I found a couple pictures of the day i was cutting the two trees down, maybe this will help some. one tree was completely dead and one was dying, the branches that still have leaves in the picture is the wood im using.
Sounds good. And thanks again for sharing your knowledge.
One more thing. What I need to achieve is a smooth finish, not tacky, which leads to my question: Does oil+resin varnish make a tacky finish? I know a pure oil one makes a smooth one, but I wanted to try an oil+resin marine varnish. However, on a practice sword, if I choose the wrong finish and end up with a "sticky" surface, I'm done for and I can toss the piece and start all over, because it's going to kill the hands of a user.