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Pacific Northwest Wood Types


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#11 Rodney

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Posted 03 March 2016 - 01:15 AM

Here in WA yellow cedar grows at higher elevations, say 3000 ft+ from what I've seen.  Most of what you're likely to find in lower elevations will be western red cedar.   You said Seattle area.  Check out the Alpine Lakes Wilderness east of Seattle when the snow melts.  You should be able to find some there.

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#12 conmcb25

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Posted 03 March 2016 - 03:22 AM

Ill do that, checking the maps out right now. Along the river valleys or closer to Lakes? I'm checking the maps right now.



#13 LilysDad

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Posted 03 March 2016 - 02:36 PM

What's the tree they get bay leaves from?



#14 MJC4

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Posted 03 March 2016 - 03:47 PM

 I would be inclined to try some of the local conifers. 

I have made sticks from lodge-pole & ponderosa pine as well as Engelmann spruce. Carved all 3 specie as well. If I remember from a trip we took to your area there were large stands of conifers on the Olympic peninsula and in the North Cascades. 

 In my experience pitch is not an issue if the wood has been dried sufficiently. 



#15 conmcb25

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Posted 03 March 2016 - 05:05 PM

These are the big ones in the Olympics:

Sitka Spruce

Doug-Fir

West hemlock

West red cedar

Bigleaf maple

Vine Maple

Red Alder

Black Cottonwood

 

I can ID them all except for maybe Vine Maple, but that's just making an effort to look it up and know what I am looking for.

 

Been spending most of my outdoor time in the Olympics this time of year. Still a lot of snow in the Cascades. I think I am heading out there next week when the 21 yr old is home for Spring Break, so we will see what we can find.

 

And I am in no hurry. I am still working on my first official walking stick that I first cut down back 2008 or 2009. Sugar Maple from Northern Michigan. So letting them dry for a year or two or three isn't a big deal. I just wanted to get a few from so locally available wood, before I leave the area in the next 18 months or so.

 

So for instance I really want to get some Sitka Spruce, I wont be finding much of that if I go back east :)

 

I was just wondering if anyone had experience with these wood types out here, and if there was one kind or another to avoid for some reason. :)



#16 Rodney

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Posted 03 March 2016 - 05:59 PM

Vine maple is a large shrub/small tree that grows under the bigger trees.  There's a lot of it in clearcuts too.  Google vine maple images to see what it looks like.  I was going to try describing it but that's the easy way.  I used to make sling shots out of the forks in it as a kid.  It grows perfect forks but getting a straight shank before the fork will be a challenge.

Rhododendron also grows in the Olympics.  Again, a straight piece can be hard to find but my experience is it's a nice wood to work with and some of the crooks might be good for handles.

There's a lot of spruce on the coast.  From what I've seen it prefers growing along the edges of marshy areas.  It can be full of pitch but you're not likely to break a limb of the stuff.

Pacific yew might be a good possibility too.  It's not pitchy and is much harder than cedar.

Rodney



#17 Sean

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Posted 03 March 2016 - 07:18 PM

Vine maple is one of my favorite woods. We have a ton of it up here in the Cascades where i live. Beautiful wood with the bark either left on or peeled and sanded down its lovely. As Rodney said though it can grow quite twisty and bent and found on the forest floor and most often here covered in moss.
I've also used it to make a few slingshots in past.
Red Western Cedar I don't have to worry about splitting and it dries faster than other woods.

#18 gdenby

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Posted 03 March 2016 - 07:23 PM

 

Pacific yew might be a good possibility too.  It's not pitchy and is much harder than cedar.

 

 

 

I've been working w. some yew for the past few years. Assuming pacific yew is similar to what I have, the wood is spectacular in several ways. Very dense, even the sap wood. Sort of waxy, and naturally water resistant. I have a root ball of it that sat in the ground for 2 years, and there was no rot at all in it. Probably because it is also toxic, and so breathing any dust could be hazardous.  Wonderful reddish color. Thin branches are mildly flexible, but I can't snap them. Not the easiest for detail carving, sort of fibrous, but doable with patience.


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#19 Rodney

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Posted 04 March 2016 - 02:56 PM

The working characteristics are about the same as what we have here then.  It's tough stuff.  One major use is for bows but the trees grow twisted so it can be hard to get a good blank.

I have a board of it here that I found several years ago.  Maybe I'll cut a piece and turn a stick from it.  Depends on the grain. I can't see it due to the board being older and dark.  I prefer straight grain for my sticks.  It's much stronger.

Rodney



#20 conmcb25

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Posted 07 March 2016 - 05:14 PM

Picked up a couple red alder blanks over the weekend. Was out in the woods for a bunch of other reasons and just happened upon them. :)

 

Thanks for all the advice!






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