Common Here in the Inland Northwest
When first starting on my journey of wood turning I discovered almost immediately a few truths:
One, I can have all the pine a person could possibly use.
Two, the tree most likely to be given away is the Black Locust.
Three, the best trees to harvest are the trees blown down or blown apart, in the midst of winter.
Expanding on the lessons.
The trees harvested during the winter months are the very best. Most of the water, sap has drained to their roods. Seems really logical. But when you combine that with wanting to have natural edges it is the best. The bark just grips the new wood and simply will not let go. Thus, you can cut the bark to the thinnest of edges and it will still cling to the wood.
Wood felled by wind or blown apart are the best second harvested. The reason? The wood is solid. More times than not, when you pick up wood from Craigslist, like I do. Some listings say, ‘free fire wood’ cut today. You have to be careful. If someone has taken the time to cut down a mature tree, there are a couple of things going on. The first is it has gotten too big for it’s location. Second, a result of maturing, the tree is dying. Third, dying equals rotting. This is fine if you really like spalted wood. Spalting is a discoloration of the wood caused by bacteria. Most commonly referred to as root.
Rot is okay if you are prepared to deal with it. As a beginner, there have been moments when it was necessary to wander the internet to discover what could be done to save the project. More about this process later.
To date these are the Black Locust vessels I have created. Some have been gifted, some remain and others will wander to Seattle University’s Student auction to help replenish scholarship funds. The wood once cured is similar to cutting walnut. It is rich in oil and very stable. All in all, very forgiving to turn.