Spalted Paulownia any good?

Jeff Horton

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4,272
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The Heart of Dixie
Long time since I have posted anything. Bought some land, busy cleaning it up and removing trees. Had a really large tree down we drug out with the tractor and was quite surprised to see red shavings coming out as I was cutting it up with the chainsaw. Took some time to figure out it was Paulownia but is only the second time I have seen red in a tree other than that Box Elder. The other time it was a spalted dogwood.

So, is it any good for turning? I know if is very soft wood. I have not turned anything in quite some time but if this is any good I might fire up the lath. I have a very large amount of it and some very large chunks.
 

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Chuck Ellis

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Tellico Plains, Tennessee
Are you sure it's Paulownia?? All that I have has a hollow where the pith should be.... if it is, it turns easy, will not tear out much, but will be fuzzy ... does not cut clean as a tighter grained would does.... will require considerable sanding. It's pretty stable wood and doesn't move much, very light weight and is being cultivated in Australia for lumber (per what I've read about the tree from the paulownia society.)

This is a bowl I turned from Royal Paulownia a couple of years back...

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Chuck Ellis

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Tellico Plains, Tennessee
Yup. Lot of small ones. Blooms and seed pods on this one confirmed it.
Then turn it... it's pretty stable, pretty resistant to rot, I've had a couple of logs laying on the ground in front of my shop for a couple of years with little or no sign of rot... it's soft and prone to be fuzzy after it's turned... not so much tear out, but doesn't cut really smooth... I have to start with 60 or 80 grit and sand awhile to get a smooth finish.... people are amazed at how light weight a bowl 11" diameter is.
All of mine has about 1 to 1 1/2 inch hole where the pith is and I had one log where the grain separated about 3" from the center...but the rest of the log was solid and made a nice bowl. The red in your wood will give it more feature than what I have... mine is rather plain.
 

Jeff Horton

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4,272
Location
The Heart of Dixie
I may try one because I need a bigger bowl for my popcorn. But I have just lost interest in turning. Only can use so many bowls.... Might make a few blanks but expect to be selling this house and building a new one. That is just more stuff to move too.
 
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