unusual woods and wood gloat


Last fall I cut down a very old mock orange shrub growing next to our foundation. The wood looked kind of interesting, so I kept several of the larger chunks, mostly 2-6 inch diameter, 2-3 feet long stuff. The other day I decided to see how it machined and crosscut a smaller piece; I haven't ripped it yet, but what I got on the crosscut is encouraging: very dense, tight grain with a mellow nut-beige color (kinda like raw cashew nuts or sesame seeds, but a shade or two darker) and a glass-smooth surface (from a dull blade!). My first thought was to make a few percussion instrutments, striking tools and tool handles. It would also make a beautiful inlay on a dark, contrasting base. I'll let you know what I do with it.
So I'm wondering what other unusual woods have been used, by whom, for what?
My gloat: from our local city mulch site I scored two 3' long sections of 8" dia. log that appear to be apple, and am going back for a 6'-6" dia. piece. It is pretty twisty, but the color is incredible--oranges, reds and pinks, with the paler heartwood.
Dan
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It was somewhere outside Barstow when snipped-for-privacy@gte.net wrote:

Laburnum. It's a fairly common garden shrub in the UK, grows to 4" diameter and has very dark heartwood. In the 18th century it was used for "oyster veneering" - diagonal ovals were sawn from the branches, trimmed to rectangles and then laid as a tiled veneer. Looks hideous IMHO, but it's an interesting effect. Nicer to my eye if you make small boxes with a plinth and capital moulding to them in plainer maple, then use these oysters as a frieze between them.
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Good find on the apple wood. I have heard that some is great. I have some - it is average. My short experience is that it likes to twist a lot when you cut it into boards. So, let it cure in the log sections for a while, then when it's cut, get some pressure on it (to keep it flat).
I haven't "found" a lot of good wood, but you can definately make some awesome table tops by mixing and matching various lumber that comes off a Woodmizer, or you rip your self. There's a successful restaurant up the hill (probably seats 200), all the table tops are high-glossed mixed:walnut, maple, butternut, cherry,hickory, maybe others.
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