Tulip poplar for turning

Discussion in 'Woodturning Discussion Forum' started by John Torchick, Dec 18, 2014.

  1. John Torchick

    John Torchick

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    A company trimmed trees above the power lines on our street. There are several pieces of wood laying in the front yard- house is unoccupied. Should I lay claim to it in the name of woodturning? Lengths are about three feet long. Thanks.
     
  2. hockenbery

    hockenbery AAW Advisor Staff Member

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    Depends upon what you want to use it for and your expectations.

    Tulip Poplar is always a good wood for classes and practice.
    Some pieces can be spectacular with purple and greens in the heart wood or Water stains from hollow parts of the tree.

    The wood is quite soft. Easily dented with a fingernail.

    If it doesn't meet your expectations it makes great kindling and is one of the easiest woods to split.

    I have used a lot of it in classes because it was so plentiful and easy to work,
    I have made a few hollow forms from the really nice pieces I have come across.

    Al
     
  3. robo hippy

    robo hippy

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    The mineral stains can be beautiful. While soft, if it has the color, it sells well. Softer woods will survive a fall better than harder more brittle woods...

    robo hippy
     
  4. hockenbery

    hockenbery AAW Advisor Staff Member

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    This is a before and after photos of poplar from around 1997-8

    Tree was marked by the forestry service to be culled.

    The HF is about 12-13" diameter. Not a spectacular burl but nice enough.
     

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  5. odie

    odie

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    Tulipwood can be really spectacular, but I believe it's a very rare thing. If I could get a truckload of blocks that yielded this one, that would make my day! This one was done about 10-12 years ago, and I've never seen one that looked as good as this one since......:(

    ko
     

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  6. Bill Boehme

    Bill Boehme Administrator Staff Member

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    A lot of times different trees are called by the same or similar names leading to confusion. Tulip poplar is a very light wood that is sometimes called tulipwood. It isn't a true poplar and it isn't the same thing as the beautiful tropical tulipwood from Brazil that is sold to woodturners which is hard and moderately heavy.
     
  7. Gretch Flo

    Gretch Flo

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    tulip tree

    I got a large hunk from Mich St Univ grounds and turned a large bowl. I hate it. Very bland. Tan and darker tan. Was difficult to finish with my typical shellac sanding sealer (3+ coats) and many more coats of Danish oil than I typically would have to use. have another piece in my nadement that I just trip over trying to make the decision to burn it, :( Gretch
     
  8. Mike Brazeau

    Mike Brazeau

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    Ed Moltroup used Tulip Poplar a lot for the large bowls and vessels he was famous for. Any I have seen were quite beautiful for color variations. Gretch, although I have never tried your technique, I would think you would get a much nicer luster using danish oil directly on the wood rather than sealing before applying. Then buff after a few days and apply some wax and polish.
     
  9. odie

    odie

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    Bill......I don't know if you mean to suggest the wood in the photo in my post may not be tulip poplar......and, to tell the truth, I'm not 100% sure. Many of my bowls, I have to go by the information the seller of the wood block provides......unless I know absolutely that it's something else. I do know that it was sold to me as tulipwood, and my memory of it is that it was very soft. It was done long enough ago that my records of that purchase are very incomplete, and that particular bowl is long gone. I do have a couple other roughed bowls that I bought as tulip poplar, or tulipwood.....I'll check. These two are in process of seasoning right now. The tan/reddish coloring is the same as the bowl I made a decade ago, but not nearly as nice of figuring in these two.......

    I'm headed out to the shop right now, and will grab the camera........will find those and take a pic. Look for me to post it later......

    ko
     
  10. John Torchick

    John Torchick

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    Thanks to all for your replies. I'm going to keep a bit of the wood for myself. Would the remainder of the wood be kosher to take to our club meeting for the wood drawing? Or should I give it to my neighbor for his fireplace?
     
  11. hockenbery

    hockenbery AAW Advisor Staff Member

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    That is a tough question to answer from here.

