Free Turning Wood

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.

The Butterfly Clock

Caragana with butterflies

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.

Caragana Wings

Wings in the Wood

Ellis Hein, author of The Woodturner’s Project Book

Have you seen the plans I have up for sale for the space saving cabinet?


About Ellis Hein

I am a woodturner and the author of The Woodturner's Project Book. I have a life-long interest in the gospel preached by George Fox and the early Quakers. You can see some of my material on that subject at
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