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Blog series by Gary Fixler updated 04-16-2010 02:24 PM 20 parts 118400 reads 192 comments total

Part 1: HUGE Eucalyptus score

06-05-2009 02:34 PM by Gary Fixler | 5 comments »

Sheesh. Good thing I have a truck now. I saw a note on craigslist today (online classifieds) that a guy had put “10 to 15 more” eucalyptus logs out in the alleyway behind his house. LA is all blocks split in half by access alleys big enough to drive 2 cars through (barely). The Google directions were a little wonky (didn’t name one of the roads, had me lost for an hour), and so a 47mi. round trip turned into a 75mi. round trip, and there were an incredible number of cop d...

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Part 2: large Eucalyptus log pics - I wasn't kidding when I said big!

06-06-2009 03:33 AM by Gary Fixler | 7 comments »

Here are some pics of the haul! This one shows a ton of Eucalyptus Longhorn Borer activity, just like the much tinier tree I found awhile ago: with raked lighting here: This log has something like quilting on two faces: Unfortunate checking going on here. I’ll have to see how deep it goes, and if it’s all the way through, I’ll have to learn a little something about filling and stabilizing. It would be a shame to have to turn all of these into ...

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Part 3: When it rains... found some more logs ON MY BLOCK!

06-06-2009 12:36 PM by Gary Fixler | 2 comments »

My bones haven’t finished knitting back together, and the gum tree chunks are still in the bed, but on the way back from a fast food run tonight, I saw a log pile on the grass in front of the sidewalk, right on my block! I backed up in front of the driveway there, and loaded one very large trunk piece, and a bunch of other large branch pieces in right on top of the eucalyptus. I have a feeling they were out all day, and people picked through the little stuff for firewood, leaving the la...

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Part 4: quick and dirty homemade dolly (for moving huge logs)

06-12-2009 12:31 AM by Gary Fixler | 6 comments »

If you recall the enormous gum tree logs I rescued recently, you might have wondered how I was going to move them all. Crushing manly strength alone? Nah, I was still pretty shot after lifting them into the truck in the first place. I slapped together a dolly out of scrap 2×4s (left over from the log rack shelves) with deck screws and some pocket holes (and screws), and a pair of rubber wheels and matching axle bolts that I ended up not needing for another project about a month back. ...

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Part 5: more Ficus microcarpa

06-12-2009 03:47 AM by Gary Fixler | 5 comments »

Remember that haul last week of fig logs? I used the new dolly to move them around back: Here’s the load by the light of day: Exactly one week later, running home on my lunch break, I found ANOTHER PILE of them in the same spot, from the same tree likely. Of course, I had to back up, pull over, and load those in, too :) Pretty big! This rooty section had wood chunks that didn’t match. I think they’re Douglas fir, from a fence or garden somethi...

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Part 6: Ficus microcarpa - MAKE IT STOP - 3rd and 4th hauls

06-12-2009 01:59 PM by Gary Fixler | 18 comments »

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...

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Part 7: No, not MORE huge Eucalyptus logs!

06-20-2009 03:54 AM by Gary Fixler | 15 comments »

I tried to get in touch with the guy who put the logs out in Canoga Hills to see if there were any of the 5 I had left on my last/first trip remaining, and if it would be worth the 30 minute drive. He never got back to me, but I noticed he reposted on craigslist a few days later that he put 15 more logs out there. That night after work I headed up. I’d wanted to find metal brackets that turn 2×8 or 2×10 planks into ramps that lay on the tailgate, so I could dolly the logs r...

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Part 8: Largest Eucalyptus log - I knew it was over 200lbs!

06-21-2009 09:54 AM by Gary Fixler | 4 comments »

In a comment by Topamax in this post he made some assumptions, and ran some numbers, and got 188lbs for the largest Eucalyptus log I managed to lift into the truck and bring home from Canoga Hills. I really felt it was over 200lbs, so today I set this up: It’s just some scrap weathered pine stacked up into a makeshift ramp to my bathroom scale out on the patio, with some 2×4s on the scale to keep the log from pressing its central buttons, or marking up its face. The 2×4...

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Part 9: kiln-dried Douglas fir stickers

06-22-2009 03:37 AM by Gary Fixler | 8 comments »

As a home hobbyist in a big city, not working as much in BF as in “oh look, a log!” I decided to keep things simple on myself and go with KD DF for stickering my slabs. I have a bunch of really old, really dry stuff, and in fact tried to build some finger-jointed frames for another project I’d like to post about someday, but dropping one only a foot to the ground caused all 4 corners to shatter. It’s that dry. I figure that means it’ll be fairly inert, though who...

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Part 10: Full, fallen Jacaranda mimosifolia tree - wish me luck!

07-28-2009 03:43 AM by Gary Fixler | 12 comments »

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. 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: ...

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Part 11: O frabjous day! Free Jacaranda!

