Wood IDs #9: Sealing up the mystery tree (probably California Bay Laurel)

  • Advertise with us
Blog entry by Gary Fixler posted 03-29-2009 08:38 PM 4048 reads 0 times favorited 3 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 8: Found Eucalyptus tree in LA - part 3 of 3 Part 9 of Wood IDs series Part 10: Found limb - Bottlebrush »

You folks helped me to ID this as probably a California Bay Laurel, blown down a pretty strong wind storm a week ago. I’m still going to research it, but for now, it needed to be sealed up against the checking that had already begun. I wanted some good pics of the cross sections before they get their coat of sealer. I have 2 gallons of Anchorseal in shipment now from the source, and I’m wondering if I should have gotten the 5gal bucket. Meanwhile, last week I picked up 2 quarts of Rockler’s Green Wood End Sealer, the last of the stuff from my local store, and went on a sealing mission. The insides of every tree and branch I’ve found here in LA so far has been a small adventure. There’s so much to see inside these things.

The main stump was already checking:

stump of probably California Bay Laurel has begun to check shortly after cutting

Sealing it with the wax really brought out what appears to some rot, or spalting. Thoughts?

sealed end of stump highlights probable damage

This piece shows more of this apparent rot/spalt:

log with some kind of rot or spalting inside

The outside of the previous log has some interesting knotty/burlish stuff happening:

log with large knot

This mark would appear to be some spalting happening around a preexisting fissure inside this branch:

possible spalting around internal cut in branch

This stuff may come out a bit like cherry when all is said and done. Note the sap – the stickiest I’ve yet felt. It feels wet and gooey, then dries out as you rub your fingers together and becomes a very tacky glue. I’ve been thinking I should harvest it, mix it with a little thinner, and do some tests of varnishing with it. Thoughts on this? Anyone tried similar with tree sap?

sticky sap oozes out of freshly cut log

I’m a bit intrigued by the swirling grain here, and can’t wait to see how it looks flatsawn, quartersawn, and turned:

interesting cross section of log

Anyone know what these yellow marks are inside some of the logs?

yellow mark in cross section of log

Here’s the part that was wrenched from the ground as the tree fell:

base of stump ripped from the ground

So much to seal!

sealing logs and branches

so much left to seal

I didn’t get to seal all of it yet. Most of the tiny branches are on hold. I’m too busy with about 5 big projects, and I’ve since found several more trees and branches locally, which I’ll post about soon. Neat stuff. On today’s agenda is finishing up the 3rd section of my wood drying/storing racks. I’ll post about those with pics and a Sketchup model soon, too! Anyone know how to make about 3 more of me, or extend a day by about 3x?

There are a few more pics in the flickr set.

-- Gary, Los Angeles, video game animator

3 comments so far

View kiwi1969's profile


608 posts in 3946 days

#1 posted 03-30-2009 02:10 AM

When my late father got pieces like this he would store them in a dark place as well as sealing the ends. Black plastic helps keep the light out and moisture in.

-- if the hand is not working it is not a pure hand

View PurpLev's profile


8551 posts in 4153 days

#2 posted 03-30-2009 04:13 PM

harvesting sap is a good green idea, not sure how practical though. keep us posted if you do happen to take on that job

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

View Karson's profile


35201 posts in 4905 days

#3 posted 03-30-2009 04:36 PM

Keeping busy huh. Keeps you out of the bars.

-- 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]

Have your say...

You must be signed in to post the comments.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics