Turned handles #5: Osage orange gloat--handle stock?

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Blog entry by Dan Krager posted 01-31-2014 11:26 PM 2321 reads 0 times favorited 13 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 4: A brief interruption Part 5 of Turned handles series Part 6: jig to speed things up »

I have the distinct privilege to have been in the right place at the right time. One of my “hobbies” is to operate farm equipment, so I’ve become good friends with a large farm operation not too far away. They agreed with the neighbors to take out an ancient common hedge patch and recover about 20 acres of farm ground. I stumbled into the operation as it began and asked what was to become of all those giant hedge trees. Well, they were just going to burn them, and the fires had already been started. It turns out an acquaintance of mine was running the bulldozer and giant backhoe. I flagged him down and asked if I could harvest some of the trees he was going to burn, so he sort of reluctantly agreed. (People like me hold up their operation and make more work for them). I marked the ones I wanted and he kindly set them aside so I could cut them up. Then he went so far as to push the cut logs into piles and pushed all the brush over to his fire. I couldn’t keep up with them, so I only got 2/3 of what was out there.

I’d never seen such in all my wanderings around the country. The cut logs average about 20” in diameter and range from 6’ to 12’ long. If you know anything about osage orange, a 6’ straight piece is just plain uncommon, let along a 12’ piece! I just delivered 24 giant logs to the sawyer, and there are 21 more smaller logs not going to be sawn. This is the operation in a small window of good weather and very hard frozen ground:

They don’t look so big until you get closer:

Here you can see what I mean about not straight. You have to put them through a straightener before you can deliver them to the sawmill. So the loaded logs had been through the “straightener”, and these are next. The “straightener” is a 16” Stihl chain saw cutting at the curves to get maximum straightness. Some of these logs were over 30’ long before “straightening”.

I don’t have pictures of the remaining 21 logs, and as of tonight they remain in the field. I might have been able to retrieve them, but I ran out of daylight. They have to be hauled through a deep ravine and conditions have to be just right for that to happen. I spent all day Wednesday using a “Clydesdale” (JD8400) to drag these logs through the ravine and across the field to the closest road. According to the weather forecast it is going to be awhile before I can retrieve them.

So, if you need mallets, handles, or material for outdoor stuff (this stuff does not rot) let me know. Based on what I’ve had to give to harvest this treasure, it’s going to be something like $10 bd ft., still about half of what you pay any where I’ve been able to find the rare stuff.

-- DanK All my life I've wanted to be someone. I see now I should have been more specific.

13 comments so far

View shipwright's profile


8816 posts in 4250 days

#1 posted 01-31-2014 11:38 PM

You are a lucky man Dan. One look at my projects will tell you I love the stuff. I wish I was closer but I know how heavy it is and shipping would kill me.
Please enjoy it for me. :-)

-- Paul M ..............the early bird may get the worm but it’s the second mouse that gets the cheese!

View woodworker59's profile


560 posts in 3653 days

#2 posted 01-31-2014 11:40 PM

you know what they say, you work on a farm, your bound to step in some….... once in a while.. looks like you come out smelling like roses… great catch Dan…. wow… Papa

-- Papa...

View Don W's profile

Don W

20378 posts in 4019 days

#3 posted 01-31-2014 11:46 PM

Nice haul.

-- - Collecting is an investment in the past, and the future.

View woodsmithshop's profile


1425 posts in 4997 days

#4 posted 02-01-2014 12:12 AM

I don’t think I have ever seen Hedge Apple/ Osage Orange that tall before. great find for you Dan!!!

-- Smitty!!!

View ShaneA's profile


7085 posts in 4050 days

#5 posted 02-01-2014 12:17 AM

Sweet, I look forward to seeing them once you have them processed.

View TerryDowning's profile


1154 posts in 3569 days

#6 posted 02-01-2014 12:43 AM

Nice Haul Dan

-- - Terry

View gfadvm's profile


14940 posts in 4142 days

#7 posted 02-01-2014 01:24 AM

I am so envious. Big hedge has gotten pretty scarce around here. Great save. You should have saved some of the smaller hedge for stove wood as it is THE hottest burning wood in the US. But not good in a fireplace as it does pop!

-- " I'll try to be nicer, if you'll try to be smarter" gfadvm

View Don W's profile

Don W

20378 posts in 4019 days

#8 posted 02-01-2014 01:27 AM

I’ve never used it. I don’t think it in the NE.

-- - Collecting is an investment in the past, and the future.

View Handtooler's profile


1628 posts in 3584 days

#9 posted 02-01-2014 01:29 AM

See what a lot of effort on your part and the right equipment you were able to glean in helping a friend. Super Gloat.

-- Russell Pitner Hixson, TN 37343 [email protected]

View Dan Krager's profile

Dan Krager

4887 posts in 3686 days

#10 posted 02-01-2014 02:00 AM

I know about the heat in these logs. They will burn wet or dry, but you can’t light them with a match. If I had known about this in advance, I could have harvested two large semi-loads of firewood. There just wasn’t time. You can see where the hedge row was in the last picture…down by the culverts. It extended (to the left) for over 1/2 mile. Massive change to the countryside.

-- DanK All my life I've wanted to be someone. I see now I should have been more specific.

View Nicholas Hall's profile

Nicholas Hall

352 posts in 3558 days

#11 posted 02-01-2014 01:38 PM

Congrats on a great score

-- Outside of a dog, a book is a man's best friend. Inside of a dog, it's too dark to read. -Groucho Marx

View AngieO's profile


1267 posts in 3599 days

#12 posted 02-01-2014 03:23 PM

Wow. That is a really nice haul

View robert triplett's profile

robert triplett

1566 posts in 4556 days

#13 posted 02-01-2014 04:53 PM

Great score. My neice’s husband is taking some out in his fields in Illinois. He is setting aside some logs for me. There might be a guy there to saw them into lumber. I just have to get them back to Oregon! Road trip next summer, I hope.

-- Robert, so much inspiration here, and now time to work!!!

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