I just bought a small load of assorted hardwoods from a SE Kansas mill/
dealer. He had some Coffee Bean, also called it Buckeye, and he said
it came from Kentucky. I bought 5 or 6 nice wide planed boards about
8 to 10" long. Widest is about 12". It has an attractive Oak or Ash-
like grain pattern but it is much redder. He told me if finished with
oil or varnish, without stain, it would provide a natural color
similar to cherry but it wouldn't oxidize. It feels like it is a
little lighter than Oak and it is supposed to machine well.
I have Googled and found opinions that are all over the place with
regard to machining properties. Has anyone here have any experience
with this wood? How does it work? Any favorite finishes?
Buckeye is the name of the nut that grows on the
Horse Chestnut tree. The nut looks like a Buck's eye,
and is not edible by people.
I never heard the tree called that before -- sort of like
calling oaks 'acorn trees'.
But since you've verified that what you have is Kentucky
Coffee tree wood, that's irrelevant.
Same Genus, different Species. One is, more often than not, sold as the
other. AAMOF, mills make no distinction between the logs when milling,
and they are not graded separately, so you pays your money and gets what
you got. :)
Like this whole tulip poplar thing up here in Kanuckistan. One yard
was showing me 'tulip wood' and I saw the green streaks and I said:
"you mean poplar?" He said: "Sure"...LOL
Lately I have been intrigued by olive wood. The colour...wow... NO
idea yet how it works, but sure can be pretty.
Yeah, my local supplier (Fine Lumber in Austin) puts it all in the same bin
marked "Hickory/Pecan". I kinda wish they wouldn't do that. Yes, they are
related and the lumber is similar, but they ain't the same. I have a big stack
of Shagbark Hickory (from Missouri) drying in my shop right now, and it's quite
different from the batch of Texas Pecan I had a few years ago. One look at the
trees themselves and you can tell that the lumber isn't going to look or behave
the same. Shagbarks have very tall and straight trunks with very little canopy
until you get near the top (sometimes 60-80 feet), whereas Pecans spread out
much earlier and much wider. In my case, the Hickory is darker than the creamy
colored Pecan, and appears to be more stable as well. Temperature and humidity
changes cause more movement in that Pecan than any other wood I've used.
Free bad advice available here.
To reply, eat the taco.
This has a grain pattern that is somewhat similar to Pecan or Red Oak,
but definitely its own look. The main discriminator is its color.
The wood I bought is more red - lightest similar to Red oak but darker
features are nearly rose in color. He advised it works up well but it
is prone to splitting. With an oil finish the color should he similar
The fellow I bought it from is an interesting guy. His family owns
one of the historic buildings in Coffeyville and it's adjacent to one
of the banks the Dalton Gang tried to rob. He advised on a
documentary about the gang. He is an artist, a gun enthusiast and
avid woodworker. It sounded like he makes a fair amount of money from
his lumber business and a lot from identifying and cutting rifle and
shotgun stock material from his lumber. He had two walls lined with
square-cut chunks of figured 2-1/2" shotgun and rifle sized Walnut;
and he was heading for a Tulsa gun show this weekend. As I recall he
said he would get anywhere from $50 to $200 for each chunk; and some
of the folks who buy them will resell them higher. I bought some
Walnut, Red Oak, White Oak (quartersawn) and the Coffee from him at
his standard price of $1.75. He sells poplar for around $1. All is
air dried for 2-3 years and finished in one of his kilns.
I also bought a big chunk of Walnut that measures 58" x 18" x 2-3/8"
thick - $50. I suspect there is another rocking horse inside of it
Yep, that's part of the problem, the pecan that makes the good nuts that
you can eat doesn't make very good lumber, except for smoking meat.
AAMOF, much of it is hybrid stock and anyone selling that stuff for
hardwood lumber is ripping off the customer.
What we called hog pecan, and milled and used when I was a kid in S
Louisiana, is what is intermingled with the different species of hickory
in the hardwood wood pile. The trees are easier to tell apart, but once
cut the wood is often indistinguishable in all aspects.
That is incorrect. Buckeye is the name of the nut that grows on the
buckeye tree. The nut that grows on the horse chestnut tree is called,
unsurprisingly, the horse chestnut.
Buckeye (Aesculus glabra) and horse chestnut (Aesculus hippocastanum)
are related, but distinctly different species. I used to have one of
each in my yard, but the horse chestnut died a few years ago. FWIW,
horse chestnut makes damn fine firewood.
I've never tried anything with it; nothing I've ever heard would give me
If you learn something different, it'll be interesting to know.
I have Googled Coffee Bean and Kentucky Coffee Bean and have found
close up pictures of wood that looks like mine. Some say it works
well, others say it doesn't. One says it works a lot like Hickory,
which means it might be a little difficult. With this variance of
opinion I was hoping someone here had some experience and tips.
BTW, at least one of these sites also referred to it as Buckeye.
Confused -- but will be working with it in a day or two.
While buying oak and cherry from a local sawmill in 2005 I came across
Kentucky Coffee Tree. Knew nothing about the lumber. The dealer said these
trees were planted as ornamental shade trees in the local town about a
hundred years ago and now were dieing off. The mill was selling the
material for a buck a BDFT. I bought 75 BDFT of 8/4 material and built a
workbench top 2"x30"x 84" with a 4" apron from the stuff. Nice heavy bench
top and it has stayed flat. I liked working this wood; it machined OK,
worked well with hand tools and took an oil finish well. I would use this
lumber again if I could fine the material.
OK - More research and what I bought was Kentucky Coffee Tree. Pretty
wood that is supposed to finish up nicely. Comments I have seen so
far range from "nice to work with" to "hardest thing I have every put
in my saw mill".
Anybody else have experience?
I probably will tomorrow.
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