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Osage Orange wall hanging

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  • Osage Orange wall hanging

    Another one from the backlog . . .

    I was at a friend's place a few years back, hoping to harvest a dead cedar tree for a larger project. That tree turned out to be hollow, which was kind of a drag, but the trip wasn't without some benefits. Todd told me that there was a tree on the property (he has about 250 acres) with some dead limbs that were so hard he couldn't cut them with the loppers. He was hoping I could identify it for him.

    He was right: a small limb about 1" in diameter was so hard that those long-handled shears hardly made a dent in it. I'd never seen an Osage Orange tree in the wild, and there were none of the tell-tale fruits on the limbs, so I didn't know what it was. He took his chainsaw to a dead limb that was 3" or 4" in diameter. When the branch fell and I saw the color of the wood, I knew immediately what it was. He gave me the branch and I told him I'd give him a bird carved from it, in payment.

    This piece is from the end of the branch. I didn't do much to it other than remove the bark and some sapwood. I wish I'd taken a picture of it before I started working.

    I also flattened the back and the top (in the second picture). This piece will be a wall hanging. The top is wide and deep enough that I can put a small carving or perhaps a small candle up there. Not sure whether we'll keep this one.

    I love that Osage Orange. Beautiful stuff. No trouble working with it: the Foredom power carver is a wonderful tool.

    Finish will be several coats of mineral oil, ending with a coat of natural wax.

    Jim

    osage1.jpgosage2.jpgosage3.jpg

  • #2
    Thanks for adding to our knowledge of various wood species. It is very important to our training as woodcarvers.

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    • #3
      Jim, your eye for picking out the nicely flowing wood is great, another find piece, here in Nevada were luck to have sagebrush
      . . .JoeB

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      • #4
        Beautiful piece, Jim and it seems to be an animal with its mouth open and an eye...at least in my mind. Never saw or worked with osage orange but have heard about it.

        When I used to do regular woodworking and came across some nice found wood, I'd finish it up and then mount a clock, barometer, humidity gauge fit-ups in it.

        You're really doing great work with found wood.
        Bill
        Living among knives and fire.

        http://www.westernwoodartist.com

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        • #5
          Gorgeous piece there.

          Osage orange is harder than a rock. I've got a bunch of them on my place, and it will dull a chainsaw quick (same with locust).

          But man . . . it's beautiful wood. I've known of quite a few people who insist it's the only wood that will make a decent long bow.
          My Musical Instrument Website: http://www.ronmarr.com

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Rontana View Post
            Gorgeous piece there.

            Osage orange is harder than a rock. I've got a bunch of them on my place, and it will dull a chainsaw quick (same with locust).

            But man . . . it's beautiful wood. I've known of quite a few people who insist it's the only wood that will make a decent long bow.
            One of the alternate names for osage orange is "bowdark", which is a corruption of the french phrase "bois d'arc", which more or less means "wood for bows". The strong longitudinal fibers in the wood give it a very high Young's modulus, or modulus of elasticity, which you can consider to be a measure of the strength of the spring-back when pulled out of shape. Hence good material for bows. The name originates with French trappers and traders who observed that Native Americans preferred this wood for their bows.

            I have whittled on osage orange a bit. As mentioned, it is very hard. And the fibers make it very stringy. You never want to try to break off an "almost freed up" chip. The wood ages to a golden brown even though it is bright yellow-orange when freshly cut. Also, the grain tends to reverse direction!

            Here is a link to my website page featuring an osage orange doodad. http://honketyhank.com/2017/02/21/os...e-three-balls/
            HonketyHank toot toot

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            • #7
              Nice looking wall piece.

              Claude
              My FaceBook Page: https://www.facebook.com/ClaudesWoodCarving/

              My Pinterest Page: https://www.pinterest.com/cfreaner/

              My ETSY Shop: https://www.etsy.com/shop/ClaudesWoodcarving

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              • #8
                Originally posted by pallin View Post
                Thanks for adding to our knowledge of various wood species. It is very important to our training as woodcarvers.
                My pleasure.

                Jim

                Comment


                • #9
                  JoeB - Thanks. I've always been fascinated by the shapes of found wood. It's just in the past few years I've learned that I can peel away the outside to reveal the hidden beauty.

                  Bill - Thank you. I noticed the eye, too. In fact, there are two of them. The other is in the upper-right, which you can't see very well in this picture. I'll take a better pic once the piece dries out a bit. I've considered adding clocks or other instruments to some of my finds, but haven't tried yet. But then, up to now I've mostly collected, started, and then put them aside. Maybe now that I'm actually finishing some of these pieces, I'll give it some more thought.

                  Claude - Thanks. Still debating whether I should keep it, sell it, or give it away.

                  Rontana - Thank you. You're right, Osage orange is devilishly hard. But the beauty makes working it worthwhile.

                  honketyhank - I saw your doodads page the other day. Fantastic work. You're much more patient than I am. I've done a few whimseys in basswood, and a "box in crate" (square block in a square cage) in Mahogany. But nothing like what you're doing. And, yeah, what you say about Osage orange is all true. It's also terribly brittle. Thin pieces will snap right off.

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