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Thread: Osage Orange

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
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    Orange Park, FL
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    Osage Orange

    My friend in So. Dk. was given a fair amount of Osage Orange. He hauled home and called me to tell me how heavy it was. He said it had been in a barn for several years and was thrilled to have.
    The next day his back was hurting severely. He lives in a small town that has pretty good medical care. They X-rayed it and sent him off to a large regional hosp.
    Long story short he was septic and died three weeks later.
    I would like to know what the price a BF is for this lumber. I am going to inform his family that this lumber is not in the Red Oak category.

    Thank you.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Location
    SE PA - Central Bucks County
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    66,365
    Osage Orange isn't all that common to see in lumber form, especially in quantities...they trees tend to be pretty gnarly! One return I got via a Google search showed $20 a board foot. It's very hard, very weather resistance and the bright yellowish orange color browns to a medium tone out with exposure to UV. I've turned a little of it years ago, including for a shop mallet.
    --

    The most expensive tool is the one you buy "cheaply" and often...

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    So Cal
    Posts
    3,840
    I made several walking canes from Osage orange.
    Good friend had a couple lengths stored for many years it was very dry. The wood has turned a rich dark brown but started out greenish tan.
    Sad to hear about your friend. Sounds like a special gift he left you.
    see pics below
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Aj

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
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    Somewhere in the Land of Lincoln
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    Jim is correct about it as far as color and being a gnarly tree. A very long lasting wood and used for fence posts still in the Midwest. It's a heavy dense wood and lasts a long time in ground contact. I think it's sometimes used for turning at times. Here is a photo of a stack of fence posts that sold recently here. They brought $24 each.


  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Peoria, IL
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    Sorry for you loss. A fair amount of a species of wood is hardly the information needed to give an estimate of value. It isn't unlike Mesquite in the way it grows. It can have lots of bark inclusions, cracks. It's not nearly as easy to dry as Mesquite. I was septic once from a leak in my colon. No way an X-ray can evaluate bacteria in your blood. Despite all the advances in medicine, the only real way to diagnose sepsis is to grow a blood sample in a petri dish, and that takes 24 hours. My life was saved by simply being told to go to the ER is my temp went over 101. It did, I went right in, and was out of the hospital in 3 days. Sepsis must absolutely be caught early.
    Last edited by Richard Coers; 06-01-2024 at 10:47 PM.

  6. #6
    Osage orange is highly variable depending on location. Around here, it grows naturally, so it's usually not too expensive, if you can find it. Usually around $10-15 a board foot, about the same price range as walnut or white oak (which around here white oak is usually more expensive than walnut). Sometimes it's more. Sometimes it's less. Since it's not a lumber that's stocked often or in high demand, so it's price is highly variable. Sometimes someone will call someone out to clear a bunch from their yard, and the local lumber yard might have a bunch on hand they just want to get rid of and price it accordingly. Sometimes you can't find it anywhere. A lot of people make archery bows out of it, so it's often sold green.

    In South Dakota I would expect it to sell for quite a bit more. But, the problem is, most people don't buy much of it, as it's not a wood that gets turned into furniture often. Most people who buy it just buy one or two small sticks or maybe a short block to turn into a bowl. So if you price it according to it's normal value, it could take a while to move it all if you have a lot. $10-20 would be a good range depending on how fast you want it moved and the quality of the wood.

  7. #7
    As with others, the prime determinant is the quality of the lumber. Low quality stuff full of bark and knots isn't worth much. Neither is warped stuff or full of cracks.

    I would say $10/bd-ft is a pipe dream when you're talking about a pile of mill-run as-is and where-is. I would expect to be looking more like $1/bd-ft, assuming it's usable.

    Specialty guys (luthiers, duck calls, knife scales, bowyers, and gun scales) won't be interested in the junk, but they will pay a premium for the few boards that really stand out. I'm talking clear, straight grained, dead quarter or dead flat sawn no sap wood, no cracks, warp, etc. Next is the stable and attractive figured wood. The thing there is that YOU will cherry pick the best boards and auction them online. The rest will simply be worth what you can get for it.

    Sad to say, but a lot of it will likely end up in the fire.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
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    Peoria, IL
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    Quote Originally Posted by John C Cox View Post
    As with others, the prime determinant is the quality of the lumber. Low quality stuff full of bark and knots isn't worth much. Neither is warped stuff or full of cracks.

    I would say $10/bd-ft is a pipe dream when you're talking about a pile of mill-run as-is and where-is. I would expect to be looking more like $1/bd-ft, assuming it's usable.

    Specialty guys (luthiers, duck calls, knife scales, bowyers, and gun scales) won't be interested in the junk, but they will pay a premium for the few boards that really stand out. I'm talking clear, straight grained, dead quarter or dead flat sawn no sap wood, no cracks, warp, etc. Next is the stable and attractive figured wood. The thing there is that YOU will cherry pick the best boards and auction them online. The rest will simply be worth what you can get for it.

    Sad to say, but a lot of it will likely end up in the fire.
    Well said John.

  9. #9
    I'd like to have more of it in largish clear pieces.
    Have some on hand, like you, given to me by a friend/ the widow of the guy who milled it.
    At some point, i want to make a pool cue featuring American wood and Osage is one of the few that is dense enough.
    Maybe along with Texas ebony & mesquite, which i have never seen.
    Persimmon is a true ebony and can be very dense, but it is sort of yellow gray, not a particularly showy wood, and seldom any actual black in it except near the heart sometimes. (Used to be used for high-speed loom shuttles, and for golf club heads)
    Osage is sold here in upstate NY, but i have not pursued it yet.

  10. #10
    one nice osage board:

    mandocello.jpg

  11. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by Bradley Gray View Post
    one nice osage board:

    mandocello.jpg
    Wow, that it is!
    Even if it is a center match. (bookmatch/2pcs)

    I'm not exactly a luthier, though it do hang out on some sites ......
    But it seems odd to use Osage for the top soundboard?
    There are people who covet it for sides and backs. And maybe fingerboards.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
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    Orange Park, FL
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    1,128
    Thanks everybody. I'll pass this along to his Nephew.

  13. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by Bradley Gray View Post
    one nice osage board:

    mandocello.jpg
    Osage Orange is a bizarre choice for a sound board. That is a unique Guitar Body Cittern or Bouzouki. I wonder what it sounds like?
    I used it for the stem and keel of my row boat as well as tool handles and mallets. I still have a few boards left from taking down and processing a giant male. In our area the females are not as suitable for lumber as the males. I have never seen any at a store or lumber yard. I see novelty pieces on eBay from time to time. It is prized by bow makers. Bow makers want to remove the wood from the top 1/2 of a carefully selected limb.

    https://www.ebay.com/b/Osage-Orange-.../bn_7023268274
    Last edited by Maurice Mcmurry; 06-03-2024 at 7:13 PM. Reason: typos

  14. #14
    I've got a J45 build on the bench with Osage Orange back and sides.

    The stuff rings just like rosewood.

  15. #15
    I joined SMC to see if I could promote Black Locust as a Tone wood. Interest so far = zero.

    Osage Orange for a top? I have to hear it, Or better yet play it.

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