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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Yesterday afternoon my wife and I went "stick shopping" - with our first stop the local cemetery. I have approval to pick up any/all fallen branches from the many trees there. That stop was somewhat successful but then I traveled further turning at the 2 lane black-top road and within a mile came upon a large pile of fallen and piled up tree trunks/branches/limbs that appear to be waiting for a) the chopper-upper b) a burn permit c) Mother Nature to rot everything away. I had my heavy duty limb cutter along but not my saw, which I immediately regretted...for there were some very unusual branches. I brought several home and need some input. We live approx 1 hour south of Chicago...if that helps and I know Osage Orange trees are native to this area, so that helps.

Please check the twists and turns on that first photo and then the X Y and Z sticks in the multi-stick photo. These branches/sticks are almost bare - no bark - it had all rotted away - so there's no other identifying features avail to me.

Ideas/suggestions/confirmations? :cool:

thank you

-neb
 

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I don't think they are osage orange. Osage branches have thorns, and I don't think those would have rotted away. Also, it is a very rot resistant wood, much more than average. Best test would be to cut the end off. Fresh osage heart wood is bright yellow, gradually turns rust colored, then almost maroon, but that takes decades.

What they might be, I couldn't say. Nothing I see often has twists quite like that.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I've cut one to length and my plans are to bring it inside for some "recliner sanding" this evening . . . figuring that will tell me whether to keep them or put them at the curb for the landfill Wed a.m.

Stay tuned

-neb
 

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did indeed cut the ends off with my miter-saw and some sanding last evening.

Let's suppose this tree has been down, laying on the ground for 5-20 years (?????) - I have no way of knowning nor finding out. THEN what color would the branch/limb be?

I can assure you that even though all the bark has rotted away - nor fallen leaves anywhere around (DUH!) - this piece is as SOLID as a ROCK...yet very light, might weigh 3-4 oz (a guess on my part) - I "want" to say it's Osage Orange but am ready to listen to reasonable other votes.

(Revised - my neighbor - retired farmer - says nope - it's not Osage Orange, but has zero clues as to what they might be.
SAD day!)

:cool:
 

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Got a measurement on the thickness and the length? There is lots of info on the average weight of dried wood by the cubic foot. Might be able to do some forensic investigation, particularly if you can get an accurate weight. But from the cross section pic, I'd have to agree w. your neighbor. See here.
 

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Old Osage Orange (we used to call them Bois D'arc) fence posts are gray like that. While building fence, you would bend many a steeple trying to hammer it in.

If you can just barely hammer in a nail or a steeple, it may be Osage Orange.

We liked it because it lasted far longer than even cedar posts, even though it might look cracked and worn out, those posts seemed to last forever.
 

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Osage orange is not a light wood, its heavier than oak. Cut a little into one of the branches and check its colour. Ive harvested a log 6 to 7 foot long, arrow straight, dead for 25 to 30 years log that when i cut into it, it was highlighter yellow in sunlight 1/8 inch in. The sapwood had long rotted away along with the thorns attacked to it. I have also cut into a VERY old piece that i had to use a metal hacksaw to make any real headway that i used for a knife handle, it was more burnt orange throughout the interior and was part of a fence post likely 80 to 120 years old when this area was peanut farms and cattle ranches. For hardness it averages roughly double the janka hardness of oak as well.

An easy test for me is to dent it with a fingernail. Light to moderate presure you get no effect, heavy you more polish it than anything else, VERY heavy presure(as in all your might) you might just dent the wood slightly. For comparison i can dent oak roughly the same amount with moderate to heavy pressure.
 

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I think I mentioned elsewhere a long time ago, that I was able to buy some Bois d'Arc (Osage Orange) from a guy who supplies it to bow makers. He kiln dries it. The good staves sell for over $100. I requested some rejects, and paid far, far less. They're still kiln dried, still orange, and they will take a LOT of work because the knots are so hard and the coarse texture makes the draw knife work less predictable than with finer textured wood.
 
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