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  • what is yew

    I see my English carving brothers doing things in yew, what is that and what would be close in America? willow? and I thought yew was more of a bush than a tree?

  • #2
    Re: what is yew

    From Google Yew is a common name given to various species of trees. The name is most prominently given to any of various coniferous trees and shrubs in the genus Taxus:.
    ‎Taxus baccata - ‎Yew (disambiguation) - ‎Taxus canadensis - ‎Taxus brevifolia


    I've always wonder in the back of my mind what type wood Yew was , now we know . . .JoeB
    . . .JoeB

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    • #3
      Re: what is yew

      The English yew bow (arguably) helped make your country a world powerhouse. Have never handled a piece and have no good comparison.
      Buffalo Bif
      www.bflobif.com

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      • #4
        Re: what is yew

        Over in the US the most common form of Yew is found as a foundation planting around peoples homes and is kept as a shrub trimmed to 3 or 4 feet. It is usually referred to as Taxus by those of us who were in the landscape business, but if left to it's own devices it wants to be a large upright tree.

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        • #5
          Re: what is yew

          I used to make my hunting longbows out of yew wood, the wood is strong and has excellent bending strength. This wood and it's easy shaping abilities is what introduced
          me to carving. Although I only carved decorative bow handle and tips with this wood
          which can be sanded smoothly, I never carved anything else with this wood.
          Oscar

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          • #6
            Re: what is yew

            Seems like I read somewhere (probably here) that Yew is poisonous and certain precautions should be taken. Wish I had some. Known for its combination of strength and flexibility. Mark

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            • #7
              Re: what is yew

              Yew wood is often preferred by Pacific NW native carvers for the handles of user-made elbow adzes and crooked knives as mentioned in this previous thread:

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              • #8
                Re: what is yew

                The Pacific Yew is fairly common from Northern California to Alaska and in Northern Idaho. It was considered "junk wood" by logging companies and routinely burned until it was found to be a source for Taxol, a pharmaceutical used for cancer treatment.

                The Pacific Yew story may have been the inspiration behind Dr. Seuss' book The Lorax, about the wanton destruction of Truffula trees.

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                • #9
                  Re: what is yew

                  Here's a link to a native yew. About Florida Torreya, Torreya taxifolial
                  Hazel Strickland
                  AKA Dixie Whittler

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                  • #10
                    Re: what is yew

                    Originally posted by PriddyBoy View Post
                    Seems like I read somewhere (probably here) that Yew is poisonous
                    The flip side of that coin is that the bark is used to make cancer medicines.

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                    • #11
                      Re: what is yew

                      "What is yew"? I iz what I iz!
                      "Lif iz lik a box "o" choc lets, ya nevr kno whut yull git!"

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                      • #12
                        Re: what is yew

                        Here in UK Yew is often found in churchyards or cemetarys. thousands of yews were cut down in the past to produce longbows but were not cut in churchyards . its quite unusual to find it growing wild anywhere, its still prized for making longbows..........mack

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                        • #13
                          Re: what is yew

                          In British Columbia, Pacific Yew trees get quite large at times.

                          I know where there is one that is more than 2 ft in diameter, maybe 3

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                          • #14
                            Re: what is yew

                            RW: the ones we are likely to see are Taxus brevifolia
                            In theory, it lives in the wet belts. So it might make it up to my place on the western slope
                            of the Rockies. Can't say as I've seen it here at 53N.
                            I recall all the fuss and bother about the "taxol" derivative for cancer chemotherapy, back in the 1990's, but where that went, I never followed the track.

                            I read that for mechanical properties, one of the hardest conifers there is.
                            At the same time, an unusual modulus of elasticity which points to the English use of
                            Taxus baccata for long bows.
                            Brian T

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                            • #15
                              Re: what is yew

                              Originally posted by Hi_Ho_Sliver View Post
                              "What is yew"? I iz what I iz!
                              Dang it, Hi Ho, I resisted the urge to post that since Rick's first post! But I was going to quote Popeye, "I yam what I yam!"
                              Arthur

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