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indiginous wood to make nice pens?

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nev

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Apart from yew, and anything with the word 'burr' attached to it, are there any woods native to the uk that have a great grain or colour from which to make pens etc? most of the pens i see with the 'ooooo...' factor seem to be exotics like cocobolo, amboyna, myrtle etc, while most natives , oak, ash, syc, etc seem a bit bland in comparison, any suggestions? with pics? :D
 

nev

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Pvt_Ryan":3ipele54 said:
rippled sycamore is nice in bowls no reason it wouldnt be nice in pens, spalted beech, Bog oak maybe..
that was quick :shock: and not doubting your suggestions in any way, but obviously a pen has a lot smaller surface area to appreciate the wood, so some woods that would look lovely on larger items where you can really see the various contrasts and patterns may not look so interesting when you can only see a small bit? i suppose i should have added that to the first post :oops:

i was given a small amount of bog oak which i found to be very brittle and full of shakes. admittedly this had been sat in someone's garage for twenty years or more, and i didnt have any success with it.
that just the piece i had or is bog oak generally like this?
 

Pvt_Ryan

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I haven't turned Bog Oak yet.. Waiting on my bother buying me a supply for some pens he asked me to make. So I can't really say.

Another suggestion is perhaps Quarter sawn oak with fairly closely packed medulla rays.
 

chipmunk

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Hi Nev,
What about woods other than yew with distinct heart/sap wood divides such as laburnum and perhaps even mulberry, although admittedly mulberry isn't that common.

Some prunus type woods like blackthorn or damson can have good demarkation between heart and sap too.

Spalting can obviously make all bland woods like beech and hornbeam interesting. If you can find canker on beech it can provide superb colour variations too.

Then how about olive-ash?
Jon
 

Paul Hannaby

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I've got a yew pen I made over 10 years ago. It's a bit battered now but I still like it!

Some other "home grown" woods you might like to try are walnut, oak and laburnum. Bog oak is good too if you can get a piece without shakes.
 

Harbo

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I made some ones out of hawthorn which looked nice.

Rod
 

Jamesc

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What about fruit woods?

I don't do much turning but have made a few tool handles from apple and pear and they look pretty good to my eye.

James
 

dickm

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Lilac, with its pink/purple stripes looks nice till the purple fades :( . Berberis comes out bright yellow, which looks unusual, but the grain isn't that special. Most of the prunus (plum) species, such as blackthorn and a whole host of hybrids, can have interesting grain and colouration.
 

drillbit

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Do pens always have to have the grain following their length?

If not, how about elm? It sometimes has a really nice 'banded' grain of thick/thin stripes whichmight look nice if you could have it sweeping diagonally or even horizontally along the length of the pen.

 

nev

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cheers guys,

i like the look of walnut, laburnum, and mulberry (i thought mulberry was a small bush :oops: ) and i am most happy about the blackthorn suggestion, theres a load of it in my 'to be firewood pile'. just have to root through it :)
i also love the look of yew but ive got plenty of that and fancied something else.

i am guessing that the canker that chipmunk mentions is another fungus/ spalting type happening affecting the wood growth?

i think the q/sawn oak whilst very 'smart' looking is still a little on the plain side for a pen.

i will keep googlimaging for the various fruit woods.

keep 'em coming :mrgreen:
 

gregmcateer

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Nev,
Being a novice at pretty much, well, everything!, my opinion ain't too useful.
Certainly the fruits and yew look nice and if you've got a year or so, (next Christmas pressies? :-k ), spalted stuff is lovely - on a pen I turned the other day - recipient was very pleased.
How's about a bit of texture on some 'plainer' wood, if you've got the kit.
Or even some colour - uniform, or just cucked on a spinning blank to see what it looks like, (my son and I were going to try this soon - will post up some photos if it works).
and how about some combinations - glue up a bit of dark and light in various formats and see how they come out.
Hope that gives you food for thought.
Greg
 

Dodge

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English Lacewood - London Plane cut on the quarter to expose the beautiful pattern?

I have alot of this from a couple of butts I seasoned a few years ago and could send you a chunk if you want.

Rog
 

jumps

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I have spent the day (well on and off) trying to find an example of what I'm now posting - but inevitably it's missing!

Whilst the pen is, generally, a small area and I agree that this means most large grain woods won't show well, the real key is how you cut it in all other cases.

There are a large number of woods that, if cut and cut at the right (technically wrong in most cases) angle you can get a stunning look. You need to get the glueing right, and more care and sharper tools than turning classic spindle mode - but it's worth it.

I do have a London Plane piece somewhere too - if I find it I will post a close up of the (stunning) grain.

quick snap -

 

NikNak

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Here's a few pics of 'indigenous'(ish) woods.....


Spalted Beech







Sapele





Holly

Has a very classy classic look....




Eucalyptus

I've managed very good results with this wood, inc. pens, box's, bowls etc. despite what others have posted before...



Wych Elm

Probably amongst the most stunning of the woods i've tried to date...




Bog Oak

I'm not a great lover of Oak to be honest.... it's nice on a big lump of furniture, but on a small pen it just doesn't look right in my opinion....
but hey, the customer wanted it.... so it's beautiful..!!



Nick
 

nev

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Dodge":vqjo7hyf said:
English Lacewood - London Plane cut on the quarter to expose the beautiful pattern?

I have alot of this from a couple of butts I seasoned a few years ago and could send you a chunk if you want.

Rog
cheers dodge, I'll swap you for a lump of yew if you like :D pm later

great response chaps and some nice pics too :)

Greg - all input is welcome and appreciated. I've tried a bit of staining in the past with mixed results and as for texturing...jury's out. i like the idea but in practice my hands dont do what my head tells them, then frustration sets in and i have more decorative firewood :( as for throwing paint at it, my brother makes a living doing just that! http://www.splashart.nl/Home.html so i'll leave that to him. and the gluing up separate peices will have to wait till i fix the planer/thicknesser (which could be a while away :( )

Rich's rippled sycamore looks good - is that cut 'the wrong way' to get the ripples or is that just the wood?

Nicks wych elm, now thats the kind of thing i really like, stunning! and for some strange reason i think the holly pen has a certain something about it , despite being a 'plain' wood looks lovely =D>
I think the bog oak would work well as a contrast like jonz walnut and box combo (still haven't tried the knot yet)

Thanks for all the replies =D> I'm now of to the shed to see if i can reclaim the 'findlay' grind on my bowl gouge before its too late #-o
 
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