found wood #6: Ficus microcarpa - MAKE IT STOP - 3rd and 4th hauls

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Blog entry by Gary Fixler posted 06-12-2009 01:59 PM 6189 reads 0 times favorited 18 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 5: more Ficus microcarpa Part 6 of found wood series Part 7: No, not MORE huge Eucalyptus logs! »

A bit over a week ago I found some logs outside a neighbor’s place down the street while on my way home from work on a Friday night. They were Ficus microcarpa (AKA Chinese banyan, AKA Indian Laurel, AKA curtain fig, AKA etc…). Almost a week later – a few days ago – I found another load of the same logs in the same spot on my way home for lunch. This morning while heading into work, I passed the same spot, and the biggest haul yet was sitting there. I was running a few minutes late, but did a U-turn, and loaded them up, getting pretty dirty and sweaty in the process.

very large fig logs in my truck bed

These are some very large pieces.

very large fig logs in my truck bed

I got some more rooty sections:

large root-covered fig logs in my truck bed

It’s incredible how heavy these things were.

On the way home that night, happy with the score, THEY HAD PUT OUT MORE. Knock it off already! You know I’m a hoarder :) Here’s a shot of where I’ve been finding these things. The Bass sign was laying on them, but I didn’t want it, and carefully placed it aside.

more logs on sidewalk

more logs on sidewalk

Now that’s a load.

logs in my truck bed

Their place is one of the prettiest in the area. Mine is a simple little box built in the early ‘20s, and barely updated since. What’s funny is that the lots are all the same size in the entire large neighborhood, meaning that people with large houses like this have very little in the way of yards. I think this one has a mostly-enclosed courtyard, though, which is pretty awesome.

pretty house where I've been finding logs

So here’s the final 3rd and 4th hauls all together after work today:

3rd and 4th hauls of fig logs

And here I am (6ft. tall) for some scale:

me with logs in my truck bed

Hand scale against the largest one:

my hand on a log cross section

I made another time-lapse of the unloading, this time at the truck. If I get another load, I’ll have to attach my camera to the dolly itself, and film the journeys of the logs. Then the set will be complete.

The best part of that time lapse is going back through it to grab the 12 frames wherein I’ve just removed another log. Setting them up to ping-pong back and forth in a GIF image, you can see the truck raise up and down on the suspension care of the tremendous weight of the logs:

Here’s the full pile on my back patio. This is all 4 loads stacked into an impenetrable wall:

wall of fig tree logs

From a distance, patio in view here:

wall of fig tree logs

I had to shove things to the other side a bit and sweep out the left half for the new fig logs. I definitely need to start cutting some things up, stacking and stickering them on the log racks, and making a bunch of green wood turnings to rid myself of some stock, if the wood can handle it. This is a really great opportunity – if the wood is of any use – to enable me to try out everything: stains, dyes, varnishes, wipe vs. brush, layerings, BLO, thinned topcoats, and the list goes on and on. I love having a lot of material against which to test everything, as it removes one of the variables by keeping the testing ground the same each time.

random logs, wood, and branches on my back patio

Here’s me for some scale again. It’s time to put this whole tree back together!

me with a pile of logs

But for now I’m done. And it’s naptime. Goodnight.

and I'm out

-- Gary, Los Angeles, video game animator

18 comments so far

View stefang's profile


17040 posts in 4677 days

#1 posted 06-12-2009 02:36 PM

Quite a haul Gary, and easier to get that having to cut it down yourself. Intelligent woodworking. I Like it. If I knew about this I might have stayed in L.A. Have fun with your find.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View lew's profile


13489 posts in 5098 days

#2 posted 06-12-2009 03:02 PM

Gary, Gary, Gary,

At this rate, the new lumber rack will need expanding!

-- Lew- Time traveler. Purveyor of the Universe's finest custom rolling pins.

View HokieMojo's profile


2104 posts in 5071 days

#3 posted 06-12-2009 03:31 PM

you are a GREAT blogger. thanks for posting all this stuff. i don’t know how you are ever going to use all this, but I’m looking forward to watching you try!

View a1Jim's profile


118310 posts in 4920 days

#4 posted 06-12-2009 03:48 PM

Now you can make a Sectionall tote em pole.


View patron's profile


13722 posts in 4684 days

#5 posted 06-12-2009 04:16 PM

great score , gary !

now quit stopping at that BAR and having just ONE ,

and get to work , and having fun with all that wood !

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

View Julian's profile


884 posts in 4868 days

#6 posted 06-12-2009 04:19 PM

I see all this wood, and a fancy rack for it, but where’s the fruits of your labor? Let’s see some projects!

-- Julian, Homewood, IL

View BarryW's profile


1016 posts in 5249 days

#7 posted 06-12-2009 06:28 PM

Paint the ends of the wood soon….and get some rest…the time lapses were hysterical.