07-28-2009 09:55 PM by Gary Fixler | 10 comments »

In yesterday's dramatic episode, Camille – the homeowner who’s Jacaranda mimosifolia street tree fell over due to fungal rot at the base – was very concerned about a whole host of things that might happen if she allowed me to cut up the tree and take a bunch with me. She was rather justified about some of it, perhaps much of it, but that didn’t help eager me, of course. This morning, after waiting a whole day for the street crew to come by as promised, she’d h...

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Part 12: Is there such a thing as *too much* Jacaranda? Let's find out...

07-29-2009 10:06 AM by Gary Fixler | 7 comments »

In part 2 of this saga, I got a call from Camille who’s lawn was coated in freshly fallen, fungally rotten Jacaranda mimosifolia. Her call awoke me with a start this morning, and soon I was at her house, borrowing her electricity for my electric chainsaw, and cutting up what I could. One heat stroke, or heat exhaustion later, and I drove away with a truck full of limbs. I ran home for my second shower and change, then off to work, then ran home at lunch (nice living 1.5 miles away) to d...

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Part 13: wood gloat: superior grade alder scraps

08-13-2009 09:43 AM by Gary Fixler | 12 comments »

I can’t believe it’s been just over 3 weeks already since I picked this stuff up. This year is cruising past me. I saw an ad one morning – only a few minutes old – for a very large pile of scrap wood, mostly superior-grade alder, but with a mix of some other things in there, like plywood, and walnut. I wrestled internally for a bit. Do I really need more wood? The answer, it turned out, was yes. I wrote, mentioned I was a budding woodworker, and would love to find uses...

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Part 14: Inside Jacaranda

08-17-2009 11:29 AM by Gary Fixler | 13 comments »

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): Here’s me sawing it up ...

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Part 15: just showing off a pretty piece of olive wood

02-26-2010 12:40 PM by Gary Fixler | 10 comments »

This is from the olive haul I got almost a year ago for free from some tree trimmers. Early this month, in the mood for some more resawing, I cut up another of the logs into blanks around the insane amount of checking. I’ve probably heard every trick now to keeping wood from splitting – freezing, microwaving, alcohol dipping, Anchorseal, storing in a bag of shavings after turning, filling cracks with coffee grounds or wood dust and thin CA glue – I’ve tried many of ...

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Part 16: Cora's Mexican restaurant wood

03-28-2010 07:22 AM by Gary Fixler | 17 comments »

Cora’s, a local Mexican restaurant went out of business recently. On my way back from the bearing shop with the new bits for my planer this past week I noticed a crew tearing the insides out. I stopped in and asked if I could look through their scrap pile for free wood, and as happens pretty much always here in west LA, they looked at me, shrugged their shoulders, and said “sure.” There’s wasn’t much, and nothing great, but the wood looked old, and I t...

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Part 17: more restaurant remodeling wood

04-05-2010 05:27 AM by Gary Fixler | 16 comments »

Another restaurant on the same street as the last one is being remodeled. I headed over one night to see if they threw anything good away and they sure had. The tall boards in the middle here were actually piled up on the dumpster (old boards to the right are from the other restaurant, pallet/crate wood to left from yet another!): There’s some nicer grade 3/4” birch ply about 7’ long and more than a foot wide – handy for jigs and secondary structures. There was ...

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Part 18: Chinese elm, finally!

04-05-2010 12:41 PM by Gary Fixler | 15 comments »

I learned what a Chinese elm is 1 year and 10 days ago, and blogged about it here. A friend told me she had read about a very old one that had fallen on someone’s car during high winds the day before. It turned out to be only a 10 minute drive from work, which is where I was reading the email. At lunch I headed over, found the crushed truck on the side of the road, but the tree was already gone. Since then I’ve seen Chinese elms all over my area, and they are wild looking, beautif...

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Part 19: Okay, too much wood now...

04-05-2010 06:59 PM by Gary Fixler | 4 comments »

I’d love to get these, but conifers don’t really call to me like the angiosperms. The wood is usually soft and sappy, and I grew up surrounded by pine. It’s what everything decorative and utilitarian was made from, so I’m a little burned out on it. Now these, they call to me through sheer size. I think most of that is 3’ diameter or better. I’d love to have a nice portable band mill and a flatbed, and an MS 880 STIHL Magnumâ„¢ Chain Saw with a 59 inch guid...

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Part 20: Eucalyptus branch from Venice Blvd in west LA

04-16-2010 02:24 PM by Gary Fixler | 6 comments »

I had a meeting today with a friend who does pet portraits here in LA. He left the film effects business last year to focus on his two passions: pets, and photography. It’s working out for him. He did portraits of all of Paris Hilton’s dogs last year. He has a bunch of freelance work for me – website stuff – which will be great to tide me over as I continue to pursue full time employment again. In other financial news, looks like I’m getting a tax refund to the t...

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