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Also have not carved any, but have used it to make custom picture frames. Quite stable, cut easily to shape, and was easy to route. Light weight, but fairly rigid. Smoothed easily, and had a nice sheen from just paste wax. I do know it is carved. I have a few pieces waiting in my garage for just that purpose. The grain tends to be long, and I suspect I will have to be careful to not tear strips out as can happen w. conifer woods.

Historical note. The tulip tree, a.k.a. yellow poplar, is the state tree of Indiana, where I live. Its not very common, because it was so desirable for furniture making. I have a partial set of Encyclopedia Britannica from the later 1890's. I read the entry on Indiana, and it mentioned that the state of Indiana had be pretty much logged off by the mid-1860s. British furniture makers had been accustomed to getting shipments of logs 3' thick, and 40' long without any side branches. At the time of the article, 2' thick, and 30' was the best available. It takes stain well, and can be made to look like other woods.
 

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Most tulip available in America has yellowish thru olive colors. Mine is pale tan, but yellower towards the core. I spent some time working w. a smallish piece this afternoon. Its about 3.5" thick, and has been curing for at least 6 years. I was debarking it, and it was much harder to do than when it was fresher. I'll mess with the piece some more tomorrow, but it felt like I might need a mallet and chisels to cut it, rather than just hand tools. Tho' less heavy, it feels like medium hard maple.

I'm unfamiliar with the issue about wood pellets for fuel. I can mention several things that may be relevant.

As I mentioned above, Indiana state was logged off by the 1880s, if not before. Around the 1920's, policies encouraged farmers to add wood lots to their properties. There are now far more small forest lots than there were. Some of the properties are owned by lumber companies, and the trees are selectively cut.

From here on, I can only add personal observations.

Where I live, many of the 2nd growth forests are being cut away for commercial and residential development. Often, huge mounds of trees are just left to rot. There was one woodland that I thought I might "poach" on for sticks. The last time I drove by, it was a wasteland. There was a large machine reducing some of the larger trunks to chips.

The power utility has been removing trees from along city and country roads where the power lines might be broken if the trees fell during a storm. There was one neighborhood where almost a mile of older oaks were cut away.

And there have been 2 storms in the last 2 years that took down huge numbers of trees. One of the few remaining lumber mills in the area now has many stacks of hardwood logs on its lot, and those have appeared in the last few months since the big storm early in the summer. Some of the trees that fell will be turned to lumber.

There is another place not far away that produces wood chips. There are acres of chip mounds 20+ feet high, and they keep growing.

While burning them isn't "sustainable," because the nutrients that should go back into the soil will instead go up a smoke stack, it is more carbon neutral than coal, etc.

There was an attempt in the county where I live to start a "clean coal" generator to power a steel rolling mill. A large number, hundreds, of health professionals signed a petition to stop it, because the pollution level where I live is already too high. When that petition came out, I read reports that mentioned that besides mercury, coal emissions include large amounts of thorium particulates. The technologies proposed for the plant were not sufficient to rule out all of those emissions.

I don't suppose burning wood has as lasting an impact as depositing radioactive metal dust.

Ooops, Walking stick forum. Kinda going OT.
 

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Quick observations:

I did spend a few minutes messing w. the tulipwood chunk. The wood was surprisingly hard. My recollections are based on cutting lumber with carbide blades and router bits, but I recall the surfaces scratching easily. Also, when the wood was green it felt sort of mushy.

This piece is now well cured. What I could do with palm gouges and knives was minimal. Lots of effort with freshly sharpened edges.

I was able to remove wood using carbide and diamond rasps w/o much difficulty.

I took out my old full size gouges and chisels, and banged away with a mallet. Not too bad up to 1/2" wide. Above that, and I could feel the age in my joints. The wood felt as hard as hard maple. It cut cleanly, and I think it would hold fine detail, but that would be hard to cut by hand.

***

I looked up some info on the wood-pellet issue. One of the first things I noticed was that the expanding use is driven by subsidies, and that is artificially increasing demand. More reading indicates that wood burning increases carbon emission in the near term. The amount of dioxin released appears to be related to both the woods used, and the way in which they are burned. But there is much less heavy metal emission compared to coal.

The US opposition seems to be concentrated around the fact that in some areas, healthy trees are being cut just to produce pellets. I wasn't able to find if some pellets were being produced from waste wood, such as leftovers from the lumber and paper pulp industries.

Over the past few years, I've spent a good bit of time reading on energy use and production. It does not appear to me there are any good choices in the area of burning hydrocarbons. I suspect that cutting forests for wood pellets is only somewhat less problematic in the US than destroying whole forests during mountain top removal for coal extraction.
 
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