Osage-Orange - Hedge Apple - Maclura Pomifera       Summer, 2008

Why do these kinds of things happen when my back is killing me.  I come home from work one day and my friend Butch informs me that one of his friends is in the process of downing a very old, diseased hedge apple tree.  Do I want any wood?  

Do I look like I'm stupid?  - Rhetorical question considering how bad my back feels.

Large chunks of hedge apple are as rare as hen's teeth so this I have to go see.....

Hedge Apple Tree Poison Oak
Holy &$^! - I hit the mother lode!  I counted the bark rings and came up somewhere between 80 and 90 rings.  An old tree, full of holes and quite diseased.   This looks like a solid piece but it is not.  There are actually several branches entwined around each other.  Still, this is something one does not see every day. While the tree cutting was going on, I took the opportunity to do a little exploring in the back yard.  I thought this vine looked particularly interesting until one of the guys said that touching it might cause unintended consequences, like blisters.   This must be what is commonly called poison oak.


These butterflies were out in full force.  Very attractive and for some reason liked resting upside down.

On the Ground It took over an hour to get this chunk down on the ground. It looked like there were a number of nice slabs we could get out of this with a little patience.  However, looks were deceiving.  

There was only an inch or so at the thickest section, steadily tapering off to @ half an inch.  

It was quite rotted just under the surface.

A Truck Load

However,  I did get some nice pieces from other parts of the tree.   I got to pick and choose my way through this.

Choice Pieces

Not bad, huh?   I had to have help though,  the back was really hurting and this hedge apple wood is really dense.

Poison Oak

Looks harmless enough, doesn't it?

The Loot

I was also fortunate to get a number of spalted maple logs that were still upright and not too far gone.  


These I will seal with white latex paint for later use.

Wood Splitting

I started splitting the hedge apple into more workable pieces, and ended up with less than I thought.

Pen Blanks

I got a lot of  nice pen blanks, a couple 4x4 chunks and various off - sizes.

Cigar Pen

I have no idea how osage orange turns, so let's start with a  Hedge Apple Cigar Pen.  

Osage Orange Pen

Turns out hedge apple is a dream to turn.

Osage Orange Pen

Doesn't look too bad either.

How about a bowl?

A Hedge Apple Bowl

This piece looks like decent bowl material. Why don't we give it a spin...

Roughed Round

I used the band saw to get the blank marginally round.

Turning the bottom

It didn't take any time to get round, so not wanting to lose any more diameter, I hollowed out the blank enough to mount on the cole jaws so I could get the bottom flat enough to mount a sacrificial block.

Got a ways to go.

Got a ways to go.


That's more like it.

Remove the Block

Time for a sacrificial block

Sacraficial Block

This is one way to keep everything more or less on center.  Leave the bowl chucked up, which keeps it on center.
Set the faceplate inside the free center and use light pressure to lock in place.

Glue it in place by using masking tape to keep the glue in.  This takes a couple days to properly set.

Hedge Apple wood is very easy to turn.

Sanding Down

To finish this, I had to mount the bowl using a sacrificial block.  

Hedge Apple with Inlay

I didn't want to lose any more bowl depth so I chose to use a malachite inlay.  Hedge Apple and Malachite?  We shall see.

Finishing the Bottom

Flip it once more to finish out the bottom.

One Hedge Apple Bowl

One Osage Orange Bowl finished with Tung Oil and inlaid with Malachite.   And another pen to match.

More to Come.