Wood IDs #13: Hollywood Junipers heavily trimmed = probably a lot of pen blanks

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Blog entry by Gary Fixler posted 05-05-2009 12:24 PM 9018 reads 0 times favorited 5 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 12: Not a California Bay Laurel after all... Part 13 of Wood IDs series Part 14: Figured out what kind of Eucalyptus it was that I found »

Wow, it’s been a busy month. These are from a month and 2 days ago. My landlady stopped by to check things out, and decided the Hollywood Junipers (Juniperus chinensis) needed trimming. Here’s how they looked, during a day when I was drying out my tarp, and realizing it was the same size as my tiny back yard:

overgrown Hollywood Junipers and yard-sized blue tarp

That was 3 months before they were trimmed. They had grown in a lot more in that time. I had cut down a limb last year so I’d have room for a wood storage shed, and found pretty intricate stuff going on in the cross sections:

Hollywood Juniper limb cross section

I never sealed these, but it’s been 6 months, and they haven’t checked in the slightest. I guess Hollywood Juniper isn’t under much tension, at least not in these small limbs. The tree guy trimmed the trees while I was at work, and I returned home to this decimation:

heavily trimmed Hollywood Junipers

It was pretty shocking, and bittersweet, as I loved the privacy and shade the huge wall of foliage provided, but also will enjoy trimming up the limbs for small turning blanks. It was like my own miniature woods under there. I asked my landlady if I could keep the branches for woodworking, and she agreed. What a pile the tree guys left me!

large pile of Hollywood Juniper branches

The pile is 5’ tall, and about 8’ in diameter. It is jam-packed with spiders and their webs. I’ve recently picked up a distiller for extracting essential oils, so I want to run a bunch of the juniper leaves through that, too. I’m slowly gaining the ability to use all parts of the trees I find. I haven’t had time this month to go through any of the pile, only to cover it up so the gardeners don’t throw it away, but I’m quite curious to see how many little turning blanks I can gather out of them. I suspect it will be more than I imagine. I’m wondering how much essential oil I can tap, too, if it’ll smell as nice as the leaves do, and how often I’ll feel like setting up the distiller for yet another round :)

I’m also wondering if small juniper limb pieces can turn into anything nice. We’ll just have to wait and see. Darn these drying times…

Some more pics in the flickr set

-- Gary, Los Angeles, video game animator

5 comments so far

View HokieMojo's profile


2104 posts in 5190 days

#1 posted 05-05-2009 03:00 PM

the distillery is really intriguing to me. I was jsut thinking that there probably isn’t TOO much usable lumber out of all that material, but apparently you are finding a way.

Maybe the tree will fill back in quickly. It is a bit sad to see that more than just pruning took place.

View a1Jim's profile


118321 posts in 5039 days

#2 posted 05-05-2009 05:03 PM

Very Resourceful your good at locating found wood


View TopamaxSurvivor's profile


24658 posts in 5138 days

#3 posted 05-05-2009 05:42 PM

The end grain looks very interesting. Should be some good colors in there :-)

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

View spanky46's profile


995 posts in 4853 days

#4 posted 05-06-2009 04:07 AM

Gary, can’t wait to see a project with this wood! I know it will be interesting!

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

View Gary Fixler's profile

Gary Fixler

1001 posts in 4844 days

#5 posted 05-06-2009 09:31 AM

HokieMojo – I’ll definitely post a follow-up of the blanks I’m able to cull from this pile. I need the rest of these crazy times to pass first. So much going on, so many projects, so little time, so little me…

Rob – good thinking! It hadn’t occurred to me. I guess I’ll give the leaves a tumble in some water for a bit to rinse them off, though if they’ve absorbed things, I guess I can’t really do much about that. Oh well. This was more a [very expensive] whim of mine than something I’m looking to get rich off of. I have a feeling I’m going to end up making a little rack to store the labeled 1-dram amber glass bottles. I like little collections like that. Nice little conversation pieces when friends stop by.

Jim – thanks! I bought a truck tonight. That should help a lot.

Topamax and Spanky – here’s hoping! I think I might actually try a few very tiny half-log bowl turnings from the larger pieces. The patterning is tight, and tiny enough that it should look like intricate patterns on a larger bowl. I imagine with so much going on like this in a larger trunk, bowls turned of 6+ inches would look really busy inside.

-- Gary, Los Angeles, video game animator

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