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Thread: So I got this big hunk of wood.................

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Central CA

    So I got this big hunk of wood.................

    A tree service cut down a tree in my neighborhood yesterday. The top of the trunk, where the large branches emanate from, was rotted and the branches were in danger of breaking off. However, the first 5 feet or so of the trunk was still sound and I was able to get that section. I was also able to get a fairly sound round, about ten inches thick, that was between my trunk section and the rotted part. The tree guy cut it off before I could cross the street to ask him to not cut it up.

    My city is a "Tree City USA" city so they map the trees. I called the city Forestry department and I was told that this tree is a "Pearl Pistache". Upon googling it I find that the name is "Pearl Street Pistache" (patented in 1994) but not much more info than that. The "City of Davis CA. Master Tree List" lists the Pearl Street Pistache as a fruitless variety Chinese Pistache (Pistacia chinensis).

    Is this a hardwood? Anyone know anything about it's woodworkability ()?

    Now.....the neato thing is......there is this red/pink staining in the wood that I assume was made by the fungus/disease that rotted the top parts of the tree in the first place.

    These first two pics are of half of the ten" round.....

    Click image for larger version. 

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    These next two pice are of the two halves of the trunk section that I got.......

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Is this spalting? What would be the best type of cut to use to mill this so that the red/pink coloring shows up the best?

    Lastly, is this even a good find? Or did I just get a big ol' hunka junk wood? It rained real heavy yesterday evening so the wood is real wet. Should I go ahead and paint the ends of the trunk or would I just be wasting my time?

    Thanks very much.
    Thanks, Mark.

    Custom Bonehead.

    My diet is working good. I'm down to needing just one chair now.

    "Just think how stupid the average person is, and then realize that half of them are even stupider!" --George Carlin

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Charlotte, NC
    Mark, I don't know much about sawyering, but I would think that qualifies as a fruit wood and would therefor be a hardwood. It seems that if you are wanting to celebrate the spalting, the wood should be flatsawn. Hopefully someone will jump in to say if I'm on the right track.

    That looks like some neat wood!


  3. #3
    Richard Smith Guest
    What a wonderful piece of wood! I bet the bowl turners would jump at the chance. Or you might band saw it in to lumber and then paint and sticker. I haven't seen this wood before but I'm guessing the red might be normal- like boxelder??? It extends into the live wood.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    I'd go ahead and paint the ends just in case. It will split real quick if you dont.

    It looks like it has some nice grain patterns, I'd try to turn it.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Mountain Home, Arkansas
    Flat saw? Horrors.
    All I see there is future bowls.
    Great find. Definately some spalting going on. I would get inside, seal the ends and wait a couple weeks.
    Then show us pictures of your new lathe spun bowls.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Nova Scotia's beautiful south shore
    Most of the Google references discuss it only as a popular landscaping/street tree. This site has a bit more:

    Detailed Tree Description

    Quoted for your viewing pleasure

    The Chinese pistache is a medium to large deciduous hardwood tree that will fit into larger home landscapes. The leaves are compound pinnate (a long leaf stem with 11 to 17 leaflets) and alternately arranged. It has impressive fall color (scarlet, crimson, orange, sometimes yellow), even in milder climates. The tree’s canopy can reach 40-50 feet in height and 30 feet in width at maturity. It is virtually insect- and disease-free (although it is susceptible to Texas root rot).

    The Chinese pistache is dioecious: plants are either males producing pollen (with little or no allergenic qualities) or female producing attractive (but inedible) berries that attract birds. Once established, it is very drought, wind, and heat tolerant.
    The Chinese pistache is a close relative of the pistachio nut tree (Pistacia vera), but is much hardier. The wood is very hard and rot resistant.

    All the best,
    Ian G

    **Now holding auditions for a catchy new signature**

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    ABQ NM
    Quote Originally Posted by Julio Navarro View Post
    I'd go ahead and paint the ends just in case. It will split real quick if you dont.

    It looks like it has some nice grain patterns, I'd try to turn it.
    I second all of Julio's points. Seal the ends, just to be safe. If turning's not in the realm of possibility, it would still make some pretty lumber for something like a jewelry box. Nice find, Mark.

    If you happen to have a leftover chunk about 3/4" x 3/4" x 6" or so, send it to me and I'll make you a pen.
    When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro. - Hunter S. Thompson
    When the weird get going, they start their own forum. - Vaughn McMillan

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Odessa, Tx
    I don't know 'what' killed that tree, but it must have been some kind of REALLY STRONG Radiation, 'cause it sure left a shadow of Batman deep inside as you can see in that end grain cut on that "Round". (Guess he must have been hiding in the tree watching someone when the Radiation Occurred).

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    somewhere east of Queen Creek, AZ - South East of Phoenix
    Don't believe anyof those guys. Seal the ends and give me your address I'll have my brother-in-Law hall away thos usless chunck of wood so you won't have to worry about disposing of them.

    "There’s a lot of work being done today that doesn’t have any soul in it. The technique may be the utmost perfection, yet it is lifeless. It doesn’t have a soul. I hope my furniture has a soul to it." - Sam Maloof
    The Pessimist complains about the wind; The Optimist expects it to change;The Realist adjusts the sails.~ William Arthur Ward

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Baker City, OR
    Are you sure it's not box elder??

    I have some BE that looks identical to what you have. Especially the sapwood. Is the heartwood a little punky?

    Is it possible that the tree folks mis-identified the tree?
    Last edited by Arnie Grammon; 02-24-2007 at 04:52 AM.

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