Free wood is any woodworker’s candy. But finding one of nature’s gem AND realizing it is free is incomparable. Last summer, the city started doing some major repair work to a park behind my home. The employees felled a number of trees that had grown dangerous, and as I walked by one of them on one of my daily walks with the dog, I was surprised to find the color it contained. Its core was literally blood red with dark lines, along with pale sapwood.
I immediately recognized it as boxelder. However, few boxelder trees develop the rich color I found then. Boxelder is not very well known in the woodworking world. It is soft, and never of the same color. It is therefore eliminated from the list of potential furniture woods. When it burns, it stinks. Hence, it has a nasty reputation almost everywhere, and almost no lumber company cares to keep it in stock.
On the other hand, this wood is even-grained and sands perfectly. It cuts and turns like butter, and on top of all things, special pieces have an incredible variety of colors in them. I shall use the pieces you see here for turning and jewelry. I just cannot wait to cut into them, as each cut reveals new marvels of beauty!