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"Juniper" wood -- uses?

forestgirl's picture

We had to cut down a tree last weekend -- looks like bark beetles got it.  I think it's some type of juniper.  Real stickery needles, purple-ish heartwood.  Any uses for this in woodworking -- turning, carving? 

forestgirl -- you can take the girl out of the forest, but you can't take the forest out of the girl   ;-)

forestgirl -- you can take the girl out of the forest, but you can't take the forest out of the girl ;-) 

velzy1's picture

(post #81762, reply #1 of 30)

I've used it for building boats( rowing,canoes,kayaks, and small powerboats) fairly strong for its' weight. it works pretty easily with hand tools but is quite soft. don't know about turnings.


pat

StanleyNiemiec's picture

(post #81762, reply #2 of 30)

If it is Western juniper (Juniperous occidentalis - I think) then it is a very close cousin to Eastern red cedar  --  so much so that it is impossible to dinstinguish between the two based on hand lens identification.  Uses are therein similar, though Western juniper is difficult to dry without checking and cracks developing.

DaveHeinlein's picture

(post #81762, reply #3 of 30)

I have always been under the impression that Juniper *is* Eastern 'Red Cedar'. I would be surprised to find out differently, though.

DaveHeinlein's picture

(post #81762, reply #4 of 30)

If it's Juniper from the East, then around here it's comonly known as 'aromatic' Cedar. It sometimes gets quite large if it's in a yard, but more than 18-24" in the wild is rare. The wood is soft and brittle, and usually there are a lot of small to medium sized knots which are so hard you'll think a bit was coming off your saw. The sap wood rots off pretty quickly, but the heart stays for quite a long while. Uses are trellises, fence boards, planters, drawer and linen box interiors, and probably a lot more uses.

fredsmart48's picture

(post #81762, reply #5 of 30)


Juniper == common name for a genus of plants, comprising about 50 species of evergreen shrubs and trees native to the northern hemisphere. Junipers, which are conifers in the cypress family, produce their seeds in red or purple berrylike fruits. These are actually cones, similar in structure to pine cones. The leaves are usually needlelike on young plants and scalelike on older plants. About 15 species occur in North America.


Eastern red cedar, actually a juniper, is the most widely distributed conifer in the eastern United States. Its wood contains an oil that deters moths and is often used to line chests. The wood has also been used for making wooden pencils. Rocky mountain juniper is a closely related western species, although its multibranched stems make its wood less valuable. The common juniper is the only species that occurs in both North America and Eurasia. Unlike most junipers, it produces only needlelike leaves. This usually bushy species grows on poor soils and is of little economic importance. Many junipers—

both North American and Asian species— are grown

forestgirl's picture

(post #81762, reply #8 of 30)

Check this site out:  http://members.tripod.com/ben-irvin/will_kats_original_juniper_wood_.htm


Wonder where his juniper falls in the range of things.


PS:  Try "Size 2" in your posts.  The teeny stuff is pretty hard to read!  At least for moi, LOL.


forestgirl -- you can take the girl out of the forest, but you can't take the forest out of the girl   ;-)

forestgirl -- you can take the girl out of the forest, but you can't take the forest out of the girl ;-) 

DaveHeinlein's picture

(post #81762, reply #9 of 30)

I've also been told that Juniper was used to flavor everybodies favorite booze, Gin. Don't know if it's true, though.

bobhallsr's picture

(post #81762, reply #11 of 30)

<Juniper was used to flavor everybodies favorite booze,>

Nope. They don't put it in bourbon.

BJ

Gardening, cooking and woodworking in Southern Maryland

Gardening, cooking and woodworking in Southern Maryland
Dennis02's picture

(post #81762, reply #12 of 30)

<Juniper was used to flavor everybodies favorite booze,>

>Nope. They don't put it in bourbon. <

It's the berries, Juniper berries. Could be mistaken but I believe it's gin.




...........

Dennis in Bellevue WA

woodnut@anatechsys.com

........... From Beautiful Skagit Co. Wa. Dennis
Woodcrazy's picture

(post #81762, reply #13 of 30)

You right about the berries in the Gin,  there are other "botanicals" added for additional flavour, DAMHIKT, I'm a single malt scotch type.

bobhallsr's picture

(post #81762, reply #14 of 30)

Of course you are all right about the juniper berries. I was just playing with the implication that every bodies favorite booze was gin.

There's lots of different junipers and I've never figured out which was the best ones. I've tried several different oils of juniper berries along with lab alchol and I didn't get close. Awful stuff, in fact.

"Hic"

BJ


Gardening, cooking and woodworking in Southern Maryland

Gardening, cooking and woodworking in Southern Maryland
jonsherryl's picture

(post #81762, reply #15 of 30)

Bee Jay, you've got to put a little lemon peel in it along with the juniper berries...and then cut it with enough distilled water to bring it down to just a tad under 100 proof.


...And Bee Jay, you want to mix it up first thing, so it's had a chance to steep a little before the end of Chem Lab...At least that's the way we used to do it at Michigan.