    If the wood is nice, no cracks, and a usable size take a few pieces for the drawing.

    I suspect poplar is fairly common in your area.

    Here in central Florida it is a rare tree to find and when poplar is in the wood sale a few people in the club will want it because it is a wood they haven't turned.

    A
     
  12. charlie knighton

    charlie knighton

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    poplar is not much sought after for firewood, it burns very fast.......might cut it up for kindling
     
  13. odie

    odie

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    OK Bill, here are the two tulipwood roughed bowls that are seasoning right now. The coloring looks similar to the bowl I did about ten years ago, and the wood is soft. They came out of Georgia, but the tree didn't necessarily come out of Georgia. The description I got was "tulipwood rainbow poplar".

    I did a little checking, and it appears as though the South American "tigerwood" is actually Goncalo Alves. I've done quite a few bowls from this species, but don't recall ever calling it "tigerwood"......obviously some people use that term to describe Goncalo Alves. Goncalo Alves is as you say.....fairly hard and dense.

    ko
     

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    Last edited: Dec 19, 2014
  14. Bill Boehme

    Bill Boehme Administrator Staff Member

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    It's risky business to ID a wood from a photo, but I'll go out on a limb (if you'll excuse the bad pun) and say that the two bowls pictured are definitely not tulipwood, meaning the tropical wood. I think that I still still have a small tulipwood plank that I can photograph. I also made a tool handle from tulipwood.
     
  15. odie

    odie

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    Yeah.....I'm thinking the same.

    "Tigerwood".....how did I get that mixed up? I think it's stage III senility, heh,heh,heh! :D

    Speaking of old age.......my plans changed recently, and I'm officially retired in......12 days!

    My employer will retain me for the indefinite future, but am moving to part-time......max of 24 hours per week.

    I'm planning on checking out of this world doing something meaningful to me......my bowl making! Just hope the end doesn't come for awhile yet, though! :rolleyes:

    ko
     
  16. Gerald Lawrence

    Gerald Lawrence

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    Kelly, I hope you enjoy your retirement as much as I have. More turning and more shop time. Yes in the last 2 years I have worked 2-3 days every 2 weeks. Do some traveling now to as they say that will likely not be as easy later. By the way the green in the second bowl looks like Tupelo Poplar it is just the other color that is confusing. Looks redish and in poplar is usually brownish. This is the Poplar which is used mostly in furniture here and by the way is define as a hardwood.
     
  17. odie

    odie

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    Hey, thanks Gerald.......:)

    Yep, I'm really looking forward to this.....and, it's been part of a "game plan" for years. I've always been a common laborer, and did what I had to do to pay the bills......now, I get to do what I want to do! Hopes and dreams are now materializing........:cool:

    ko
     
  18. Bill Boehme

    Bill Boehme Administrator Staff Member

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    Here is the tool handle which is a very typical example of tulipwood -- the South American tropical wood.

    image.jpg

    This is just an iPad shot, but the color reproduced faithfully.
     
  19. John Torchick

    John Torchick

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    Off topic- best on your retirement, odie. I retired five years ago and love every minute. I get up in the morning and fix the wife's breakfast and tell her good-bye before she goes to work. ;) Then........I get to do what I want.
    I'll save the wood, cut it into smaller pieces and contact a couple of the well-experienced turners in our club and see if they would want it for the wood drawing. I'll also rough turn a piece to see how it turns and what it looks like.
    Agion, thanks to all.
     
  20. odie

    odie

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    Thanks, John......

    I got a little advice the other day, and it was to never go back to bed when you awake in the morning. I've been getting up early for 50 years now, and I probably don't want to change my "body rhythm". I do think I might give myself a break, though.....and change the alarm from 5am to 7am!

    As long as the tulipwood is free for the taking.....might as well get some for your club members. At the very worst, it'll be useful for practice. At best, there might be treasure there! :cool:

    ko
     

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