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Thread: A Bit of Oak

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
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    A Bit of Oak

    A friend of a friend had to take down a big oak tree yesterday, so the Ranger and I went to pay him a visit this afternoon. I’m guessing the smallest piece is a little under 100 pounds, since I could lift it a little way off the ground (briefly). The others were strictly roll or moving dolly material. The lift gate brings a smile to my face every time I use it.

    Here’s the load. I failed to get a good side shot of the truck, but it was pretty hunched down on the springs. I could tell it was loaded when I was driving it, but I only had a couple of miles to travel. (I had the color balance set wrong on my camera for the first couple of pictures, hence the green truck):

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    And a couple shots of it all unloaded…the yellow-looking stuff on the side is some eucalyptus that’s probably the worst wood I’ve ever tried to turn. Very acidic (it reeked of hydrochloric acid and it rusted my lathe beds within minutes of contact), but it also cracks at the mere though of drying. I’m going to cut it up small enough for the green bin and throw it away:

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    This big trunk slab is only about 8” to 12” thick, so it won’t yield any real big pieces, but it may have some interesting bark inclusions and stains in the finished piece. (Or it may be total junk once I get inside of it.)

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    And here’s one of the perils of working with “yard” wood. This one’s not bad since it’s pretty visible…

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    …but this one could sneak up on you pretty easily if it weren’t for the wire sticking out:

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    This is my first experience with oak on the hoof. I'm not sure what type of oak it is. The fresh cut ends are red (as you can see in the pics), but I'm wondering if it could be one of the other oaks we have in California. The leaves most closely matched the blue oak example shown here:

    http://hastings.berkeley.edu/OakStory/TreeOaks.html

    Any ideas?
    When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro. - Hunter S. Thompson
    When the weird get going, they start their own forum. - Vaughn McMillan

    workingwoods.com

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2007
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    Nice find, interesting info, didn't realize the eucalyptus was so acidic...good to know. Those could be some interesting show pieces with the bobbins left in and turned right.
    Darren

    To a small child, the perfect granddad is unafraid of big dogs and fierce storms but absolutely terrified of the word “boo.” – Robert Brault

  3. #3
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    Darren, this was the first eucalyptus I've run into that was like this. It's "yellow stringybark" eucalyptus, pretty common around here, but it was wicked stuff. I rough turned a big bowl over the course of two evenings, and it wasn't until the end of the last session that I finally figured out where I recognized the smell from. It smelled just like the hydrochloric acid we used to use in the testing labs to clean up concrete testing equipment. It sure stunk up my Trend faceshield. And the chips it stained a freshly-waxed lathe bed in about a minute, and within about 5 minutes rust was starting to form.

    I've not heard the term bobbin used in describing oak. What are the bobbins?
    When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro. - Hunter S. Thompson
    When the weird get going, they start their own forum. - Vaughn McMillan

    workingwoods.com

  4. #4
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    Tokyo Japan
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    Quite the haul Vaughn

    Should be some interesting stuff come out of that!

    I think Darren is talking about the ceramic insulators that are in the wood.
    The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails.
    William Arthur Ward

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stuart Ablett View Post
    ...I think Darren is talking about the ceramic insulators that are in the wood.
    Doh! Of course you're right. I had even been thinking the same thing. I'm such a ditz sometimes.
    When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro. - Hunter S. Thompson
    When the weird get going, they start their own forum. - Vaughn McMillan

    workingwoods.com

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
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    Tellico Plains, Tennessee
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    Vaughn,
    I can't say for sure, but the wood looks very much like the red oak we have here in TN.. I'm a lousy wood identifier... I'm pretty sure of the wood part, but beyond that, I have to rely on other more knowledgeable people. The thing that throws me is that my red oak has about an inch and half of white sap wood around the logs that are nicely spalted already... the pieces I have are from a tree that evidently died and then fell across the road. I just happened on a neighbor cutting the tree up to clear the road. When I was loading the wood, he told me it was worthless and not any good for anything... made some really nice bowls though for worthless wood.
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    Chuck
    Tellico Plains, TN
    https://www.etsy.com/shop/TellicoTurnings
    My parents taught me to respect my elders, but it's getting harder and harder to find any.
    If you go looking for trouble, it will usually find you.

  7. #7
    Another nice haul Vaughn! Time to start some serious roughing out, ay? Blue Oak huh? Never heard of that one. From my days in Socal I remember those big gnarly oaks, most always refered to as coastal or 'california' live oaks. The name seemed to be used by most people for anything that looked like an oak. Looking forward to seeing somthing made from it!

  8. #8
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    Nov 2006
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    Mountain Home, Arkansas
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    Never heard of 'blue oak'. But, we have a lot of white and red oak in the Ozarks, probably the predominant hard wood. Good for flatwork and firewood. If I had known ye liked for turning, you could have helped me clean up the property after the ice storm. We would have even put you up and fed you well.
    Other than that, nice haul.
    BTW, a lift gate is considered cheating. Hernias and ruptured disks are part of the 'fun'.

  9. #9
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    Nov 2008
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    Tampa & NC
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    432

    A bit of Oak

    Nive haul there.looks like some nice figure in some of em

  10. #10
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    Vaughn, this might be a good investment for you at this time.
    http://www.woodcraft.com/product.asp...fcode=09IN06NL

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