Monday, September 21, 2015

What I Am Working With.... Tree I.D.

As a wood carver, I should probably know what different woods look like, both as lumber and as as trees in the forest.  Some trees I can identify easily.  Beech, birch, pine, sycamore, sassafras, I know.  There parts of some trees that I know but not in connection with other parts of the tree.  For instance, I know what a black walnut NUT looks like, but not the bark or leaves.  So when Mark and I hiked through the woods today, I tried to be more observant of trees.  When I found the black walnuts on the path, I tried to find their tree and observe what the leaves and bark of the tree looked like.

I cut two pieces of wood from trees that had fallen to the ground. One was a piece of oak.  Oak leaves, I know.  Furniture made from oak, I know.  The tree? Not so much. Here's what a branch of oak looks like.
 Here's a split piece of oak.

Here's another one. I cut this piece of wood aware of what it was at the time, but now that we are home, I have forgotten.  
We think it might be poplar.  To remember this stuff, I probably need to either take photographs in the field or take notes.

Look what's on the inside of it though.  Worms!  Ew. Guess I'll leave this piece outside for a while.  Worm eaten wood is prized, so as soon as it is vacated, I will try carving it.
Worms leave behind a fungus and it colors the wood in interesting ways.  That funky wood is called "spalted wood" and you can pay a lot more for that than just the plain wood.

YouTube has helped me learn about some trees.  I grew up knowing what sassafras leaves looked like, but I didn't realize I only knew one of the leaves from that tree.  I thought they only had the three fingered mitten leaves, but actually, they have a single finger leaf, a double fingered one and a triple fingered leaf.  Crazy.

And then here's a cluster of leaves we see all the time but have no clue what sort of tree goes with it.  Suggestions?

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