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Thread: Ironwood on the Hoof

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    ABQ NM

    Ironwood on the Hoof

    I had a guy at my booth in Studio City a couple weekends ago who asked me if I'd be interested in an old log. He'd gotten it to use for landscaping, then decided it was not the look he wanted. I started telling him that old dried-out logs are not that good for turning, and he mentioned it was ironwood from the Sonoran desert. That got my interest, so I asked him to e-mail me some pics of it...I might be interested. He sent the pics, I consulted our resident desert ironwood expert (Barry Richardson), and to make a long story short, this followed me home yesterday:

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    And the other side...

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    This end has a hollow in it that goes halfway (or more) into the stump...

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    Here's the root end. You can see a face that was cut a few years ago, and it's barely checked...

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    Barry warned me that these old stumps can sometimes be disappointing once they're opened up due to checking, but this one doesn't seem too checked looking at the ends, so I'm hoping it'll have some good blanks in it. He also told me processed blanks are selling for between $4 and $8 per pound. After moving it around (I love the lift gate on my truck) I'm guessing this piece weighs about 150 pounds. I paid less than $0.70 per pound. A fair amount of the wood will end up being waste, but I should be able to make my money back selling pen and bottle stopper blanks on eBay if need be. I'm just hoping there's some nice figure and color inside. Barry said that some of these old logs get pretty dark with age.

    The guy I bought it from is a true wood art aficionado, with some beautiful wooden (and ceramic) vessels displayed in his living room. (The house looked like it was straight out of Sunset Magazine.) He also had a couple of awesome coffee tables, including one with a 4" thick slab of redwood burl about 3' x 6' in size. Assuming there are some workable blanks in the ironwod log, I'll be making something for him, too. I'll probably crack it open in the next day or so, but I won't really get any blanks processed until I order a few new bandsaw blades. Based on what Barry told me, I expect to go through a few. He says the chainsaw can handle it, but I'll need to be sharpening it every few cuts.
    When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro. - Hunter S. Thompson
    When the weird get going, they start their own forum. - Vaughn McMillan

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Goodland, Kansas
    Vaughn that ought to produce some interesting turnings. Man that is some knarley stuff. Can't wait to see what comes of it.
    Bernie W.

    Retirement: That’s when you return from work one day
    and say, “Hi, Honey, I’m home – forever.”

    To succeed in life, you need three things: a wishbone, a backbone and a funnybone.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Palm Springs, Ca
    hey vaughn takes some pictures of how your going to cut that up. I would like to see how it comes out........

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Des Moines, IA
    Vaughn, I am with Dan, some photos of the way you cut that up would be great.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Red Deer, Alberta, Canada
    Great score, Vaughn!!!!
    Looking forward to seeing what you make from that.
    Should be very interesting and no doubt educational, as well. Keep us posted, please!
    Why has common sense
    become so uncommon?

    My Woodwork Site

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Mountain Home, Arkansas
    Great catch.
    There has to be some really exciting figure in there.
    Looking forward to seeing the inside.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    DSM, IA
    WOW, that is quite a piece of wood. Good luck when you cut into it.
    A man is rich in proportion to the number of things he can afford to let alone. -Henry David Thoreau
    My Website

  8. #8
    Yahoo Vaughn! Have fun with that! After reading your post, I went out in the garage and snapped this pic of a 14" disc I recently roughed. It came from a piece of wood a lot like yours, so this may be similar to what you can expect. My plan is to just drill a hole in the edge of this one, make a flat spot on the opposite side, and make an artsy weed pot from it.
    Good luck on your score, and wear a dust mask!
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails ironwood disc rough.jpg  

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Lakeport NY and/or the nearest hotel
    well that should be an exciting bunch of blanks. you taking orders yet?

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