found wood #14: Inside Jacaranda

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Blog entry by Gary Fixler posted 08-17-2009 11:29 AM 8142 reads 1 time favorited 13 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 13: wood gloat: superior grade alder scraps Part 14 of found wood series Part 15: just showing off a pretty piece of olive wood »

I’ve done some smaller things in Jacaranda lately, but what does the larger stuff look like inside? I wanted to do some larger bowl work and other things, so I went to one my larger limbs and cut it into some pieces. They’re simple, but pretty inside, so I thought I’d share. It’s not very common a wood for most woodworkers, I think.

The piece is the large one front and center on top of the pile seen here (and blogged about here):

Jacaranda logs from fallen tree

Here’s me sawing it up on my little knocked-together bucking stand. This wood is extremely wet – nearly dripping – and that made it bite into the saw. I had to slather some Anchorseal, which is a paraffin wax-based sealer onto the blade on both sides to help ease the strokes. It seemed to color the wet wood inside purple until it would be all rubbed off by the middle of the log. You can see it in the cross sections as they fall away. The video cuts out a bit short as my camera battery died.

The ends of the original log were a bit angled and jagged from the chainsaw, so I cut those off into smaller rounds to true-up the main log’s ends. I’m hoping to make some end-grain bowls out them, leaving the bark on. I’m curious to see how that works with the one that’s folded in on itself. These are already painted up with Anchorseal. I went over them with a second coat later on both sides:

Jacaranda log end rounds

You can see where I started the cut here – it’s the purplish side. The Anchorseal (wax) I rubbed on the blade to ease the cuts rubbed the grain inside, turning it purple, until it was all rubbed off by about 1/3rd of the way in.

Jacaranda log

I stood the logs on end on the band saw and manually fed them through, following by eye a straight-edge line I drew on top of each. I got one good blank, and one with an interesting folded-in section that might be pretty when turned. Anyone have a name for pulled in and grown-around sections of bark like this? I feel I’ve seen a name somewhere before. Subsumed bark? Subducted inclusions? This log has been resawn in half:

Jacaranda log resawn in half

And here’s the inside of that log. Most of these were between 8” and 9” in diameter:

Jacaranda log resawn in half

The middle seemed a little bit rotten, but not punky. I think that may translate to some interesting patterns in the eventual turning:

Jacaranda log resawn in half

Note the fuzzies all over the top middle of this log. This is a very fuzzy wood. My band saw’s 4” dust port screen was clogged by the end of this with a tangle of what felt like silk fibers. The 2TPI teeth on my blade shaved long, strong strings that were very limp, like thread:

Jacaranda log with fuzzy fibers

Jacaranda log resawn in half and shown in 3/4 view

Some different lighting – note the shine in the bottom left corner. This wood has a silky sheen to it:

Jacaranda log resawn in half

I’ve begun to entirely Anchorseal everything I cut. I’m quite fed up with things checking on me:

Jacaranda log resawn in half and Anchorsealed

There’s some nice figure swirling about in this log half:

Jacaranda log half

Again, note the sheen:

Jacaranda log half

All kinds of stuff happening in and on the other half of that log:

Jacaranda log half

And here they are, all sealed up and sitting on my wood storage/drying racks the same night:

Jacaranda log halves on my wood storage/drying racks

These were cut up a week and a half ago. I’ve made some things out of these since, and I’ll have those up soon.

-- Gary, Los Angeles, video game animator

13 comments so far

View Innovator's profile


3589 posts in 4750 days

#1 posted 08-17-2009 01:15 PM

Nice photo-blog. I also like the drying rack you have.

Do you normally cut up logs to half and let them sit and if so have you had any problems with cracking or are they sitting for a very short time like this?

-- Whether You Think You Can or You Think You Can't, YOU ARE RIGHT!!!

View Gary's profile


9426 posts in 4769 days

#2 posted 08-17-2009 02:59 PM

That stuff is really pretty. The battery on my handsaw would have worn out long before yours did.

