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Jan 16, 2022 - 1:32:43 PM
9950 posts since 3/19/2009

While walking along a creek today I came upon an Osage Orange tree.. The "hedge apples'" as we call them locally were in abundance.. I collected a bunch and hope to start several hundred trees to give away.. ANYway.. The wood of the Osage Orange was, in decades gone by, used for wagon wheels because it is flexible and as hard as a rock and twice as dense as most other woods.. So I'm wondering if anyone has ever use the orange wood to make a banjo rim? I suppose someone COULD have made a fiddle back from the wood, but I doubt it.. What do you think..? Banjos often have dense, hard, rims..

Edited by - TuneWeaver on 01/16/2022 16:18:27

Jan 16, 2022 - 4:46:58 PM

2601 posts since 10/22/2007

They probably kept breaking the teeth off their saws.
My old boss from Missouri said his Dad would drive them into the ground like steel fence posts. How the heck would you drive a staple into it? I never asked.
I know the fruit attracts box elder bugs. Takes alot to make a pie.

Jan 16, 2022 - 4:51:50 PM

9950 posts since 3/19/2009

quote:
Originally posted by farmerjones

They probably kept breaking the teeth off their saws.
My old boss from Missouri said his Dad would drive them into the ground like steel fence posts. How the heck would you drive a staple into it? I never asked.
I know the fruit attracts box elder bugs. Takes alot to make a pie.


I once had about 50 osage orange fence posts.. I had to DRILL holes for the barbed wire or wrap it on.. Nailing wasn't an option.. Super hard.. I took one post that was no more than an inch thick and tried to break it over my knee.. My knee still hurts and I never did break that thing.!!1 No wonder the archers want to use the wood for bows..

I'll pass on the pie!!!

Jan 16, 2022 - 4:54:41 PM

97 posts since 1/28/2018

The fruit is a spider repellent.
The wood is sought after for the making of arrow shooting bows.

Edited by - fiddlewood on 01/16/2022 16:55:32

Jan 16, 2022 - 5:54:53 PM
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9950 posts since 3/19/2009

quote:
Originally posted by fiddlewood

The fruit is a spider repellent.
The wood is sought after for the making of arrow shooting bows.


THat is exactly how I came to collecting Osage Orange seeds.. I was cutting a branch for an archery bow!! Not a spider in sight!

Jan 16, 2022 - 9:55:33 PM
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1495 posts since 7/26/2015

Granddaddy has asked a number of luthiers if they ever considered using hedge apple/bodock wood to build a banjo neck.

Jan 17, 2022 - 4:20:02 AM
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170 posts since 12/30/2008

I bet it would make a good fingerboard/fretboard.

Jan 17, 2022 - 5:52:40 AM
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9950 posts since 3/19/2009

quote:
Originally posted by hokelore

I bet it would make a good fingerboard/fretboard.


I found this interesting chart showing the relative hardness of many woods... Most types of ebony seem to be harder than Osage..!!https://www.bellforestproducts.com/info/janka-hardness/

Jan 17, 2022 - 6:24:29 AM
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DougD

USA

10545 posts since 12/2/2007

Here's a great website that has lots of information about many, many woods (Scroll all the way down to "Find wood"). wood-database.com/
And yes, ebony is harder than Osage orange.

Jan 17, 2022 - 7:38:15 AM
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13160 posts since 9/23/2009

I've always thought Osage orange would at least make a beautiful instrument...but have no idea about resonance and all that...and must not be good for it I guess, since you never see instruments made from it. We used to heat with any kind of wood we could get...and we always called O. orange the firecracker...lol...you gotta watch when you open up that stove because the crackles and sparks just jump out everywhere. It does heat a house very well though.

I've wondered about dogwood for fingerboards anyhow...we used to make mallets from the wood up at the top of the root of wild dogwood...now that there is some REALLY tough wood. I betcha it would make nice fingerboards in the absence of ebony.  We still have one dogwood mallet that somehow survived our migration up here over 30 years ago...Mike hand carved it and it's been used quite a bit over the decades...I should try to get a photo of it...lol...I guess.


 

Edited by - groundhogpeggy on 01/17/2022 07:49:26

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Jan 17, 2022 - 7:51:22 AM

13160 posts since 9/23/2009

Wow...it's so hard to post a photo here...lol...no wonder I have rarely ever done it...now I need another cup of coffee...lol...too technically involved for me. Anyway, that's one of our few surviving relics of life in the old days, in the old mountains...long gone now and only left with memories of a life once lived very different than this weird life we live now...lol. There's our dogwood mallet that somehow ended up making the trip with us.

