Your Best Turning Wood Just Might Be Free
If you know how to deal with unseasoned wood, you may be able to have a steady supply of free turning wood. While that probably won’t include such species as canary wood, bubinga, teak, or other exotics, you can get some pretty nice pieces. Available species will be somewhat dictated by your geographic location, but ornamental plantings increase the offerings of any locale.
One very nice ornamental is Caragana Arborescence or Siberian pea tree. This member of the locust family is often used for hedge planting. While it does not get to be a big tree, you can usually find two inch diameter trunks, sometimes even up to six inches.
Caragana turns easily, green or dry, and does not tend to crack as it dries after being turned. The wood is yellow with an irregular, red pattern around the heart. This can produce some surprises as in the butterfly clock or the weed pot with eagle wings.
Caragana polishes to a fine luster with a lot of depth to the grain. The yellow color does not fade or turn brown as do some yellow woods.
If you know anyone who has a hedge of Caragana, sometime they will need that hedge trimmed and all those branches hauled away. If your neighbor doesn’t have Caragana, check seed catalogs for a supply to establish your own.
Ellis Hein, author of The Woodturner’s Project Book
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