Woodcrazy's picture

(post #81762, reply #17 of 30)

Found this about Plymouth Gin:


Plymouth Gin recipe requires a delicate even balance of the seven botanicals, juniper, cardamom, orange peel, lemon peel, orris root, angelica and coriander.

Dennis02's picture

(post #81762, reply #16 of 30)

> .... DAMHIKT

Are you sure that's not gaelic for a naughty word? (hehe)




...........

Dennis in Bellevue WA

woodnut@anatechsys.com

........... From Beautiful Skagit Co. Wa. Dennis
Dennis02's picture

(post #81762, reply #6 of 30)

From what I've read, not from experience, the conifers being quite resinous are not first rate turning woods. Otherwise, I'd have my ferry ticket in hand (grin)




...........

Dennis in Bellevue WA

woodnut@anatechsys.com

........... From Beautiful Skagit Co. Wa. Dennis
bobhallsr's picture

(post #81762, reply #7 of 30)

It is sometimes turned into recorders (musical instruments). The unfinished areas have a very fine surface.

BJ

Gardening, cooking and woodworking in Southern Maryland

Gardening, cooking and woodworking in Southern Maryland
forestgirl's picture

(post #81762, reply #18 of 30)

Had to run over to DSC this afternoon, and some of those folks turn, so I asked about the Juniper.  They claim it turns well, but is prone to lots of movement.  Suggested doing the rough turning green, then letting it sit for a year (!) before making the final piece.  Since I don't turn, I've no idea. 


I'm giving a piece to a friend who carves, he can mess around with it a bit and tell me what he thinks.  I might save a little bit just for possible fun down the road.


forestgirl -- you can take the girl out of the forest, but you can't take the forest out of the girl   ;-)

forestgirl -- you can take the girl out of the forest, but you can't take the forest out of the girl ;-) 

awilson65's picture

(post #81762, reply #19 of 30)

Depends where you are...in eastern Canada, juniper would most likely be larch (tamarack, hackamatack, and a bunch of other names).....as against the other juniper we ALSO have. larch is used a lot in these parts for anything outside, including boats, and more and more now, flooring.

I don't think you are in Eastern Canada, but there you go.

cabinetmaker/college instructor. Cape Breton, N.S

cabinetmaker/college woodworking instructor. Cape Breton, N.S

Dennis02's picture

(post #81762, reply #21 of 30)

Hi Adrian -

I don't have any specific first hand knowledge about the qualities of many wood species being a more than relative newbie. I just offered what I've read about evergreens and their suitability for turning.

That said, I happened upon a short log of Monkey Puzzel tree some time ago and turned a pretty nice vase shaped vessel from a portion of it. It was turned green, and actually down through the end grain with the pith not too far from the center of the bottom. It did crack along one side but, surprisingly, not at the bottom. The edge was turned quite thin, you could see the shadow of your hand behind it in front of a strong light. Not even the rim cracked.

So, there you have it for the kind of things you read these days.

OK, Jamie, I'll take all the wood you want to get rid of! (grin)




...........

Dennis in Bellevue WA

woodnut@anatechsys.com

........... From Beautiful Skagit Co. Wa. Dennis
forestgirl's picture

(post #81762, reply #22 of 30)

Hi Dennis.  It's dark out right now, and my memory isn't reliable on what's out there -- I've been focused on the trunk pieces, which are 9-12".  I'll have to look to see what sized branches there are.  I don't think Nick cut up the branches yet.  If there are some good ones, how long do you want 'em?


I'm going to experiment with some of it, probably burn some of it, and give a chunk or two to my friend Ron if he wants 'em.  Some day, maybe I can put up a web page showing what everyone made (or didn't) out of it!


forestgirl -- you can take the girl out of the forest, but you can't take the forest out of the girl   ;-)

forestgirl -- you can take the girl out of the forest, but you can't take the forest out of the girl ;-) 

Dennis02's picture

(post #81762, reply #23 of 30)

I'm in the process of perfecting the ultimat bird house, Jamie. Any branches between 4" and 6" in diameter and 8" or so long. Longer OK as I can cut them, of course ... I have a saw (grin)

The design is to simply core out the log end to end, turn tops and bottoms, drill hole for entry door and a little peg (a piece of branch perhaps) for a perch. I've got one in an almost stage of completion but need to find a local source for some nice sheet metal - would love to use copper but that may be a bit spendy for a speculative venture.

I've got one really humongous forestner bit (3 1/2" I intend to chuck in the lathe with the branch in the big scroll chuck to minimize the effort of hogging out the center portion. Tried that once and that approach (with gouge eg ordinary turning) isn't too cost effective. I suspect with the green juniper it should bore out pretty easy taking time to back off the bit pressure frequently to clear chips.

Picture a 6" branch off my plum tree, moss and lichen and all, with a round walnut base 3/4" thick and a conical copper roof suspended from a stout rod or mounted on a pipe perch. That's where I'm going with this.