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

View SCOTSMAN's profile


5849 posts in 4928 days

#8 posted 06-12-2009 06:49 PM

That’s some beard you got young fella you should change your name to Blackbeard I wish mine was so good.I have to glue mine on when I get a haircut so I am jealous even my three sons have more and better beards than me.Still good find with the wood.LOL Alistair

-- excuse my typing as I have a form of parkinsons disease

View Gary Fixler's profile

Gary Fixler

1001 posts in 4724 days

#9 posted 06-12-2009 11:56 PM

Mike – Indeed. I’m also a kind of ‘green’ hippie. I love trees. If I lived back home in our endless forest, I might occasionally go out and choose a tree to fell, but I personally just love cleaning up the stuff that falls itself. I don’t like to cut things down before their time. I also accept picking up stuff other people cut without influence from me for whatever be their reasons.

Lew – It’s too late. No rack system will ever be enough for me :)

Hokie – Thanks! I sure hope it was worth it, and that I have it in me to push through and make these things into something besides firewood. I’ve heard that fig tree wood isn’t all that great, and deteriorates readily, but I need to learn that first hand before I’ll believe it entirely.

Jim – funny you should mention that. I wrote to my friends recently about an idea I had for a large lawn chess game – pieces maybe 12” wide. The pieces would be tiki themed, and would all feature something in the top and bottom that allowed them to stack into totem poles. This way, you could have luaus with cool tiki totem decorations scattered around, or framing in the party, and say “Who’s up for a round of giant chess?” and just lift each piece off and bring it over to set it up. It would be fun. Guests could surround the board to watch you battle it out. I guess I don’t go to very exciting parties :)

david – Seriously! Now I have my hands, and my log racks full!

Julian – Ha! Now you want projects, too!? Alright then, I’ll get cracking on it soon, after a nap :)

Barry – Will do, and thank you very much!

Alistair – The beard is definitely a defining characteristic. I shave it off entirely every few months, but it just comes back with a vengeance. Wish there was a use for it. I’m 1/4 Scottish myself, with the other 3 parts being Irish, Austrian, and Russian. Because of these particular European influences, my beard is actually somewhat reddish.

-- Gary, Los Angeles, video game animator

View stefang's profile


17040 posts in 4677 days

#10 posted 06-12-2009 11:57 PM

I have been thinking about your wood storage a little Gary. Those are pretty short logs and you live in a pretty dry climate there. Have you thought about the possibility that you might get some serious checking or even major splitting ? I’m no wood expert and I don’t want to alarm you, but from experience I know that short pieces like you have there can really dry out fast and crack before you know it. If you are not sure about this, I would suggest you look into it. It would be a shame to waste all that wood you have collected.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View Gary Fixler's profile

Gary Fixler

1001 posts in 4724 days

#11 posted 06-13-2009 12:28 AM

Yeah, Mike. Things do dry out very fast, and nearly everything I’ve stored on my log racks has checked already, some terribly. The Eucalyptus is a real fight, but the winner is olive. I have logs of olive that are around the 1’ diameter mark, and they’ve split to the core in something like 10 places around the outside. I’ll be lucky to squeeze pen blanks out of them. Those weren’t sealed. I took way too long getting around to sealing them. I still haven’t, because what’s the point now?

This is why I want to get things resawn soon. A resawing jig is top on my list right now. Getting all that radial influence away from things should help with checking, though the boards may still split and warp. At least I can work with that a bit more easily.

-- Gary, Los Angeles, video game animator

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile


23357 posts in 5019 days

#12 posted 06-13-2009 02:21 AM

GARY, If it were me, which it ain’t, I would at least paint the ends with some cheap oil base paint. I pickup up a maple log about a year ago just to see what was going to happen when it dried. I just noticed today that it was cracked almost all the way across one end!! Didn’t look at teh other. It is about 4 feet long and 14-16” in diameter. All I could do to put it in the back of my pickup by myself.

Nice haul! Too bad I know where the secret spot is now :-)) :-)) :-)) :-))

-- 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 4724 days

#13 posted 06-13-2009 02:45 AM

Topamax – I actually have a 2-gallon pail of Anchorseal, supposedly the best (or one of the best) at sealing wood end grain for drying. I’ll have to get out there this weekend and paint everything up. Really, though, I want to get my resawing jig finally made (still have lots of design work left to figure out). The sooner I can slab these things, the sooner they’ll be free of the radial checking pull. Still can split, of course, but it’ll be a lot less forces acting on them.

And as to maple, I know all about it. I gathered up a bunch of maple branches and some logs from my folks’ home in NJ, shipped them back to me in LA, and let them dry in the living room in their boxes. They’re all checked to the center, and along their entire lengths. I took a small piece out of a 1.5” limb, cut out past the checking, and turned it. It popped open along its length while I was turning it. What a pain.

-- Gary, Los Angeles, video game animator

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile


23357 posts in 5019 days

#14 posted 06-13-2009 04:20 AM

I just thought it would be better to seal now, rather than wait for the jig. Minimize the checking as much as possible. I have some alder for carving blocks I thought was sealed, but it wasn’t ;-(( Tehy were in 1/2 and 1/3 rounds. Carvings will be a little smaller ;-))

-- 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 4724 days

#15 posted 06-13-2009 11:25 AM

You’re right, of course. I’m just being lazy. I’ll paint ‘em up tomorrow!

-- Gary, Los Angeles, video game animator

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