Sweeter than candy on a stick! Laburnum, cherry or lime? Or plum?

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isaac3d

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Apologies for mangling a line from that old time classic "Lolipop lolipop" by the Chordettes.
I bought two lots of wood recently, both sold as laburnum. I've never bought laburnum before and wanted to make some small boxes from it.
One lot clearly is laburnum (laburnum anagyroides, I reckon). It was cut "a few weeks" before I got it and has already developed the characteristic dark heartwood, contrasting with the pale sapwood. The other lot (clearly not lime ;) ) doesn't look like laburnum to me, seller said the tree was recently felled. The unknown species has logs of up to about 11 inches in diameter, the laburnum is max 7 inches.
The bark of the unknown species is reminiscent of plum or cherry and looks different from laburnum. The wood of the unknown species has dark colouration in the centre (though not as dark as the laburnum) but I think that may be due to fungal attack. The sawdust from the laburnum is yellowish and the sawdust from the unknown species is pale pink/orange. The sapwood of laburnum is clearly different in colour than the heartwood. In the unknown species there is a narrow band which is slightly different (more translucent) than the rest and I suspect that this might be the sapwood.
So, what do you think? What is my unknown species? A laburnum hybrid? Cherry? Plum?
Any laburnum experts out there?
See images. (PS the white paint is wax end-sealer)

The next question is; why is laburnum mostly used for turning and not box making? Is it just the size availability or lack thereof?


WhatSpecies1.jpg
 

Tris

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Base on the bark I would say some type of flowering cherry. What does the sawdust smell like? Some cherries have a strong almond smell when worked.
 

Yorkieguy

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Just a note of caution when turning - and particularly when sanding - Laburnum and Yew as they contain direct toxins, and are particularly highlighted as toxic on the Wood Database of Allergies and Toxicities of wood:

Wood Allergies and Toxicity | The Wood Database (wood-database.com)

Don't use your nose and lungs as dust filters, nor one of those daft disposable paper cup things widely sold in DIY stores just for 'nuisance dust'. They're what some guys use to fool other family members that they're taking sensible precautions. Use a filtered mask that the HSE would be happy with. Some helpful advice here:

A Complete Guide to Dust Masks Ratings (respiratorshop.co.uk)

As to your pictures, both Yew and Laburnum have very distinct boundaries between the heartwood and the sapwood, with darker heartwood and lighter sapwood. To my eyes, your lower picture is Yew, and the heartwood in parts shows rot. Laburnum heartwood is darker. To illustrate what the boundary between heartwood and sapwood in Laburnum looks like when turned, I've attached a couple of (not very exciting) items I've turned in Laburnum. A lidded box and a small vase.

Hope that's of interest.
 

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isaac3d

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@ Tris: Indeed the bark is similar to cherry but to be honest the colour of the bark is most similar to the plum tree we have in the garden rather than the cherry tree. No real almond smell to the unidentified species wood when cut, though it does have a smell (difficult to describe unknown smells, for me at least) and that is not the same as the smell of laburnum when freshly cut.

@ Yorkieguy: You are right to advise the use of a proper filter mask when cutting/sanding Yew and Laburnum, especially when dry. Cutting greenwood is less of a problem due to less dust, but I still use a proper mask. The amount of toxin I would ingest would undoubtedly be small, but fine (sub 10 microns) dust particles of any description are not a welcome addition to the lungs. I'm sure that my mystery wood is not Yew. I have cut quite a bit of green Yew recently and my unidentified species doesn't look like Yew, and the bark is very different.
Beautiful laburnum turnings you've made. I don't own a lathe and have nowhere to put one at the moment, so turning is not on my immediate agenda. I intend to use my laburnum for making/decorating small boxes.
 

Keith 66

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The laburnum is easy to spot the other timber i would also run with some type of ornamental cherry, during the 87 hurricane many huge cherry trees came down in Southend & was logged & dumped over Two tree Island, we filled our moggy van with three loads of the stuff & split it down, Dad used it for woodturning for years, much of it was identical to your mystery wood.
 

Ozi

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Just a note of caution when turning - and particularly when sanding - Laburnum and Yew as they contain direct toxins, and are particularly highlighted as toxic on the Wood Database of Allergies and Toxicities of wood:

Wood Allergies and Toxicity | The Wood Database (wood-database.com)

Don't use your nose and lungs as dust filters, nor one of those daft disposable paper cup things widely sold in DIY stores just for 'nuisance dust'. They're what some guys use to fool other family members that they're taking sensible precautions. Use a filtered mask that the HSE would be happy with. Some helpful advice here:

A Complete Guide to Dust Masks Ratings (respiratorshop.co.uk)

As to your pictures, both Yew and Laburnum have very distinct boundaries between the heartwood and the sapwood, with darker heartwood and lighter sapwood. To my eyes, your lower picture is Yew, and the heartwood in parts shows rot. Laburnum heartwood is darker. To illustrate what the boundary between heartwood and sapwood in Laburnum looks like when turned, I've attached a couple of (not very exciting) items I've turned in Laburnum. A lidded box and a small vase.

Hope that's of interest.
Thank you very much for posting, I have passed the wood data base link on to some of my previous colleagues who still inspect LEV systems, it's an area I think I should have known more about, we didn't do many wood shops and most would not have used exotic timbers but it is a good thing to have on the data base and will probably come out at a training seminar some time.
 

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