Catalpa wood, any good?

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Forum topic by Monte Pittman posted 11-21-2012 08:42 PM 1877 views 0 times favorited 13 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Monte Pittman

29973 posts in 2514 days

11-21-2012 08:42 PM

Topic tags/keywords: resource question catalpa

I have a chance to get a few rather large Catalpa trees. Pictures of the wood look decent. The hardness rating puts it between pine and cedar (550). Is it worthwhile?

-- Nature created it, I just assemble it.

13 replies so far

View johnstoneb's profile


3036 posts in 2348 days

#1 posted 11-21-2012 09:28 PM


-- Bruce, Boise, ID

View MonteCristo's profile


2099 posts in 2364 days

#2 posted 11-21-2012 09:29 PM

I looked at this link and it appears that catalpa is used for furniture and turns well. I’d scarf some and give it a go!!

-- Dwight - "Free legal advice available - contact Dewey, Cheetam & Howe""

View SASmith               's profile


1850 posts in 3163 days

#3 posted 11-21-2012 09:45 PM

I use catalpa quite often. Mostly for bee boxes.
I like the looks of it but it is fairly soft. It is rot resistant though.
I’d say go for it. It dries quickly with very little warping.

-- Scott Smith, Southern Illinois

View teejk's profile


1215 posts in 2860 days

#4 posted 11-21-2012 09:59 PM

interesting…my grandmother had a few taken down decades ago and I offered to split it (bad mistake on my part but it was my grandma). as I recall, the wood was quite “stringy” (like willow I think). A sawmill would probably make some nice lumber (wedges and sledge hammers didn’t).

View grizzman's profile


7836 posts in 3479 days

#5 posted 11-21-2012 11:29 PM

well i have never heard of it so i have nothing good to offer, i know i love tree and lumber, and it seems like it all has a place somewhere, so i say experiment, give it a try and see what you think, show us some pictures and tell us how you liked it and what your experience with it was like…go for it monte…

-- GRIZZMAN ...[''''']

View wiswood2's profile


1138 posts in 3872 days

#6 posted 11-21-2012 11:35 PM

any free wood is good.Chuck

-- Chuck, wiswood2

View gfadvm's profile


14940 posts in 2866 days

#7 posted 11-22-2012 02:26 AM

The link in the second comment says it has flake and figure when quartersawn. That sounds interesting to me. I’m always up for new and seldom used woods. I’ve never seen a catalpa project posted. Bring me some and I’ll swap you some cypress! I’ve got lots!!!

-- " I'll try to be nicer, if you'll try to be smarter" gfadvm

View Toolz's profile


1004 posts in 3918 days

#8 posted 11-22-2012 05:48 PM

It can be nice for small carvings too.

-- Larry "Work like a Captain but Play like a Pirate!"

View doordude's profile


1085 posts in 3159 days

#9 posted 11-22-2012 06:43 PM

monte i guess you’ve got answer and you’re marching orders, to get busy cutting that wood up.
i’ve never heard of catalpa and now i know.

View poopiekat's profile


4384 posts in 3910 days

#10 posted 11-22-2012 11:17 PM

Are those the trees that we used to call string-bean trees when we were kids? With BIG leaves? Always wondered what the lumber would be like.

-- Einstein: "The intuitive mind is a sacred gift, and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift." I'm Poopiekat!!

View teejk's profile


1215 posts in 2860 days

#11 posted 11-22-2012 11:27 PM

poopie…those are the trees (northern versions anyway). long beans (like 12” or more). used to snap them into pieces and play war (more effective than shelled corn and didn’t have to worry about the pigs digging for them when they escaped).

They were a mess to clean up every fall but provided great shade. grandma’s were probably 3’ in diameter and mostly solid through the trunk. as said previously I recall the wood being “stringy” (like string cheese) and I also recall red streaks (like box elder).

View grizzman's profile


7836 posts in 3479 days

#12 posted 11-22-2012 11:35 PM

i looked on google for pictures of the wood, it looks really nice and the things i saw made from the wood was really nice, i think ive come to the conclusion that all wood has a use, ive tried a few trees here that folks consider to be like weeds, one i tried was mimosa..i was surprised with its beauty, i hope some of you will try this and show us what it was like…

-- GRIZZMAN ...[''''']

View teejk's profile


1215 posts in 2860 days

#13 posted 11-22-2012 11:57 PM

grizzman…agree…every new stick brings some new experiences. that said, sometimes makes sense to research a wood before working with it. E.g. we have a species of something called “ironwood” here…never took any into my shop after seeing what it could do to chainsaw chain in little time…can imagine how long saw blades/jointer knives would last. the other factor is toxicity…some dust is bad, some is really bad. with the internet it’s a snap to make the decisions.

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