What tree/shrub species have a pith?

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What tree/shrub species have a pith?

Postby Stanleythecat » Thu Jun 10, 2010 9:10 am

Hi All

Still on my 6 note whistle/fipple flute crusade and rapidly depleting the stocks of straight elder in my local vacinity! Who would have thought it would be this complicated... not me!

So I was wondering, to my knowledge elder is one of our only native species with a pith in the centre (easy to remove and create a hollow tube for a flute... and then kindling!) or am I wrong? Are there any other species that I could potentially use.

(I know I could raid the local garden centre for bamboo but thats not really in keeping with the exercise.

Alternatively any suggestions on how can I bore the 'bore' to create a cylinder out of solid stemmed species (without deliberately splitting and gouging out the core). I know machine turners have nifty jigs etc they employ for the job but I shouldn't think a pole lathe could be adapted for this purpose as it has a reciprocating action and the tolerances too wide.

Your help and advice would be very much appreciated.

Thanks

Leo
Last edited by Stanleythecat on Thu Jun 10, 2010 11:04 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: What tree/shrub species have a pith?

Postby Robin Fawcett » Thu Jun 10, 2010 10:55 am

Check out Roy Underhill's book "The Woodwright's Eclectic Workshop" - pages 213-226 about making a walking stick flute, a bamboo fife, a wooden flute and a boxwood recorder. He explains how to make a hollow centre for a wooden lathe out of a brass plumbing fitting - it all looks very complex and exciting.
Good luck.
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Re: What tree/shrub species have a pith?

Postby Stanleythecat » Thu Jun 10, 2010 11:05 am

Thanks Robin

Sounds intriguing...

Amazon here I come!

Leo
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Re: What tree/shrub species have a pith?

Postby Donald Todd » Thu Jun 10, 2010 6:04 pm

Wild Rose has a significant pith; I've made a few whistles. Also try Staghorn Sumac (Rhus typhina). It was used for pipes by American Indians and is quite a common garden plant in U.K. The wood is a beautiful golden colour but rather soft.
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Re: What tree/shrub species have a pith?

Postby Stanleythecat » Thu Jun 10, 2010 7:47 pm

Donald Todd wrote:Wild Rose has a significant pith; I've made a few whistles. Also try Staghorn Sumac (Rhus typhina). It was used for pipes by American Indians and is quite a common garden plant in U.K. The wood is a beautiful golden colour but rather soft.


Wild Rose! hadn't thought of that, what a great idea. I'd only cut some if we happen across some when we are doing some clearance work; I imagine a stem large enough would probably be quite old.

Thanks

Leo
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Re: What tree/shrub species have a pith?

Postby Donald Todd » Thu Jun 10, 2010 9:35 pm

Actually any Rose, as long as it's become woody. I had problems getting bits straight enough to turn on the lathe. It is pretty hard.
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Re: What tree/shrub species have a pith?

Postby Robin Fawcett » Fri Jun 11, 2010 9:00 am

Donald Todd wrote: Also try Staghorn Sumac (Rhus typhina).

I would avoid using this for anything you may put in your mouth or near your lips as it has a poisonous, sticky sap.
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Re: What tree/shrub species have a pith?

Postby Donald Todd » Fri Jun 11, 2010 10:32 am

Robin Fawcett wrote:I would avoid using this for anything you may put in your mouth or near your lips as it has a poisonous, sticky sap.

See Wikipedia for Staghorn Sumac Rhus typhina here
and Poison Sumac (Toxicodendron vernix or Rhus vernix) here

Although Staghorn does have copious sticky sap I am not aware of it being poisonous. I don't know if Poison Sumac occurs in the U.K. but Staghorn is a common garden tree planted for its decorative flower heads. Staghorn spreads badly by suckers.
The growth environment for these plants is entirely different. I do not know if Poison Sumac has a significant pith.

IF IN DOUBT DON"T USE IT.

To be pedantic (as usual) the convention is to put scientific names in Italics when printed, but underlined when hand written.
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Re: What tree/shrub species have a pith?

Postby tagnut69 » Fri Jun 11, 2010 5:21 pm

Wallnut has a segmented/hollow core that would be easy to hollow out
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