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Forum topic by john2005 posted 11-28-2012 02:18 AM 3825 views 0 times favorited 11 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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john2005

1731 posts in 1450 days


11-28-2012 02:18 AM

Topic tags/keywords: question

So I have access to a trunk from a dead lilac. It has been described as approx 10” in dia and approx 18” long. It was cut about a year ago and the ends left open. I asked him to at least seal the ends till I figure out if its worth using for anything. Question is, what does this wood look/work like? It seems dense. Is it a tool killer or does it work well? Any feedback would be appreciated. I just don’t want to cut it up if its junk wood

-- In theory there is no difference between theory and practice. In practice there is.


11 replies so far

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willie

533 posts in 1726 days


#1 posted 11-28-2012 02:55 AM

I turned some several years ago. It was freshly cut. It was a light blonde color with some purple streaks running through it. I turned a lamp from it and made sure I highlighted the purple in it. Within a month all of the purple had turned a boring brown. I got some light checking in the wood as it dried and it smelled great while working with it. It was easy to work, especially green, but there was no appreciable grain pattern to it. If you can get it free or cheap, check it out. At worst, it’s firewood!

-- Every day above ground is a good day!!!

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EPJartisan

1116 posts in 2397 days


#2 posted 11-28-2012 06:41 PM

DUDE…. Lilac is gold to me.. if you are going to burn it.. ship it to me and I will pay for everything. Lilac is a cultivated shrub, who closest relative is the olive tree… in fact you will find lilac works almost the same as olive wood, except it does not produce oil… it is very dense.. it carves sweetly and the grain figuring is amazing.. like a blond olive wood…. great for turning and carving… spoons, pipes, anything that requires a dense wood with no leeching of color or chemicals or oil. IT does not dull tools, it works like a dream, but I usually get it only in small pieces or thin logs.. the thickest I have got was 7” dia …. For the piece to be 10” dia… that is one OLD lilac. Inappropriate drying can cause lots of checks in the log, but the great thing is even the checking is stable and can be filled in. NOT junk wood. :)

-- " 'Truth' is like a beautiful flower, unique to each plant and to the season it blossoms ... 'Fact' is the root and leaf, allowing the plant grow and bloom again."

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Knothead62

2581 posts in 2233 days


#3 posted 11-29-2012 12:52 AM

Take it before someone else gets it. I have a small piece of lilac for a reel seat insert. Going to turn it one of these days.

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john2005

1731 posts in 1450 days


#4 posted 11-29-2012 02:22 AM

So I went ahead and got the piece. Its approx 24” long and about 14.5” at the base. the center is rotted out about 1.5” in dia. Lots of burly looking lumps under the bark. At the other end it branches into 5 limbs that have all been cut short. One of the limbs was brought as well, but it has already cracked about 12” up in a spiral fashion. Could be salvageable for handles/small pieces. For now I plan to wax the ends and let it just sit for awhile. Hopefully the cracking will at least slow and give me some time to figure out some ideas. Seems self-destruction is the one thing EVERYBODY agrees on. We’ll see how it goes and hopefully I have some pics for ya. Thanks for the feed back.

-- In theory there is no difference between theory and practice. In practice there is.

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ForestGrl

445 posts in 358 days


#5 posted 11-01-2015 04:10 AM

John, did you ever turn the lilac? Really interested in what you did and how you finished it. I’m making a small piece into several wine stoppers, would love to see something big!

-- My mother said that anyone learning to cook needed a large dog to eat the mistakes. As a sculptor of wood I have always tried to keep a fireplace. (Norman Ridenour)

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john2005

1731 posts in 1450 days


#6 posted 11-02-2015 04:07 AM

I have not turned it. I just recently found a way of dealing with it. I have access to a portable mill and plan to cut it into usable blanks. Then turn from there. I have turned quiet a bit of other lilac in the meantime and while it is temperamental (as mentioned above) it is beautiful wood when finished. Especially if you can get some burls. I haven’t turned anything very large yet though. Most of the bowls and hallow forms have been from junk wood as experiment/training. I do plan to cut out a few bowl blanks, provided I have some pieces that are big enough and not cracked/checked.

-- In theory there is no difference between theory and practice. In practice there is.

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ForestGrl

445 posts in 358 days


#7 posted 11-02-2015 11:40 PM

What finish seemed to work the best on what you have turned? It’s density and ultra-smooth surface after sanding makes for great stoppers, but the pale wood doesn’t tell me what kind of finish I should try.

-- My mother said that anyone learning to cook needed a large dog to eat the mistakes. As a sculptor of wood I have always tried to keep a fireplace. (Norman Ridenour)

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john2005

1731 posts in 1450 days


#8 posted 11-03-2015 05:22 AM

I am a fan of Shella-wax. I use it on most turnings just cause its so simple. Occasionally I will stain first but not very often. If there is a lot of figure, I like to put a coat of just plain amber shellac on first. That seems to draw out the grain and color more. I have tried tung oil on it and I liked how that looked. Gave it a richer color. The other thing to keep in mind is that it will darken and go browner with age so I try to keep them light. Hope that helps a little. When all else fails, I just wipe on a few coats of thinned poly.

-- In theory there is no difference between theory and practice. In practice there is.

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ForestGrl

445 posts in 358 days


#9 posted 11-03-2015 11:02 PM

Thanks, John, finishing is a challenge and I really appreciate learning from others’ experience.

-- My mother said that anyone learning to cook needed a large dog to eat the mistakes. As a sculptor of wood I have always tried to keep a fireplace. (Norman Ridenour)

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john2005

1731 posts in 1450 days


#10 posted 11-04-2015 03:32 PM

I hear ya there! I, by no means have it figured out. Every time I come to where I like something, I am introduced to another product to try and half the time I end up liking it better. The exception was the CA glue. Great finishes, but I became very allergic to it so now I cant touch the stuff.
I did forget to mention that everything gets a final coat with a paste wax. Seems reduntant on the Shella-wax, but I’m in one of those “just keep doing what I’ve done cause it works” modes.

-- In theory there is no difference between theory and practice. In practice there is.

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ForestGrl

445 posts in 358 days


#11 posted 11-04-2015 04:21 PM



I hear ya there! I, by no means have it figured out. Every time I come to where I like something, I am introduced to another product to try and half the time I end up liking it better. The exception was the CA glue. Great finishes, but I became very allergic to it so now I cant touch the stuff.
I did forget to mention that everything gets a final coat with a paste wax. Seems reduntant on the Shella-wax, but I m in one of those “just keep doing what I ve done cause it works” modes.

- john2005

I’ve done some wax, and plan to try Antiquewax on the experimental lilac stopper. Will involve a test-flight of new Beall buffing system. The CA seems quite potent, will be careful for sure. After a few years of hobby woodworking, I became pretty sensitive to the various solvents, lesson learned!

-- My mother said that anyone learning to cook needed a large dog to eat the mistakes. As a sculptor of wood I have always tried to keep a fireplace. (Norman Ridenour)

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