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Thread: Pecan Wood for turning

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Marion texas

    Unhappy Pecan Wood for turning

    can anyone tell me what pecan is like for turning, I have never had the chance of getting any and today a guy I know told me he had a couple of largish logs if I wanted them, obviously I said yes..........but didn't expect what he dropped off at the house pic enclosed, QUITE A SHOCK!!!, one is 14ft the other is 16ft, it has about 150/ 170 growth rings, if there are any local turners your welcome to some, please,please,please , but bring a big chain saw
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    Last edited by Peter Hawkins; 10-08-2007 at 08:16 PM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Oshkosh, WI


    YEOWZA!! Peter. It looks like you hit the mother lode in Pecan. I've never turned it but I've heard that it turns well.

  3. #3


    Holly Cow!!!!!! That was one huge pecan tree!!!!!! A few bowls in that one.

    I got a couple of chunks many years ago of a pecan tree that was about 1/4 the diameter of the two chunks that you have. Nice wood. Turns well when wet. Gets hard, hard, hard when it dries. Nice open grain wood. Good luck.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    South Florida


    I guess you're not going to be rolling those around the yard. Too bad you didn't have some railroad ties or small logs they could have been set on. Wood left on the ground starts to rot pretty quickly where it touches the ground in my area. I seem to recall seeing pictures of spalted pecan that looked very nice. Something tells me at least some of that pecan will have a chance to spalt before you get to it.

    Have fun!!


  5. #5


    Peter, where'd you get that itty bitty chair?

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Elkins, Arkansas

    Default Turning pecan

    When you're turning green pecan it pays to have a spray bottle of water handy. It wants to crack unless you keep it wet, then put a coat of wax on it once it's rough turned. Then once it's dry, prepare to turn some very hard wood, it's a member of the hickory family. Great logs, should make some good big bowls.
    Greg Thomas

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Wimberley, Texas


    You beat me to it. I was gonna say something about a dollhouse chair. Ditto what they said about turning it. Can have some really nice spalting if you catch it at the right time.
    Richard in Wimberley

  8. #8

    Default Looks very familiar

    Several years back a friend had a pecan that size blow down and offered me the branch wood - some over 2' in diameter. A sawyer turned the trunk into over 700 board feet of 5/4" lumber. I turned well over a dozen bowls, one about 24" by 10", and still have a few blanks left. Photos of two are on our website at (both have sold).

    Pecan is a hickory for certain, and has that families characteristics. It will tear a bit easily since the 'tubes' seem not to be bonded together tightly, but it's also very strong. The branch wood has more color variations than the trunk does, but I'm certain you could combine heart and sapwood if you wanted. Someone told me that it didn't last long on the ground, but I didn't have that experience.

    I'd find some way to halve those logs as soon as possible. I picked up a used Stihl with a 25" bar off eBay a long time back, and that would be the minimum you'd need from what these look like. Maybe the guy that gave them to you has one that size (looks like they cut it down with a big one!). Good luck!
    Walt Bennett

  9. #9

    Default Ya gotta love Pecan-crete!!!

    Hello Peter,

    I turn large amounts of Pecan-crete every year... It's one of my favorite local timbers. It turns very well, with little to no problems when turned green. As others have mentioned, it gets *really* hard when it's dry. That's why I was one of the first to coin the phrase "Pecan-crete" many years ago. It reminds me of turning Pecan colored concrete when it's dry.

    Having said that, it's a magnificent timber to work with... It spalts beautifully and the larger specimens (like yours) have very beautiful colors in the heartwood. They range from a light caramel color to a deep brown dark chocolate color, running through the heartwood in ribbon swirls.

    I use Pecan as one of my primary production timbers for making salad bowls. The full heartwood bowls sell best, but the mixed heartwood/sapwood bowls sell very good as well. I like to work Pecan in the 3' - 6' diameter whenever possible, as the color is better than the younger specimens.

    You have a sweet haul there Pete, congrats! Save some of your Pecan-crete and spalt it, you'll love the look... The zone line definition in Pecan is amazing, with very well defined, jet-black lines that frequently feature contrasting sub-colored areas within the zoning. Sweet!

    Good luck with your Pecan-crete. You've got a job ahead of you to get both of those logs bucked and roughed out, but that's part of the fun of being a woodturner. BTW, the shavings and off-cuts make good fodder for your B-B-Q, so keep a stash around to satisfy your grill's appetite for a good smoking wood. Pecan creates a sweet smoke in meat, with much less intensity than Oak or Mesquite. It's close to Apple in intensity, but stronger. Take care and all the best to you and yours!
    Better Woodturning and Finishing Through Chemistry...

    Steven Russell
    Eurowood Werks Studio
    Woodturning Videos Plus
    Lone Star Woodturners Association, Inc,
    DVD Instructional Videos and e-Books for Woodturners

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2004
    billerica, ma


    Hey Peter,

    I STRONGLY recommend you look up and contact the nearest turning club/clubs to you. You'll find a few big saws and alot of folks ready and willing to bring you a variety of woods in exchange for some of that pecan.

    Wood that size and quality isn't hugely common and those two trunks are likely more than you can handle by yourself. Help with milling it down and a good supply of green or dry bowl blanks are easy prices to ask for access to the wood.


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