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Flame Box Elder

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Forum topic by OldWrangler posted 02-14-2014 12:42 PM 1501 views 1 time favorited 29 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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OldWrangler

698 posts in 314 days


02-14-2014 12:42 PM

Topic tags/keywords: flame box elder

This post is just to make y’all jealous. These are 2 pieces I recently bought of Ebay. I am excited about them coming in. Never have I seen any wood like this. Most of the Box Elder I have found before was more pink. These are destined to be jewelry box lids. I’d enjoy your comments about what else I could make from these, I want to stretch them across projects as far as they will go.

This wood is coming from a saw mill in Macon, GA and with their current weather I am sure they will be delayed. That’s OK as it gives me more time to design projects for this wood.

How does God make a tree and a beetle, fuse them together to make something this beautiful? And it is not some exotic wood from way off in some country you never heard of. This is nearly “back door” lumber and there is lots of it.

-- I've given this a lot of thought and I don't think being an adult will work for me!!


29 replies so far

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Arminius

304 posts in 2523 days


#1 posted 02-14-2014 12:46 PM

Where does the beetle come into it? I don’t see ambrosia marks, are there some not quite clear in the photo?

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OldWrangler

698 posts in 314 days


#2 posted 02-14-2014 01:37 PM

I was told that theory has it that this damage (if you can consider it damage) is caused by the Box Elder Beetle (Boisea trivittata), a member of the Stinkbug Family, who introduces a fungus (Fusarium negundi) into the tree that spreads and causes part of the tree to take that red coloring. I think this Beetle is related to the Ambrosia Beetle, maybe a second cousin.

-- I've given this a lot of thought and I don't think being an adult will work for me!!

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OldWrangler

698 posts in 314 days


#3 posted 02-14-2014 01:47 PM

When this wood comes in along with some Beetle Kill Pine from a mill in Montana, I will just lock myself in the shop and not come out until Spring. I am so looking forward to using both these woods. These will make this years Christmas presents….. and I owe an Auction Item to the upcoming Sheriff’s re-election BBQ in March. Last year I donated a very old and gnarly Bonsai Tree that fetched a cool $250. This Sheriff has been a good friend for 30+ years, is an excellent lawman and I always help his campaign where ever I can.

-- I've given this a lot of thought and I don't think being an adult will work for me!!

View Arminius's profile

Arminius

304 posts in 2523 days


#4 posted 02-14-2014 01:54 PM

There are some scientific studies that the traditional attribution of the red color to the fungus is wrong. In ambrosia maple, the fungus is definitely introduced by the beetle. But the red color in box elder appears to be a natural response to wounding or other forms of distress, there were experiments done that inoculated against the fungus, but the trees still produced the red – although they apparently did not produce it in the same intensity.

Anyway, gorgeous pattern, I was just curious because I didn’t see any obvious signs of the beetle.

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Clint Searl

1479 posts in 1080 days


#5 posted 02-14-2014 01:56 PM

It’ll eventually fade to a dull amber, so enjoy it now.

-- Clint Searl....Ya can no more do what ya don't know how than ya can git back from where ya ain't been

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OldWrangler

698 posts in 314 days


#6 posted 02-14-2014 02:11 PM

Probably as many theories about this coloring as there are trees. Looks like nobody knows for sure. Whatever it is I really like it.
Clint, you busted my dream. Can any kind of finish preserve the color bette?

-- I've given this a lot of thought and I don't think being an adult will work for me!!

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Arminius

304 posts in 2523 days


#7 posted 02-14-2014 02:23 PM

The studies taken as a whole seem to suggest that the color is a natural response, but the fungus really increases the intensity.

FWW had an article on box elder, must have been 10 years ago now. It fades with exposure to light, in particular UV. If you are planning on using it as an exterior lid, it will fade, but a UV-protecting varnish will slow it down.

View Danpaddles's profile

Danpaddles

540 posts in 1031 days


#8 posted 02-14-2014 02:54 PM

Have one of those growing in my yard. I am thinking there will be some beautiful wood in it, just based on what I have seen in the branches. but I hate to lose the tree yet. Just a few more years- aw shucks, we will move by then, I suppose.

Yes, I suspect the red would fade quickly.

-- Dan V. in Indy

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OldWrangler

698 posts in 314 days


#9 posted 02-14-2014 03:44 PM

Danpaddles, I’d be damned if I moved and didn’t take that tree with me.

Arminius, What do you suggest as the best UV protecting varnish? If it never went outside and got any real UV rays, would it still fade?

-- I've given this a lot of thought and I don't think being an adult will work for me!!

View ralbuck's profile

ralbuck

626 posts in 986 days


#10 posted 02-14-2014 05:05 PM

Marine (Spar) varnish can keep natural finish wood boats looking good for a while; so I think it might be the best. BE PREPARED for sticker shock though!

The stuff I bought at Rockler was $31+ per QUART!

-- just rjR

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OldWrangler

698 posts in 314 days


#11 posted 02-14-2014 05:17 PM

I was thinking that Spar Varnish might work and yep, I know about the sticker price. I’ll have to save my lunch money and look through the cushions in the sofa.

I’ve got some Blue Pine (Beetle Kill Pine) coming from Montana. Should I worry about the blue color as well?

Thanks for the advice.

-- I've given this a lot of thought and I don't think being an adult will work for me!!

View Jimbo4's profile

Jimbo4

1154 posts in 1482 days


#12 posted 02-14-2014 05:29 PM

You have a large enough safe deposit box to hide that in ? :o)

-- *Arachnoleptic Fit*: The frantic dance performed just after you've accidently walked through a spider web.

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OldWrangler

698 posts in 314 days


#13 posted 02-14-2014 05:37 PM

If it isn’t big enough I’ll make a bigger one.

-- I've given this a lot of thought and I don't think being an adult will work for me!!

View CoachSchroeder's profile

CoachSchroeder

77 posts in 323 days


#14 posted 02-14-2014 05:38 PM

the box elder bugs are a pain in the ass.
But that color.
Man oh man. Beautiful.

I have a distant relative who, like some on here, is an artist who uses wood. The 1st time I ever heard of box elder being useful was from him. He does a lot of bowls & boxes. He is waaaay to old school to be on a forum like this but I will ask him about preserving color in box elder and see if he has any secrets since there was a similar discussion a few days ago after someone posted a box elder bench.

-- -Sam, in Wisconsin

View CharlieM1958's profile

CharlieM1958

15712 posts in 2938 days


#15 posted 02-14-2014 05:40 PM

Don’t you know that stuff is highly toxic? Lucky for you I’m a trained in proper disposal techniques. I’ll PM you my address and you can send it to me before you suffer any further exposure. :-)

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

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