-- Gary, DeKalb Texas only 4 miles from the mill

View California Urban Lumber's profile

California Urban Lumber

35 posts in 4702 days

#3 posted 08-17-2009 07:12 PM

You’re right it is pretty on the inside. Can’t wait to see the pieces you made from it. I like the pictures with each step too. Great blog, thanks for sharing.

-- California Urban Lumber | The Green Choice |

View cypresswoodworker's profile


89 posts in 4683 days

#4 posted 08-18-2009 02:03 AM

Gary you are an animal on the hand saw…Would have taken me three batteries and alot of editting. Nice blog

-- If at first you don't succeed...Buy another tool !!

View Gary Fixler's profile

Gary Fixler

1001 posts in 4718 days

#5 posted 08-18-2009 02:21 AM

Innovator – Thanks. Normally I leave them whole. This Jacaranda has proven – especially with sealing – to be fairly resistant to checking. Too, I really just wanted to see my pile of logs diminish at least noticeably, and yes, I will be trying to get to these to turn them all ASAP. I’ve already used 2 or 3 of them, but I need to jump on the rest soon. I also need to track down a grease pencil so I can write on the wet tenons to mark when I turned them, as I’m starting to lose track with all the tests and roughs laying around my shop and house.

Gary and cypress – Yeah, the hand saw stuff can be pretty tiring. I’ve been doing it a lot these past few months, however, and I’ve finally rounded a corner. I manually resawed one huge Eucalyptus log – just one cut to split it in half – for an hour and 15 minutes one day, and finished the cut for another half hour the following day! I don’t know where the energy was coming from. My arm should have burned out long before, but I guess I’m starting to get that lumberjack arm. My hand didn’t feel to great by the end, though.

California – Pics of some turnings coming soon! Thank you.

-- Gary, Los Angeles, video game animator

View mmh's profile


3701 posts in 5058 days

#6 posted 08-18-2009 02:25 AM

Nice blog and workshop set up. Your drying rack is quite impressive. The pieces of wood look like slabs of meat ready for sale! Where did you get the Jacaranda? I’ve seen them growing in S. Africa but they are not indigenous to the area so they are allowing them to die off and not replanting them. They have a beautiful show of deep purple flowers in Sept/October there.

How hard is this wood to work with? Is it as hard as maple, oak or elm?

That swirled piece sure is a tease. When are you going to hand out samples during this presentation? Where’s the coffee and donuts? :)~

-- "They who dream by day are cognizant of many things which escape those who dream only by night." ~ Edgar Allan Poe

View Broda's profile


313 posts in 4855 days

#7 posted 08-18-2009 12:07 PM

Gary, all that handsawing is making me tired even watching it, I know a woodworker that lives near me who has made a bandsaw jig that stops the log rolling about while you cutting them to lenght. It’s just a big “V” attached to a thin lenght of wood that sits in the mitre slot of the table.
I can get you some pictures of it if you like; it would save alot of effort

-- BRODY. NSW AUSTRALIA -arguments with turnings are rarely productive-

View Gary Fixler's profile

Gary Fixler

1001 posts in 4718 days

#8 posted 08-18-2009 03:04 PM

mmh – Jacaranda is all over Los Angeles. The street I work on has more than 20. It’s the only street tree on that double-length block. My neighborhood must have another 30 of them, and these aren’t the areas particularly known for them. They’re all pretty full-grown. You can see how big that is here, 3rd and 4th pics. That’s the tree 1 block over from me that fell over. The lady who lived there let me cut it up and take what I could. I have probably a few hundred pics of the Jacarandas on my office’s street in various states, from completely bare to fully covered in purple flowers. I’m going to post them (well, some of them, with a link to the rest) one of these days as part of my tree ID series here at LJs. The wood is nowhere near as hard as maple or oak. It’s more like basswood, and is well-known for its use in carving. I just turned my first piece of red oak recently, and it felt like I could barely get my bowl gouge into its face. The Jacaranda on the other hand comes off in 1/4” thick layers with ease. It’s a joy to turn. Oak was a big pain, and really hard to make smooth lines in. As for the blooms, they start appearing I’d say around April here, and by mid-May, the trees are entirely purple. This lasts until about July, and looks amazing. It’s now mid-August, and most of the petals have fallen, but you can still see little wisps of purple in certain trees here and there. I believe they lose all of their leaves in the winter months, which is why I didn’t know what they were all along my office street all through late last year and into early spring this year. Then the leaves started appearing, then seed pods, then in mid-late April they finally bloomed, and I said “Oh, Jacaranda.” :) Until that point, the really defining feature of them to me was how at each branching of the limbs, each time they get tinier, they get markedly smoother. The trunk is rough, the first branches much less so, then the branches off of those are smooth, but with the texture of the rougher limbs, and the tinier branches on those branches are completely smooth. Many trees do this to some extent, but it’s really defined on the Jacarandas. The thing I’m noticing more recently about them is how they send out very long, very straight branches at nearly 90° from the limb they come from, and often up and at an angle. I’ve seen some that are probably 1” thick, but 6’ long, sticking off of other, very twisty branches, which makes quite a neat geometric pattern of squiggles and straight lines to the trees.

