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Chris152

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I was told yesterday that a common lime tree in my garden is rotten at the base and should come down before it falls. I see that the wood is generally quite uninteresting (except to carvers) and that the burrs can be good to turn. But I wondered about the growth clumps that form at the ends of the pollarded branches - are they burrs, too? And can they be good for turning?
_MG_8341.jpg

(There are three in this photo but it's hard to tell them apart.)
 

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KimG

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You would probably get a lot of stress marks in timber like that, makes for some interesting grain patterns, of course you also get a lot of knots and quite possibly inclusions as well as some quite dodgy bits, the biggest issue would be how to cut it for the best, then roughing it out and seasoning it to minimize splitting. I would certainly be pleased to get a lump like it though.
 

Chris152

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Thanks Kim. Yes, I'm pretty sure those bits at the end of the branches will have all kinds of inclusions, decay and whatever else but it'd be fun to try - and I see you're west of here, so next time I'm up your way or you're passing I could let you have a piece to try. (I'm planning to get a second opinion on the tree first - it's a great shame if it does have to come down, but the tree surgeon said he was 95% certain it was beyond stable - and you can reach into the base and up the middle, so it's not looking good.)
 

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That's very kind of you Chris, I'd be delighted with a bit if it happens to be a possibility. Let me know the if and when etc, we can arrange a meet. :)
 

Chris152

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The boss came to take a look today and he said that it still has a strong connection to the root system. The advice was to re-pollard, taking the weight from the top. So - if you're up for trying one of the knuckles, it's yours once the work's done, Kim. Still no idea what's inside but it's got to be worth a go! I'll pm you when it's done. :)
 

KimG

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Looking forward to that then Chris! Cheers.
 

Chris152

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Impatient to wait til later in the week when the job gets done, I cut off one of the smaller knuckles and cut it open on the bandsaw.
_MG_8362.jpg

It looks to my eyes worth trying - some of the outside was completely rotten and has been cut away here, and what's left is solid. No doubt slowly will be the way to turn, though.
 

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Alie Barnes

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If they re-pollard it properly they shouldn't be removing any of those knuckles, they are full of polyphenols and other important chemicals to prevent further decay, the grain pattern is really nice but if you want to retain the tree for longer keep hold of those knuckles.
 

Chris152

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Thanks Alie - but how can it be re-pollarded without removing the knuckles? The only alternative to re-pollarding (I mean taking it back below the knuckles - maybe I'm using the wrong term) is taking the whole tree down, which I really don't want to do.
edit - are you suggesting just to cut the new shoots? I know that's the normal process, we've had it done several times but it's not going to make a significant difference in this case - it'll be a last ditch effort to keep the tree going, and safe (for us). I appreciate any thoughts you have.
 

Chris152

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In case anyone is interested as to what's inside - I just first turned this from the piece above
_MG_8374.jpg

My first go at twice turning green wood, looks a bit of a blob to me (mainly because of bad blank prep - it's not obvious to me how to get the most out of an amorphous bit of wood, but also because I've probably left the sides too thick - I thought better safe than sorry). But the wood looks interesting. Some of the dark areas are bark that's included, and some is just like soil - I removed a large area by stopping the lathe and digging it out with my finger. All good fun.
 

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KimG

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Doesn't look too thick to me, you need more room for warping when the timber is this distorted anyway, I would have made more of a curve to the outside shape perhaps and left an oversized dovetail on the base, but that's more of a personal preference, looks a nice piece of timber.
 

Alie Barnes

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Chris152":27kpd6km said:
Thanks Alie - but how can it be re-pollarded without removing the knuckles? The only alternative to re-pollarding (I mean taking it back below the knuckles - maybe I'm using the wrong term) is taking the whole tree down, which I really don't want to do.
edit - are you suggesting just to cut the new shoots? I know that's the normal process, we've had it done several times but it's not going to make a significant difference in this case - it'll be a last ditch effort to keep the tree going, and safe (for us). I appreciate any thoughts you have.
The knuckles shouldn't be removed, it could well be the removing of them that is causing the problems over time, it takes stored energy to continually compartmentalise these wounds, however the removal of small diameter material from the knuckles doesn't cost as much (in terms of stored energy) in fact pollarding has been used as technique to keep trees alive for many hundreds of years longer than nature might have intended as a maiden tree, (Burnham beeches) but having it done too regularly can cause problems in itself if you have concerns over the condition of the tree then i advise you pay a consultant to look at the tree on your behalf rather than tree surgeon and while many are good they often chase the ££ and there knowledge might not be as good as might be needed and consultants have a much deeper knowledge. feel free to direct message me if you have any questions, im a tree officer i spend my life looking at trees.

However if the tree is indeed knackered then i doubt there is much you can do about it, it really does depend on its overall condition.
 

Chris152

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I completely missed your reply, Alie - apologies. I came back to this thread to post an update on the wood contained in the knuckles, which I removed myself (the tree surgeons were too busy and it was going to take too long for them to do the job). It's the first time this has been done since we moved here 13 years ago, almost certainly the first time ever (there are others in the street of the same age, one collapsed on a car 5 or 6 years ago!), and I do feel that the tree is safer (in terms of people walking nearby) than it was, with the weight at the top gone. There's no question the tree's days are numbered, I can reach right up inside it, and since I did the work the tree has been producing lovely fresh leaves. Hopefully I've bought it a few more years, time will tell - but I know I wasn't happy to have it as it was. And the tree surgeon's a good friend, and something of a Lorax, I trust his opinion completely.
I really appreciate your taking the time to reply, and hope I've done the right thing.

Sooo...

I second turned the ugly bowl I did with a piece of the wood a couple of months back, and think it looks good for bowls. Here are the pics before second turning and after:
Before...
IMG_1929 (2).jpg

After...
_MG_8501.jpg

Lime is pretty soft wood and this was quite pleasant to turn - it was really quite distorted by the time it had stabilised in the house but turned back to round easily.
Kim - if you still want one or two of the knuckles send me a pm, I'm sure you can do it more justice than me.
 

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Chris152

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Did a 10mm slice on a mill yesterday while prepping for some bowls, just thought I'd share as I think it looks amazing.
IMG_E2377.jpg
 

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Chris152

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It is, though this one's now lent against the wall on my desk so it's assumed a slightly curved shape - a stack of them in sticks and weighted would be fine, I think. I'm surprised we don't see more of this wood used in woodworking/ turning - clearly they're not grown commercially, but they're all over the place and eventually come down.
 
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