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Wood Species & Historical Significance?

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Forum topic by DrJosh posted 567 days ago 848 views 0 times favorited 22 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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DrJosh

50 posts in 1489 days


567 days ago

Does anyone know if there are any species of wood that have some type of historical significance? I know that this is the case with colors/dyes. For instance, in ancient times purple dyes and pigments were rare and very expensive, so only royalty and the very wealthy has purple garments. So, purple has become know as a color of royalty. I’m curious if there are any types of wood that has historical association with royalty or strength, family, etc. I have a special project in mind for a high school graduation present for my niece that I want this info for. I realize that this might be a long-shot, but I figured that if the information is out there, this would be the best place to pose the question. Thanks.

-Josh

-- Josh....in Nashville, TN


22 replies so far

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teejk

1206 posts in 1281 days


#1 posted 566 days ago

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.

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bbc557ci

541 posts in 670 days


#2 posted 566 days ago

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"

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teejk

1206 posts in 1281 days


#3 posted 566 days ago

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).

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sprucegum

323 posts in 594 days


#4 posted 566 days ago

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

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WillAdams

78 posts in 591 days


#5 posted 566 days ago

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.

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joeyinsouthaustin

1205 posts in 669 days


#6 posted 566 days ago

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

-- Who is John Galt?

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patron

12955 posts in 1937 days


#7 posted 566 days ago

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

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mcase

438 posts in 1725 days


#8 posted 566 days ago

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.

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runswithscissors

894 posts in 621 days


#9 posted 566 days ago

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.

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bbc557ci

541 posts in 670 days


#10 posted 566 days ago

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

3336 posts in 1567 days


#11 posted 566 days ago

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

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JT23325

146 posts in 744 days


#12 posted 566 days ago

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 1647 days


#13 posted 566 days ago

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.

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TopamaxSurvivor

14584 posts in 2272 days


#14 posted 566 days ago

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 591 days


#15 posted 566 days ago

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.

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