Jan 17, 2022 - 7:51:49 AM

13160 posts since 9/23/2009

Wow...it's so hard to post a photo here...lol...no wonder I have rarely ever done it...now I need another cup of coffee...lol...too technically involved for me. Anyway, that's one of our few surviving relics of life in the old days, in the old mountains...long gone now and only left with memories of a life once lived very different than this weird life we live now...lol. There's our dogwood mallet that somehow ended up making the trip with us.

Jan 17, 2022 - 7:58:39 AM
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29 posts since 9/22/2013

I've used quarter-sawn Osage Orange for the fingerboard of a bouzouki. It's a hard wood, but it's porous and the pores should be filled in order to have a smooth surface.

Jan 17, 2022 - 8:07:31 AM

9950 posts since 3/19/2009

quote:
Originally posted by Larry Ayers

I've used quarter-sawn Osage Orange for the fingerboard of a bouzouki. It's a hard wood, but it's porous and the pores should be filled in order to have a smooth surface.


How difficult was the sawing process?

Jan 17, 2022 - 9:01:46 AM

29 posts since 9/22/2013

I had a bandsaw sawmill at the time and a plentiful local supply of Osage Orange corner posts; this was in NE Missouri. The species saws well, if a bit slowly, but planing is problematic. Abrasives work best for such a gnarly and cross-grained wood.

I also used Osage Orange for the backs and sides of a Selmer/Macaferri style guitar. The sides bent well, though the yellow-orange color of the wood tends to become brown with time.

Jan 17, 2022 - 9:06:47 AM
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29 posts since 9/22/2013

In response to groundhog peggy's comments about dogwood:

It's wonderful wood for handles, mallets, etc. I once used some Ozark dogwood for the fingerboard, pegs, and chin-rest of a fiddle. The wood is very wear-resistant and takes a polish well, but tends to look dingy after a few weeks of playing. There are good reasons for using a black wood like ebony!

Jan 17, 2022 - 9:14:26 AM

13160 posts since 9/23/2009

I've seen some homemade fiddles where people used pearwood painted black...you can tell after a short time.

Jan 17, 2022 - 6:17:03 PM
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548 posts since 6/11/2019

It's called Bodark here, corruption of French "Bois d'Arc." From the olden times.

Yes, makes better corner posts than locust. I have some set in the ground on my farm that date 100 years. And, yes, you have to drill a pilot hole in it before you hammer a staple.

You can only saw it green, and even then it dulls two chains. Try it after it cures and you'll see sparks a-flying. I don't even think it could catch fire then. Sure can't see using it for an instrument.

Jan 17, 2022 - 8:02:17 PM

13160 posts since 9/23/2009

We used to burn it all the time...burns pretty hot. One wood that absolutely will not burn is elm...are there any elms left or have they all been killed off by invasive bugs too, like so many other trees? I haven't seen any elms for a long time...there's hackberries all around, which are a type of elm, but just plain ol' elm...I don't know. Anyhow...we had to cut a big elm up back a long time ago, in my other life...lol...that I just remember because none of it exists at all anymore...but anyhow we had to cut this huge elm down...cut it into firewood, split, stacked, seasoned a little...just because we would use any wood we came across to get through the winter...and that stuff absolutely will NOT burn...I always said they should build houses from elm to keep them from ever catching fire. But there was a big train derailment up a Woffard, so everybody ran up there and loaded up as many chunks of coal as we could get into our truck beds...since our woods stove didn't have a coal grate, we split the elm logs up smaller, built a little "grate" from them and put the coal on that...lol...to keep from burning out our stove. Yeah, the elm worked great as a coal grate...but you try to heat up the place with it and you'll freeze to death. But the Osage orange burned nice and warm...we liked it when whenever we got that...it's beautiful wood too. And you get a free fireworks show...lol.

Jan 17, 2022 - 8:04:08 PM

13160 posts since 9/23/2009

We had some trouble keeping the dog out of our coal pile though...she ate it any chance she could get...didn't eat the firewood, but ate the coal.

Jan 24, 2022 - 8:03:37 PM
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79 posts since 11/19/2019

I use a ton of Osage Orange/Bois D’arc in one of my other hobbies - duck and goose call making. If finished properly, it will keep its bright yellow color for much longer.

The most prized bois darc is the bottom 2 feet of a fence post that was in or near a ditch, or a dead tree that was in a riverbed for 50+ years. The chemical content of the water changes the color of the wood from bright yellow to a deep emerald green. This highlights the iridescence or chatoyance of the wood- it really is gorgeous stuff.




Edited by - ChinnRest on 01/24/2022 20:12:47

Feb 4, 2022 - 1:34:42 PM

9950 posts since 3/19/2009

By the way, my first batch of Osage Orange seeds has started to germinate..
If any of you would like some SEEDS, just drop me a personal message with your address and I'll send you some. I plan on pulling the seeds from the fruit soon. If you research the trees you will find that although not the most picturesque (beauty IS in the eye of the beholder) the are amazing in several ways.. Let me know.

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