Showing off My Wood – Part 4

My mother continues to get better. I have harvested over 50 kg of plums and about 10 kg of apples this year and she has been removing the pits and making marmalade, compotes, and prunes for over a week. The freezer is full of de-pitted and halved plums, we have 2 kg of prunes in the cellar and a huge amount of canned fruit product, thus we are set up for years. This is good because a harvest like this is exceptional.

My father seems to be well after the reduction of antipsychotics. He is able to move and do something again whilst not getting any psychotic fits for a few weeks by now. Today we were at the psychiatrist for a check-up and his long-term memory is apparently in good shape for his age, but he has a short-term memory problem for which he was recommended to exercise a bit with games and puzzles. Alzheimer’s or any other type of severe dementia is, for now, not an issue. If he continues to do well, the antipsychotics may be reduced again at the next check-up at the beginning of next year. At least he genuinely enjoys cracking nuts with the Nutkraken and is positively eager to do it.

I have so much work in the garden and around the house right now that I have barely time for anything else. However I still have some pretty woods to write about, so lets go to it.

Tamarisk (Tamarix)

© Charly, all rights reserved. Click for full size

My favorite aunt used to have a big tamarisk tree in her garden but they felled it a few years ago. When I was visiting, she gave me some of the bigger pieces in case I can make something pretty out of them.

The wood has developed a lot of cracks during the drying, it will need a lot of filling with epoxy. But it has interesting color and texture – the sapwood is bright yellow and the heartwood is reddish-pink with orange-yellow streaks like flames. I think that if I will the cracks with red or orange resin, maybe with glitter, I could get genuinely interesting-looking pieces out of it.

It is one of the few kinds of wood that I can smell when I work it and it is not pleasant. It stinks to the high heavens, to be frank.

Thuja (Thuja sp.)

© Charly, all rights reserved. Click for full size

I only got two pieces of Thuja put aside. I could put aside more from a tree that was uprooted this spring in my neighbor’s garden, but I do not think I will. It is a plain-looking softwood. I will possibly use it for contrast pieces and spacers for darker woods of similar hardness if I ever work with one but I do not think it is worth using on its own.

Yew (Taxus baccata)

© Charly, all rights reserved. Click for full size

© Charly, all rights reserved. Click for full size

Interesting-looking and reasonably hard softwood. Heartwood is reddish-brown, and Sapwood is creamy-white. It is similar to juniper wood that I have shown you previously. I think it might be interesting for both kitchen and bushcraft knives, but since it is poisonous, I will have to be very careful whenever working with it, especially when sanding or filing it. A respirator is a must, people can get – and did get – poisoned from inhaling its sawdust. I have several pieces big enough to make knife bloc, especially if I economize them and use them as veneers. I did not have a piece big enough to make a longbow. Pity.

That’s it for now, but I still have some nice woods to brag about, so stay tuned.


  1. Ice Swimmer says

    It’s nice to hear that the health of your parents has recovered. It must be a relief for you as well!

    The tamarisk wood looks strangely wonderful or wonderfully strange.

    Thuja isn’t native to Finland (it’s used as a ornamental plant, though), but a common Finnish woman’s name, Tuija, comes from the Finnish name of the tree (tuija).

  2. Jazzlet says

    Glad to hear both of your parents are doing relatively well.

    I didn’t realise yew wood was that poisonous, though I did know the seeds are. Though if you are careful to extract the actual seed the flesh of the fruit isn’t poisonous, it isn’t particularly exciting either, just an interesting fact.

  3. says

    as devastating as the situation with your father was at first, that’s a fantastic current situation. good health to all.
    i don’t have much to say about wood, but if my brother was here, he’d be making horrible puns.

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