Working with Hawthorn

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isaac3d

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A few weeks ago a neighbour had an old hawthorn tree removed from their garden. I was lucky enough to get some of the timber for free. Some was cut in to 6 to 8 inch slabs by the tree surgeon so that is now drying as firewood. However, there were a few logs and branches which were long enough to slice in to boards (1 to 2 inch thick) using my chainsaw and bandsaw. The tree was heavily affected by rot and covered in vines, some up to 2 inches thick but I have rescued some nice pieces. What I have noticed so far is that the sound wood is really hard and dense.
The timber is currently drying but I'm expecting that in a year or two when I want to use it, I'm going to have to do a lot of sharpening.
Has anyone else worked with hawthorn and can give me some tips?
 

dickm

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Only used a small amount, but it was quite easy to work and nicely coloured. You will need to take care drying it, as from memory, it splits pretty horrendously if you don't take it really slowly.
 

Richard_C

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I had some small pieces from hedge cutting. Made a couple of very small maybe 3 Inch diameter shallow nut-serving bowls. Turned green, microwave seasoned then re-turned. Nice finish and a lovely ivory colour. Good stuff, you are lucky if you have decent sized pieces.
 

isaac3d

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Thanks for all the replies. It seems like most people use it for turning. I don't have a lathe, but maybe I should keep a few bits which would be suitable for turning as it's always possible I will get one eventually. I plan to make some boxes from it.
It is indeed pretty wood. The heartwood is quite red when freshly cut and quickly changes to light brown as the surface dries. Perhaps the red colour will return when it is given an oil finish.
@dickm; I have the rough sawn green planks stacked in a shed with other timber. I use a dehumidifier for an hour or two per day. The ends are coated with "Endseal", I hope that is enough to prevent splitting. Time will tell I suppose.
 

Stigmorgan

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Thanks for all the replies. It seems like most people use it for turning. I don't have a lathe, but maybe I should keep a few bits which would be suitable for turning as it's always possible I will get one eventually. I plan to make some boxes from it.
It is indeed pretty wood. The heartwood is quite red when freshly cut and quickly changes to light brown as the surface dries. Perhaps the red colour will return when it is given an oil finish.
@dickm; I have the rough sawn green planks stacked in a shed with other timber. I use a dehumidifier for an hour or two per day. The ends are coated with "Endseal", I hope that is enough to prevent splitting. Time will tell I suppose.
The pieces I have were buried in a heap of woodchips, I dont know how long it's all been there but its bone dry, very light and has no cracks so hopefully yours will be fine 👍
 

kinverkid

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I thought I had a photo somewhere.

DSC_0449 (3).JPG
 

Keith 66

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My son & i slabbed some up a few years ago. Often trunks tend to grow in a sort of spiral fashion & we had a 4 ft section of one of these cut by the local parks dept. It was cut through the middle then quartered & sawn as best we could do to 1".
We air dried it in stick under the house for 3 years, despite this it warped violently with some of the staves resembling aeroplane propellors! But it hasnt split & has some lovely tight grain. Much of it will have to be used in shorter bits.
Worth remembering that faeries live in them & it is supposedly very unlucky to cut one down!
 

Owd Jockey

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I have used hawthorn for small turned pieces. As mentioned before it does split rather easily, even with wax sealing on the end grain. Its a very strong and dense wood and occassionally has a beautiful feint salmon pink hue.
 
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There's been a few conversations about hawthorn;


If you're not superstitious, it's good for carving, pen blanks, knife handles, turning on a lathe, making mallets, etc.

If you are superstitious, it's good for all those things above, just give them to people you don't like.
 

okeydokey

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Just came across this thread - I don't need a reply :)
I cut down a twisted 6 metre x 7 inches bough of blackthorn (a year ago) must be the same sort of thing as hawthorn. Anyway its been left out in the weather at the end of the garden with no particular use in mind, just found its split down the middle most of the length might be tempted to make a couple of small bowls as its sort of sized itself already
 

stuckinthemud

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Cretaegus mogyna (hawthorn) and prunus Spinoza (blackthorn) are different species. Hawthorn is from the rose family and is a lovely wood, blackthorn is from the cherry family and works beautifully but can be very nasty. Wear a respirator working with blackthorn, it is the only wood that made me unwell, thought I had a chest infection so bad I went to see the doctor (I NEVER go to the Dr) his first question was what dust was I exposed to. The “infection” went away as soon as the project finished and I was only making a longbow using hand tools. I threw out all my blackthorn.
 
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