Brody – Believe it or not, I actually crave using the hand saws. It’s one of my favorite things. I look for opportunities to hand-saw through some logs whenever I get the chance. I feel really alive bucking large logs. The cuts I did in the time-lapse posted here were the light ones. You should have seen when I resawed a 12” thick Eucalyptus log that was about 20” long. Right down the middle. It took me 1hr-15min one night after work, and then I finished up over the course of a half hour the next morning (Saturday). One cut! That was one heck of a workout. I sawed continuously through all of that. I don’t know where the energy was coming from, but it’s gotten to the point now that I can kinda just keep on sawing for long periods of time. It’s fun!

-- Gary, Los Angeles, video game animator

View mmh's profile


3701 posts in 5058 days

#9 posted 08-18-2009 09:46 PM

Sounds like you’ve found a productive way to get your cardiovascular excercise routine in your schedule! It’s much more fun to work and sweat when there’s an end product for your efforts, as opposed to just lifting weights repeatedly.

FYI I asked my wood scientist friend about your inquiry: “Anyone have a name for pulled in and grown-around sections of bark like this? I feel I’ve seen a name somewhere before. Subsumed bark? Subducted inclusions? “

”The bark is called “bark inclusions”, or “included bark”. Trees can not really “heal themselves” as animals can, so they grow over wounded areas, (or where two stems/limbs touch). ”

-- "They who dream by day are cognizant of many things which escape those who dream only by night." ~ Edgar Allan Poe

View Gary Fixler's profile

Gary Fixler

1001 posts in 4718 days

#10 posted 08-18-2009 10:08 PM

You have a wood scientist friend!? How lucky are you? It’s not R. Bruce Hoadley, is it?

Thanks for the info!

-- Gary, Los Angeles, video game animator

View mmh's profile


3701 posts in 5058 days

#11 posted 08-20-2009 05:03 PM

My wood scientist friend is Scotty Dryes. I made Cane #036 for him: .

Are you a member of the International Wood Collectors Society? You may be interested in their journal that they publish for members “World of Wood” and they also have meetings to meet other wood collectors/woodworkers, etc. and trade/swap wood with. Check them out at .

-- "They who dream by day are cognizant of many things which escape those who dream only by night." ~ Edgar Allan Poe

View Karson's profile


35295 posts in 5737 days

#12 posted 08-20-2009 05:51 PM

some more great pictures Gary

-- 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 Gary Fixler's profile

Gary Fixler

1001 posts in 4718 days

#13 posted 08-22-2009 04:43 AM

mmh – I’m not a member, but the IWCS has still managed to get their hooks into me. I had been researching trees and wood for a bit, and stumbled into the IWCS’s page on collecting it, and I even had the nerve to laugh at the concept. “Collect wood?” I hadn’t even considered it, despite having collected everything from stamps to bottles in my time. A week later, I was warming to the idea, and then I was using the IWCS page to learn more about it, and soon I’d found Woodworker’s Source (and a few since), and was ordering up my sample box :) Talk about the power of suggestion. I’m still planning at some point to buy the samples they sell, possibly trade with folks in the group, and I have a lot more samples from WS I want to get (i.e. eventually all of the ones I don’t have).

-- Gary, Los Angeles, video game animator

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