About Our Wood
Most of our wood is from south and east Texas. We often have Honey Mesquite, Pecan, Texas Bodark (Osage Orange), Texas Ebony (our family favorite!), Texas Huisache (Sweet Acacia), and Oak (primarily Live and Water Oak). Occasionally we have other wood, including Black Cherry, Sycamore, Hackberry, and Eastern Red Cedar and very occasionally, unusual species such as Redbud and Crepe Myrtle. The character and quality of some of these woods can be seen in turned pieces shown on our other website Prairie's End Woodshop.
Our selection does change over time, and we tend to have a sawyer's backlog -- there is a lot more wood in log form in our woodyard than you seen on the site. We also have quite a bit going through the sawing and drying process, so we are always happy to take on special requests and see what we can do for you.
All of the turning wood is green to partially air-dried. The ends are generally sealed to resist checking. The sizes of turning blocks and slabs range from small blocks to large bowl and crotch pieces. Many of the bowl blocks are sold with bark on for the turning of natural-edge bowls, if desired. The Mesquite is typically "gnarly and twisted" with numerous checks, bark inclusions and beetle holes. In the write-up of each of the listed turning pieces, we have tried to include a description of all of these visible flaws and "character features".
More about Huisache
Huisache (pronounced "wee-sach"), or Sweet Acacia, has a beautiful grain pattern and gorgeous colors - being orange-red in the heartwood and a creamy yellow color in the sapwood. It turns easily when green, producing long curls of a fascinating sparkly orange-white color. The bark of fresh-cut Huisache is very tight and clings well to a natural edge vessel. The wood also finishes to a beautiful surface.
Interestingly enough, Huisache is a bane to farmers, ranchers and rural homesteads in this part of Texas. Similar to Mesquite, it is invasive and can quickly take-over fallow land and replace grasses and other vegetation. Similar to but even worse than Mesquite, Huisache has many thorns - long, very hard and sharp needle-like thorns that penetrate truck and tractor tires and result in numerous flats, pain and agony! Considerable effort is required (and taken) to eradicate Huisache once it is established, and as a result, it is rarely found in sufficient size for most woodworking needs.
Occasionally, however, we are able to locate and harvest larger Huisache trees (I reckon you'd have to call them "old growth" Huisache). These larger trees are generally still small relative to other timber trees - we have yet to see a Huisache "saw log". But these larger "trees" do produce pieces big enough for useful lathe work. As a result, I have quite a few whole, half-log and crotch pieces available. A lot of effort is put into locating, harvesting and trimming these pieces, but the beauty of the wood makes the effort worthwhile.
More about Bodark
AKA .. Osage Orange, Bois d'Arc, Horse Apple or Hedge
This is a very common wood in the bottomlands of the nearby Brazos River. It was formerly planted as hedgerows or living fences elsewhere on the prairie and reputed to be: "Horse high, bull strong and hog tight". These same Bodark trees later yielded the durable fence posts that supported the "modern" barbed-wire fences! Wanting to see how they really worked, we are presently in the process of establishing a Bodark hedgerow around much of our property to replace the present barbed-wire fencing that contains our livestock.
Bodark is a hard wood and results in a beautiful finish. It turns easily on the lathe when green but becomes more of a challenge when it dries. Don't be put off by the yellow to orange color of these blocks - while the orange is attractive, those colors are just stages in a slow change with age and exposure to sun and air. Those changes begin with a bright yellow (mustard colored when chain-sawing the standing tree), to a light yellowish-orange (within days), followed by a darker orange to burnt-orange (within months), and ultimately (after several years) ends in a beautiful dark, golden brown color.