any experience using willow wood

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Forum topic by iamwelty posted 03-02-2013 10:01 PM 14717 views 0 times favorited 18 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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263 posts in 3628 days

03-02-2013 10:01 PM

Looking at doing an old fashion tool box… my local lumberyard has some willow they want to get rid of. Any thoughts? Characteristics? Stainability? Other considered option is cherry- but I’m open for suggestions. Thanks!

-- There is a fine line between eroticism and nausea...

18 replies so far

View RussellAP's profile


3105 posts in 2799 days

#1 posted 03-02-2013 10:06 PM

All I know about willow is that turners say it chips out and becomes hairy a lot.

-- A positive attitude will take you much further than positive thinking ever will.

View swoper's profile


59 posts in 3737 days

#2 posted 03-02-2013 10:36 PM

If anybody has an idea what willow burl looks like, if it is ok for sawing up for stuff other than turning, I would like know if my monster tree has any value. I have limbs down but never tried to slice it up to see what its like.

-- Harry, Jackson Mi

View killerb's profile


150 posts in 2910 days

#3 posted 03-02-2013 10:44 PM

Its real soft and stringy. Usually used for stakes for landscaping. Not real good for furniture. Finishing can be a bad thing with it. Very blotch prone.

-- Bob

View leafherder's profile


1851 posts in 2464 days

#4 posted 03-02-2013 11:45 PM

I made a beautiful walking stick with a limb that fell of my Corkscrew Willow – it aged to a nice golden color as it dried. I had to have the tree cut down and saved a piece of the trunk for a future project – it dried well with minimal cracking but it did develop some blotches. Still have not devided what to make with it. Good luck with whatever you decide to use.

-- Leafherder

View RogerInColorado's profile


321 posts in 2466 days

#5 posted 03-03-2013 05:13 AM

I know people who make lots of plaques. They use willow because when a walnut stain is applied it looks like walnut from a distance and it’s a lot cheaper than walnut. I’d try it on a project before I bought a lot of it.

View BJODay's profile


528 posts in 2455 days

#6 posted 03-03-2013 09:25 PM

When I was younger my dad made a set of basement steps out of reclaimed willow. It held up well and was strong. But it smelled like urine when it was run through a table saw.

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Monte Pittman

30442 posts in 2850 days

#7 posted 03-03-2013 09:41 PM

Smells kind of sour. Softer wood. A little twisty when dried. Seems like OK wood. Nothing special.

-- Nature created it, I just assemble it.

View stefang's profile


16752 posts in 3846 days

#8 posted 03-03-2013 10:04 PM

I used thin willow branches split in two and with the pith removed and bark removed to make the banding for my stave bucket. Otherwise I have not idea about willow.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View NGK's profile


93 posts in 2423 days

#9 posted 03-04-2013 04:05 AM

A truckload of willow wood was used in the Industrial Arts program in the school where I taught. It was purchased because the cost per board foot was low. Additionally, because it is soft it was easy for students to cut, shape, sand, etc. However that softness makes it relatively poor for furniture because it dents and is marred so easily. Once it’s dried and planed it’s relatively stable. It has both the advantage AND disadvantage of being “light” or low in density. I’d put it in the category of white pine, pondersoa pine, alder, and poplar.

View RussellAP's profile


3105 posts in 2799 days

#10 posted 03-04-2013 12:25 PM

Here is a reference site that will tell you everything you ever wanted to know about any kind of wood you could ever imagine and some you never even heard of.[email protected]_toxicity.htm

That page tells you about toxic levels of woods. Willow is on the list. Better read it.

-- A positive attitude will take you much further than positive thinking ever will.

View SteviePete's profile


226 posts in 3815 days

#11 posted 03-06-2013 07:20 PM

I sawed trunk and branches. Soft, stringy for carving. splits when against the grain, downed in a storm—many cracks and checks. Highest and best use seems to be campfire. That said, I have several boards and blocks that I will try on fish nets for floats and has some squirlly figure that may look good dyed. I believe the urine smell is due to willows ability to draw Boy Scouts and new cigarrette smokers. Good luck, Steve. On Wisconsin.

-- Steve, 'Sconie Great White North

View darinS's profile


716 posts in 3379 days

#12 posted 03-06-2013 07:43 PM

A little more information:

and some more, just need to go to the letter ‘W’:

-- Rule 40 - If it seems like someone's out to get you, they are.

View blackcherry's profile


3343 posts in 4335 days

#13 posted 03-06-2013 08:57 PM

Antonio Stradivari used willow wood as sound board support in his million dollar violins….

View runswithscissors's profile


3072 posts in 2537 days

#14 posted 03-07-2013 12:29 AM

The brits use willow for cricket bats. Make up a bunch of bats and sell them on the British equivalent of CL.

-- I admit to being an adrenaline junky; fortunately, I'm very easily frightened

View cosmicturner's profile


403 posts in 3908 days

#15 posted 03-07-2013 01:57 PM

Artificial limbs were made from willow and I have made many things from willow…Bob is right staining can be tricky, like what black cherry said…I hate it when people call any wood junk wood there is no junk wood it all has a purpose like us, the pic I have right here in the little box is weeping willow we call it in my area it has long long skinny fresh branches that hang down as kid would jump grab a handful and swing like Tarzan….is that the willow? My first projected listed on here is willow turned green, turned once, no warping no checking end grain needs a spit coat even then can get blotchy, the fuzz yeah it is but you can sand it
For a tool box is the question and I say why not and cherry is not all that hard bet they are close and Cherry breaks very easy in my opinion willow is tuff it might dent but won’t break as easy and what is wrong with dents?
Read about diamond willow walking sticks…are they hard? Soft and stringy? Not so much

-- Cosmicturner

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