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Considering the hardness of the wood, save some of the thorns. Put them in a frame, and when someone asks what they are from, you can recount the tale of the mighty struggle it put up when you tried to take it down. :)
 

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Some of the wood you get over there is new to me or called by a diffrent name but always wonder what it carves like must see if i can get a translation or the latin names for them .I must have seen them but a good carving wood with anice grain is brilliant, still think lime carves the best but lacks character
This is:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maclura_pomifera

definitely NOT a carving wood, but great for handles, shapes, inlays, etc.

It has the highest BTU of any american hardwood which should tell you it's hardness as well :) I do have a chunk of basswood(lime) curing too from a felled tree of a neighbor and are a great wood for carving.
Not likely to find any osage orange in Britain, outside of botanical gardens. Its original range was in a portion of Oklahoma and Texas. Early on, it was used over much of the Eastern US for farm hedges, much like hawthorn in England. Now, it is often considered a nuisance. Very difficult to get rid of once established, and a lot of people don't like the large, inedible fruits they drop, which have a strong odor. Aside from fence posts, the wood was also used for axe and hammer handles. My sculptor's mallet is osage orange.

The first wood carving I ever did was out of osage orange. A friend who knew I had enrolled in a sculpture class mentioned that her grandparents has just had a tree cut down, and that there were some logs w. brilliant yellow wood. I took several chunks. I showed one to my professor, w. the sketch of the carving I had in mind for it. He seemed a little puzzled, and asked why I had chosen that particular piece of wood. (He kept a supply of walnut, cherry and maple on hand for his students.) I said I loved the color, and he said go ahead. When it came to mid-term reviews, I had to apologize for not finishing the carving. I swore that I was spending a minimum of an hour a day on it, often 2, but wasn't getting anywhere. The prof. had a sense of humor, and chuckled. "Well, you know, that's the wood your mallet is made out of."

So, having "cut my teeth" on osage, I think its fine for carving. Pretty much anything I've come across seems easy by comparison.
 
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