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Thread: Any experience with palm tree wood?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
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    Any experience with palm tree wood?

    My neighbourg has cut down a couple of palm trees he had in his garden and I asked for couple of pieces as I've seen some carvings made by polinesian indigens that looked great.

    Has any of you worked with that wood? The green trunks are literally dripping water and they are like compresed fibers, I hope that they will not split. I know that once dry they are very lightweight.
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    Best regards,
    Toni

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  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
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    I have turned black palm and as you describe it is "stringy". It is a good wood for my students to learn patience in sanding as it will finish nicely but does take diligence to get it smooth. Don't know if this is the same type of wood or not, but that is my experience with palm wood.
    Jon

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  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
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    Lots of it around here, but don't anyone who works - at least more than once! Do know some turners who have tried it and swore never again. But maybe it carves better than it turns.

    Curious here. Do you plan to 'slice' it into 'boards' so as to be able to carve on 'face' or long grain? Wonder if you need to cut the log in half the long way to aid in drying. Also wonder if it has a pith that would contribute to splitting.

    But any wood fiber ought to yield nicely to a sharp edge. Keep us posted.
    ++++++

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  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
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    The Gorge Area, Oregon
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    Kept meaning to when we lived in Hawaii but never got any. It's supposed to be pretty high in silica and rough on tools. The center is usually pretty soft, but seems to vary between types.

    I also heard a possibly apocryphal story about soaking it in sea water to cure, supposedly it made the wood harder, but haven't actually met anyone who's done that (and the salt seems like a bad idea but who knows). The down trees and chunks I saw alongside the road didn't seem that prone to splitting so you might? get away with cutting whole rounds (but it was pretty certainly a different type of Palm).

    Will be interested to see what you end up with anyway.

  5. #5
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    Dec 2006
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    RETIRED(!) in Austintown, Ohio
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    Grain-wise, it's pretty 'stringy.' Think of tightly bundled strands of grass. Never tried turning it, and only used it as long grain lumber once. Didn't care much for either the stringy texture, or the straight-line grain pattern. BTW, what I used was called "Queen Palm." Other varieties may vary in texture and density.
    Jim D.
    Adapt, Improvise, Overcome!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
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    St. Catharines, Ontario, Canada
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    Palm trees are close relatives of grasses, but still we see a lot of bamboo cutting boards and things around here, and bamboo is a palm. The cutting boards have a surface that would probably work well.
    Cheers,
    Roger


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  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
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    Roanoke, Illinois
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    212
    Been there, done that. You can turn this if you freeze it or let it dry for a few years. What you have is really miserable stuff to turn.
    Either you like bacon or you are wrong.

  8. #8
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    Oliver Springs, TN
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    Wonder if you could stabilize it and then turn it?

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
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    Roanoke, Illinois
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    212
    Quote Originally Posted by John Daugherty View Post
    Wonder if you could stabilize it and then turn it?
    That should work ok but it still looks like a bunch of grass.
    Either you like bacon or you are wrong.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
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    ABQ NM
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    The black palm can be pretty neat-looking...

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