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Hello to you in No. Dakota. Was in the middle of making a welcome post yesterday, but an emergency cropped up.

At any rate, I've been somewhat surprised by the variety of woods you have in your area. While I've not travelled thru No. Dakota, I did pass thru So. Dakota. My recollection was of endless grassy horizons, with outcrops in the distance having some pine on them. Trees every now and then, mostly around dwellings.

I see that you have box elder. That's quite common where I live. Very quick growing, and hard to kill. There's one down the block from me that has been ripped apart by storms at least once a decade, and comes back from the stump. Not long ago I came across a site selling various wood trunk cross sections for table tops. They had a number of box elder sections. They had erratic shapes, evidently from repeated storm damage. There was some good looking red colored grain mixed in w. the overall white hued wood.

My only encounter w. box elder was cutting one up that fell in my back yard. I just used a bow saw, and was easily able to reduce the tree to small sections. My recollection was that the green wood was rather mushy. Yesterday I looked up the wood hardness rating, and found that while it is a maple, it is a good bit softer than other maples. I see that it is a bit harder than sassafras, which I have used. Sassafras has a rather coarse grain, but it surprisingly rigid for its weight. My recollection of box elder grain is that it was finer. I suspect it would be good for carving, but am unsure if it would be suitable for a sturdy stick.
 
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