can do damage if it blows off in a storm.
Not wasting your time if you just want to round out the bush so it looks good, and the cutting of the branch will not harm the life cycle of the tree.

Debatable if you want to use it in woodworking. Some good uses, some not so good.
From the Wood Database:

Color/Appearance: Ideal lumber has a very uniform, pale white color with virtually no visible grain pattern. Knots are common, which can reduce the usable area of the wood. Can develop a bluish/gray fungal stain if not dried rapidly after cutting. Holly is usually cut during the winter and kiln dried shortly thereafter to preserve the white color of the wood.

Grain/Texture: Grain is interlocked and irregular. Medium to fine uniform texture with moderate natural luster.

Endgrain: Diffuse-porous or semi-ring-porous; very small pores predominantly in radial multiples of 2-4, commonly arranged in radial rows; growth rings may be distinct due to an intermittent row of earlywood pores; rays visible without lens; parenchyma not typically visible with lens.

Rot Resistance: Rated as non-durable or perishable, and susceptible to insect attack.

Workability: Can be difficult to work on account of the numerous knots and interlocked grain. Glues, stains, and finishes well, and is sometimes stained black as a substitute for Ebony. Turns well on the lathe.

Odor: No characteristic odor.

Allergies/Toxicity: Besides the standard health risks associated with any type of wood dust, no further health reactions have been associated with Holly. See the articles Wood Allergies and Toxicity and Wood Dust Safety for more information.

Pricing/Availability: Seldom available for commercial sale, Holly is an expensive domestic lumber, and is usually only available in small quantities and sizes.

Sustainability: This wood species is not listed in the CITES Appendices or on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.

Common Uses: Inlays, furniture, piano keys (dyed black), broom and brush handles, turned objects, and other small novelty items.

Comments: Holly is typically used only for ornamental and decorative purposes. It has a fairly large shrinkage rate, with a lot of seasonal movement in service, and its strength properties are mediocre for a hardwood.

Related Species:

Cape Holly (Ilex mitis)
English Holly (Ilex aquifolium)

-- Tsunami Guitars and Custom Woodworking, Cleveland, TN

View putty's profile


1192 posts in 1632 days

#3 posted 02-08-2016 02:10 PM

Neighbors took down a Holly tree , I milled it into turning blanks. It does shrink quite a bit, but it is beautiful for turning. It finishes like Ivory…really creamy. Here are some photos of a bottle stopper I made and gave to the people who cut down the tree.

-- Putty

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2965 posts in 1506 days

#4 posted 02-08-2016 02:41 PM

Why are you cutting a big branch off of it?

- KYSean

When I say “big” I just mean a substantial branch like 4” in diameter. I want to see if its usable for inlay.

-- Everything is a prototype thats why its one of a kind!!

View shampeon's profile


1775 posts in 2208 days

#5 posted 02-08-2016 05:24 PM

My understanding is that you have to harvest holly in winter when the sap is down to keep it from getting discolored. Clear sheets of holly are used for inlay and, e.g., for veneering the headstocks of guitars by luthiers. But it’s hard to find clear sheets.

-- ian | "You can't stop what's coming. It ain't all waiting on you. That's vanity."

View Woodknack's profile (online now)


11777 posts in 2405 days

#6 posted 02-08-2016 07:18 PM

branch like 4” in diameter. I want to see if its usable for inlay.

- rwe2156

Yes, just keep your expectations small. I have a holly tree which grows like a weed, I keep the bigger trimmings for use in small projects and even made a hatchet handle from a larger piece. You can see some of them in my projects.

-- Rick M,

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