found wood #10: Full, fallen Jacaranda mimosifolia tree - wish me luck!

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Blog entry by Gary Fixler posted 07-28-2009 03:43 AM 4112 reads 0 times favorited 12 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 9: kiln-dried Douglas fir stickers Part 10 of found wood series Part 11: O frabjous day! Free Jacaranda! »

I take different routes on my daily commutes to see if any limbs or trees have come down. Today, taking a road I never take, I hit the jackpot – a full, large, old Jacaranda tree with fungus rot through its base fell over on its own this morning, on a windless, quake-free day, narrowly missing a pedestrian.

fallen Jacaranda mimiosifolia

I knocked on the door and a nice lady answered, holding back her dog. We talked for a half hour, but she had an endless stream of concerns, all of which I tried to answer:

she: It’s rotten, though. It fell over from a fungal infection.
me: That’s only at the base, and even sections near that may only be spalted, and even prettier because of it.

she: But it won’t be structurally sound.
me: Most of it will be, but I won’t be using most or any of this wood in structural ways – more for carving and panel work.

she: You carve?
me: Well, not so much, but I turn things on my lathe, etc.

she: I can’t cover the costs if you get hurt.
me: I won’t expect you to. I’ll be careful, and not hold you liable for anything. (I know, hearsay, but still true)

she: Well, what if any of it hits that car?
me: We can have the lady next door move it while I work.

she: Do you think it could hit the house?
me: No, it’s too far away, and I’ll trim all the small, long limbs with a pole saw first so it has no long reach.

she: Well, I’m afraid it will fall in the street.
me: Again, I’ll trim all the small bits that overhang the street first, but if the long branch falls in the street, I’ll just drag it back out – it’s not too big.

she: What if it falls on a passing car.
me: (looks around at the road which has had no cars for the last 20 minutes) I’ll only cut that limb when no cars are on the street.

she: I’m still just too concerned.

Argh! If it had been a grumpy old man more mad at the mess on his lawn than worried about everything else under the sun, I’d already have it all cleared out. Anyway, she did take my numbers, and told me she’d call the moment the city tree guys showed up so I could come ask for the pieces. They were supposed to come by, but I took a work break and drove by at 5:30 – still there. She was leaving for the day tomorrow, and wanted it gone before then, and said she’d call if they didn’t show up by 5PM, but at 6:45PM, still no word.

This is a full tree with all kinds of play areas – burls, branches of every kind, a thick trunk (~18”), and even possible spalting (there are mushroom halves sticking out the sides at the bottom) – not close to anything that could get hurt, and literally one block from my house (one street over). I’ve been itching to try Jacaranda all year, but I may be blocked an overly concerned homeowner.

Wish me luck!

fallen Jacaranda with rotted base

-- Gary, Los Angeles, video game animator

12 comments so far

View dustbunny's profile


1149 posts in 4625 days

#1 posted 07-28-2009 04:18 AM

Listen for chainsaws, then get yourself over there. Maybe you could sneak over there while she is at work?
Well, I hope you get some of this tree, looks like it may have some interesting grains towards the base.
Good Luck,


-- Imagination rules the world. ~ Napoleon Bonaparte ~

View Dave T's profile

Dave T

196 posts in 4950 days

#2 posted 07-28-2009 04:21 AM

Good luck. Looks like it might produce some nice pieces with some interesting grain.

View Durnik150's profile


647 posts in 4652 days

#3 posted 07-28-2009 04:23 AM

Wow!! Good luck. It looks like that tree could yield quite a bit of good wood. That would keep you busy for a while.

If you do get the opportunity to take the wood, keep us up to date on what you find when you open it up.

-- Behind the Bark is a lot of Heartwood----Charles, Centennial, CO

View Karson's profile


35293 posts in 5731 days

#4 posted 07-28-2009 04:24 AM

Yes Good Luck. This might be the time to invest in your tree cutting business cards.

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Appomattox Virginia [email protected]

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile


23250 posts in 5006 days

#5 posted 07-28-2009 04:32 AM

Good luck Gary. Hope you get the tree and your emails :-))

-- Bob in WW ~ "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

View Gary Fixler's profile

Gary Fixler

1001 posts in 4712 days

#6 posted 07-28-2009 04:46 AM

No luck so far. I stopped by Home Depot on the way home and picked up an $80 pole saw, figuring I could show her how I’d trim all the small stuff so it fell straight down, and wouldn’t whip toward cars, or the street when I cut the bigger stuff. The tree was stil there, and she was outside watering her flowers. I had my chainsaw and bar and chain oil, hard hat and goggles, extension cord (for chainsaw), and coarse-cut carpenter’s saw. She still didn’t want to risk anything, mostly clinging to the fear of hitting cars passing on the street. She’s going to stick a note on the tree for the tree people in case they come by tomorrow while I’m at work, asking them to call me. She’ll be away for the day. I kind of doubt they’ll bother. No one owes me anything. It’s just frustrating to have every last thing align, save one person’s concerns.

Hopefully I luckily run into the tree cutters on the way to work, on the way home or back to work at lunchtime, or on the way home at night. I have a feeling those are the times they won’t be working, though. I might be losing this one, when it’s oh so close.

-- Gary, Los Angeles, video game animator

View jim1953's profile


2744 posts in 5172 days

#7 posted 07-28-2009 04:56 AM

Nice fine

-- Jim, Kentucky

View scrappy's profile


3507 posts in 4761 days

#8 posted 07-28-2009 07:58 AM

Good luck on this tree.

Hope you get it.


-- Scrap Wood's the best...the projects are smaller, and so is the mess!

View spanky46's profile


995 posts in 4721 days

#9 posted 07-28-2009 11:39 AM

Good luck pal! Stay after it!

-- spanky46 -- Never enough clamps...Never enough tools...Never enough time.

View BarryW's profile


1016 posts in 5237 days

#10 posted 07-28-2009 01:08 PM

Found wood…the only way to make a mess.

-- /\/\/\ BarryW /\/\/\ Stay so busy you don't have time to die.

View Damian Penney's profile

Damian Penney

1142 posts in 5321 days

#11 posted 07-28-2009 03:11 PM

If only she’d been as concerned about the sick tree – that looks as though it could have been nasty.

-- I am always doing that which I can not do, in order that I may learn how to do it. - Pablo Picasso

View patron's profile


13722 posts in 4671 days

#12 posted 07-28-2009 03:29 PM

im hoping by now ,
you are getting it done ,
she should be gone .
i guess she could still sue you for
” breach of branch ” or something .
but if it was gone …..........?

-- david - only thru kindness can this world be whole . If we don't succeed we run the risk of failure. Dan Quayle

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