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American Holly, is it worth saving?

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  • American Holly, is it worth saving?

    My neighbor took down an American Holly the other day. I saw him loading the trunk, a nice straight piece about 5 feet long, into his truck to haul to the dump. I snagged it thinking it might be of use in furniture projects for inlay or other decoration. So a couple of questions;

    1. Is it worth saving?

    2. Should i do anything special to store it while letting it dry? It's only about 7 inches in diameter and 60" long. I thought i would seal the ends and let it sit for a year or or two in the garage or the shed out of the weather.

    Since it's not that big of a log I'm thinking I'm better off letting it dry as one piece then cut it up after it has dried to 10% or less. I think if I cut it into boards now it will warp.

    If you have a better idea let's hear it please.
    "It's a table saw, do you know where your fingers are?" Bob D. 2006

  • #2
    Re: American Holly, is it worth saving?

    i would mill it now and sticker it to dry out. one of the WW rags noted that "pefect" vertical alignment of the supports between each board goes a long way to preventing warping.
    there's a solution to every just have to be willing to find it.


    • #3
      Re: American Holly, is it worth saving?

      Other than "painting the ends" I have no other opinion as to the storage.

      Not being familier with the species, I looked for some further information that may or may not be of help to you:

      According to Andy Rae's "Working with Wood" (Taunton Press), American Holly has a "green to oven dry" shrinkage as follows: Radial is 4.8 %; Tangential is 9.9 %; with an R/T ratio of 2.1 %

      DK publishing's collective effort "Wood Work" gives a fairly better description of "Holly" as a hardwood, with "American" being described as "White Holly". It is described as Pale creamy white, sometimes with a greenish tinge; little to no figure; irregular grain; fine texture.

      Further described "working quality" as very dense; hard and tough; not stable; perishable; susceptable to insect attack. Hard to work. Reduced cutting angle required for planing or molding. Excellent turning timber. Only available in comparitely small sizes.

      Finishing is described as: Excellent, somtimes dyed black to imitate ebony.

      Uses: Decorative inlay lines and marquetry motifs (substitute for boxwood); musical-instrument parts; trurnery.

      Considering the "difficult to work" comment, there may be some advantage to cutting it green, as I understand "Apple Wood" is often done. However, the "instability" issue might then require more care as I'm thinking that once "board cut" you might find some twisting and warp as it dries.... but of course I have NO experience whatsoever in that.

      I hope this is helpful,



      • #4
        Re: American Holly, is it worth saving?

        I would mill it green as well and then sticker it and let it dry, (at least that is what I try to to do with my elm wood I have saw milled), picture is one took years ago with some elm we sawed up then my son was young,
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        • #5
          Re: American Holly, is it worth saving?

          That's what i was thinking of using it for, inlay as a substitute for boxwood.

          I'll have to start thinking about how i might mill this small log. Maybe make a
          carriage that would work with my bandsaw.

          Thanks everyone for your ideas and comments.
          "It's a table saw, do you know where your fingers are?" Bob D. 2006