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Thread: What types of Evergreen wood can you turn

  1. #1

    What types of Evergreen wood can you turn

    I live in New Jersey and there are various types of evergreens growing that get cut down from time to time. What type of evergreens are good to turn and what are best to avoid? Thanks for the advice.

  2. #2
    Well, they all can be turned, but not all are 'good' to turn. The incense cedar is one that comes to mind. The yew tree, which I think of as being more western, is good to turn. Most of the pine and fir trees tend to have pitch pockets which are a mess both for turning and for sanding. We have a lot of Douglas Fir out here, and the colors can be nice, but there is a big difference in hardness between the early wood and late wood, so when you sand you get rigdes. If you take a wire brush or a bead blaster to it, you can 'antique' it nicely. Not sure about cypress.

    robo hippy

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
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    Lummi Island, WA
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    I'm with Robo here - most evergreens are not pleasant to turn - I live in a Douglas fir forest and don't bother to turn it. I've enjoyed Monterey Cypress, it turns reasonably well, as does Alaska Yellow Cedar and our local red cedar. Technically, Madrone is an evergreen and turns beautifully...

  4. #4
    Cutting, not scraping ,is what’s needed. The skew used like you’re ‘sposed to ….works well. Yeah, takes a lot of practice, wear face shield
    or “Tin Man” full body suit. I worked with two guys who were wizards with the skew, some regular cabinetmaker clients would tell them
    “no sanding” when leaving their old heart pine stock and drawing for bed posts.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
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    Gresham, Oregon
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    It doesn't look like anybody has mentioned Juniper. It can be difficult to turn (hard knots) but is quite attractive.

  6. #6
    Join Date
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    Quote Originally Posted by mike ash View Post
    It doesn't look like anybody has mentioned Juniper. It can be difficult to turn (hard knots) but is quite attractive.
    Isn't "evergreen" pretty generic term for all sorts of trees?
    Anyways, I do enjoy turning most cypresses and junipers, which I think are "evergreens". Mostly everything here stays green..... I enjoy turning most woods we have.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
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    Inver Grove Heights, MN
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    I have a lot of spruce and used to have several red cedar. Have turned a bunch of both with no problems. Too much sap in pine for my taste. I have turned root balls and ground level cuts from decorative foundation planting evergreens, but don't remember the types or any good or bad things about individual plants. My advise is always "try it." The worst that will happen is you will have a mess to clean up.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
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    E TN, near Knoxville
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    Quote Originally Posted by David Metzman View Post
    I live in New Jersey and there are various types of evergreens growing that get cut down from time to time. What type of evergreens are good to turn and what are best to avoid? Thanks for the advice.
    One of my favorites is Eastern Red Cedar. Cuts, smooths, and finishes nicely. I like pieces with figure and variation in color.

    cedar_vessel.jpg cedar_bowl_figured.jpg cedar_bowl.jpg P7203922cs.jpg

    I have turned some clean white pine. Virgina pine, not interested. Norfolk Island pine is quite popular for turning. Just bought some nice redwood to try.

    All these, like many other woods: sharp, sharp cutting tools, never carbide scrapers.

    JKJ

  9. #9
    The main weed tree around here (north Texas) is Mountain Cedar - Juniperus ashei. It's actually a juniper and used mainly for fence posts and mulch. It is relatively dense and turns beautifully when dry and is a little sappy when wet. It also grows with lots of branches so knots are a problem . I have a pile of turning blanks made from salvaged fence posts. It tends to be dusty when turned dry.

    I also have some cypress and it reminds me of white pine with less pronounced grain and less odor. My popcorn bowl is cypress. It's soft so end grain tearout can be a problem.

    Jim

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