Box Elder: adventures in turning wet wood


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About 4 months back, I picked up several sizable trunk pieces from a box elder tree that someone had felled "a few months back."

 

I chainsawed them into manageable sized chunks, sealed the end grain, and stacked/stickered them in my "shop" (such as it is). Got down to 20% moisture content from the 40% + they started from.

 

Pulled the first one out Friday, roughed out a blank, and tossed it on the lathe.

 

The spalting didn't present itself (other than a hint of red on one edge) until I started cutting.

 

This wood is odd to work - seemingly random soft spots (at least I haven't noodled out the logic or contributing grain patterns).

 

The first blank was stunning - until it exploded while I was putting a third coat of BLO/shellac blend on it. I've glued the bits back together best I can, and will be playing with some epoxy & gold glitter to try a Japanese wabi-sabi inspired repair.

 

Shaped the outside of a second blank this afternoon. We'll see how it progresses.5ebb9f09ef8875be390bba9799be7fcc.jpg452a948b31c27ded1128bdfe09d2ec6b.jpg

 

Redefining normal daily

 

 

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Do you know that box elder is a maple tree ? I remember reading some botany articles about the red stain. They think it's a nonspecific response the tree has to invasion/injury instead of the fungus that comes with the beetles boring into the tree. The red does fade if exposed to sunlight. 2 uncles were botany professors and I took a lot of botany in college.  I think the spalting is separate from the red stain, fungus after the tree dies.

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Do you know that box elder is a maple tree ? I remember reading some botany articles about the red stain. They think it's a nonspecific response the tree has to invasion/injury instead of the fungus that comes with the beetles boring into the tree. The red does fade if exposed to sunlight. 2 uncles were botany professors and I took a lot of botany in college.  I think the spalting is separate from the red stain, fungus after the tree dies.
I did know that box elder is in the maple family.
Did some reading when I picked up the trunk - the study I saw concludes the red staining is an injury response.

"The stain’s ubiquitous presence in all wounded tissue and the inability of F. solani isolates obtained from boxelder to stain boxelder red in wood block studies indicates that red stain is most likely produced by the tree as a nonspecific host response to wounding."

Source: https://www.plantmanagementnetwork.org/pub/php/research/redstain/

Redefining normal daily

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