Hey - they laughed at pet rocks, too!




...........

Dennis in Bellevue WA

woodnut@anatechsys.com

........... From Beautiful Skagit Co. Wa. Dennis
forestgirl's picture

(post #81762, reply #24 of 30)

Sounds great Dennis.  I'm all for helping out our feathered friends -- must have 100 or so currently stopping by every day for chow!


One note on your plan -- perches are passe, so to speak.  They actually invite predators and non-desirable species, most notably starlings, where they're not wanted.  Chickadees, nuthatches, juncos, pine siskins and the various sparrows won't need a perch to utilize a house.


Will get back to you tomorrow with info on what's available.


forestgirl -- you can take the girl out of the forest, but you can't take the forest out of the girl   ;-)

forestgirl -- you can take the girl out of the forest, but you can't take the forest out of the girl ;-) 

Dennis02's picture

(post #81762, reply #25 of 30)

> ....perches are passe, ....

That's the good news. The hardest part is getting a hole drilled perpendicular to the axis of the entry "door". Come to think of it, the Flicker that keeps insisting it needs lodging in my attic and that wants to turn the gable end of my house into swiss chees doesn't seem to need a perch, either!

Thanks for the bird-house-design criteria info. Guess I should call the Audubon society and see if they have any other design guidelines. (grin)




...........

Dennis in Bellevue WA

woodnut@anatechsys.com

........... From Beautiful Skagit Co. Wa. Dennis
forestgirl's picture

(post #81762, reply #26 of 30)

Hah, Flickers definitely "don't need no stinkin' perch!"  Love 'em.  If you don't have starlings roosting in that area, it's probably thanks to the Flicker.   Just thought of something -- we've got some old split wood around here that's well infested with bugs.  You could take a couple pieces and mount them up there (well-insulated from your house) provide a dinner and a decoy for the flicker, LOL. 


Do you have a resource for all the various measurements for different species nesting boxes?  That's a handy one.


Haven't gotten outside yet this morning, but will soon.


forestgirl -- you can take the girl out of the forest, but you can't take the forest out of the girl   ;-)

forestgirl -- you can take the girl out of the forest, but you can't take the forest out of the girl ;-) 

StanleyNiemiec's picture

(post #81762, reply #28 of 30)

This is a bit off subject but flickers may not be nesting in your gable or even looking for food.  They have a territorial habit of "drumming" to mark their presence.  They will seek and find spots that effectively resonate this action.  It used to be hollow trees but they seem to have found that hollow walls are equally (if not more) effective.


As they are "songbirds", it is illegial to kill them, and stopping this marking of territory, once started, can be extremely difficult, if not impossible.

Dennis02's picture

(post #81762, reply #29 of 30)

> ....flickers may not be nesting in your gable or....

Thanks for the sidebar reply.

No, they don't seem to be looking for lodging. I've crawled up in the attic space and find no evidence of nest building. The pest guy says there are no bugs up there, either. But the Flicker has managed to create two nice flicker-sized holes in the siding none the less.

I've managed to discourage him/her (I suspect it's a him since there was a lot of drumming as you note, especially during mating season in the spring) from frequenting the particular gable area but now he's found another hangout in the front.

Song bird or no .....


...........

Dennis in Bellevue WA

woodnut@anatechsys.com

........... From Beautiful Skagit Co. Wa. Dennis
forestgirl's picture

(post #81762, reply #30 of 30)

Well, Dennis, it ain't lookin' good I'm afraid.  The biggest branch is about 3.5" D, and it has lots and lots of small branches (=knots) in it.  There's another piece that's oval, and 3.5+ in the long part of the oval, but it gets skinnier fairly fast.


Let me know if you want to try any of these.  I can toss 'em in a box and ship 'em.


forestgirl -- you can take the girl out of the forest, but you can't take the forest out of the girl   ;-)

forestgirl -- you can take the girl out of the forest, but you can't take the forest out of the girl ;-) 

awilson65's picture

(post #81762, reply #27 of 30)

Dennis...I'm not clear....did you think I was correcting something you wrote? Cause I wasn't. May be a great wood for turning for all I know.

cabinetmaker/college instructor. Cape Breton, N.S

cabinetmaker/college woodworking instructor. Cape Breton, N.S

Dennis02's picture

(post #81762, reply #20 of 30)

Jamie -

If you have any branches at say, 6" +- in diameter, I'd be interested in them.




...........

Dennis in Bellevue WA

woodnut@anatechsys.com

........... From Beautiful Skagit Co. Wa. Dennis
zvonsomogyi's picture

(post #81762, reply #10 of 30)

  In my neck of the woods, we use juniper for firewood. I was spliting a cord one day when my wife noticed the beautiful purple colour you mentiond. She asked me if I could make something out of it, so I made a pencile box whith a wax finish. I carved it from a solid piece with a router. It has'nt cracked anywhere, not even on the end grain, but the purple quikley turns to a medium-dark brown. It does smell great!