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    • CommentAuthorlv2wdwrk
    • CommentTimeMay 21st 2009
     
    Nick,

    Can you give any information on catalpa wood? My wood supplier has
    gotten some in on consignment and we are not sure what it is good for.

    Thanks in advance.


    Bob
    • CommentAuthorBeeg
    • CommentTimeMay 21st 2009
     
    •  
      CommentAuthorNick
    • CommentTimeMay 21st 2009 edited
     
    The Forest Products Laboratory in Madison, WI offers this information:

    ___________________________________________________________________
    Catalpa

    The genus Catalpa is composed of 11 species native to North America [2], West Indies [5], and temperate Asia (China to Tibet) [4]. The name catalpa is the Native American (Cherokee) name for this tree.
    Catalpa bignonioides*-beantree, beau-tree, candle-tree, catawba, catawba-tree, cigartree, common catalpa, Indian bean, Indian cigartree, southern catalpa
    Catalpa longissima*-(Jamaica and Haiti) French oak, Haitian oak, Jamaica oak, mastwood, yokewood
    Catalpa speciosa*-candle-tree, catawba, cigartree, hardy catalpa, Indian bean, Indian cigartree, northern catalpa, shawnee-wood, western catalpa, western catawba
    *commercial species

    The following description is for the North American species.

    Distribution
    Catalpa is native to the central eastern United States, but is naturalized throughout the United States and Canada.

    The Tree
    Catalpa trees are often planted as street trees and for shade in yards, but most often for their showy flowers. The tree has opposite, simple, entire leaves. The flowers are bisexual and formed in branched clusters. The fruits are large bean-like structures, resembling cigars. Catalpa trees can reach 100 ft (30 m) in height and 3 ft (1 m) in diameter. The bark is thick, with reddish-brown scales.

    The Wood

    General
    The wood is similar for both North American species. The sapwood is narrow and gray, while the heartwood is a grayish brown, tinged with lavender. The wood has a faint aromatic odor and no characteristic taste. It is ring porous, straight grained, light and soft. It can be confused with ash.

    Mechanical Properties
    Specific gravity: Green .38, Dry .42
    MOE: 1.21
    MOR: 9.4
    Compression Parallel: 2.74
    Compression Perpendiculr: .57
    WML: 9.6
    Hardness: 550
    Shear: 1.13

    Drying and Shrinkage
    Tangential: 4.6
    Radial: 2.5
    Volumetric: 7.3

    Working Properties: Catalpa works very well with hand and machine tools, although it requires care to sand well.

    Durability: Very resistant to heartwood decay when the wood is in contact with the soil.

    Preservation: No information available at this time.

    Uses: Fence posts and rails, general construction, interior finish, handles, picture frames, cabinetry and fuel wood.

    Toxicity: No information available at this time.
    ____________________________________________________________________

    What I have to add to that is that Catalpa is also a excellent wood for carving, it is a potential irritant – users report irritation of sinuses and inside of mouth – and it can be hard to come by. More information here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Catalpa . Photo of a Catalpa Telecaster (copy) below.

    With all good wishes,
    Nick
      catalpa guitar.jpg
  1.  
    What a great looking guitar! Alec
    •  
      CommentAuthorNick
    • CommentTimeMay 22nd 2009
     
    I agree, Alec -- but Drew's making an electric guitar in quartersawn curly white oak that will just knock you socks off. Maybe this will get him to hurry it along.

    With all good wishes,
    Nick
    • CommentAuthorlv2wdwrk
    • CommentTimeMay 23rd 2009
     
    Thanks to all who responded.
    •  
      CommentAuthorDrew
    • CommentTimeJun 1st 2009
     
    I workin' on it!

    :) I will post some photos of it here... when i get a little further down the line.
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