Catalpa

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Catalpa

Postby Robin Fawcett » Wed Mar 30, 2011 6:54 am

Anyone ever worked Catalpa wood ? Otherwise known as Indian Bean Tree. Perhaps some of our American friends as it's a one of their native trees.
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Re: Catalpa

Postby Don Wagstaff » Wed Mar 30, 2011 2:51 pm

Hello,
I have once and want to do so again. It smells so fine.

Greetings,

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Re: Catalpa

Postby Bertie » Mon Apr 04, 2011 12:18 am

Interesting tree , such beautiful flowers.
Plantations for the wood in india and i understand the states.
the bits i had were very much like ash.
However the timber buyer at one of the mid devon sawmills was a keen turner and ended up with several off cuts . After cutting a piece by hand he had such an allergic reaction he thought he was going to die.
He had used very many different specis over the years and had never had anything like this happen before or since.
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Re: Catalpa

Postby Robin Fawcett » Mon Apr 04, 2011 10:04 am

Here's my chunks of Bean Tree about 20 years old
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It has a huge pith - that's a 2p piece and the bark looks a bit like Lime.
The logs split really easily and the wood looks like Acacia and Sumach...
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The wood does have an interesting smell sort of peppery, tobacco, spice mixture.
I knocked out a couple of spatulas and it worked nicely and I'm happy to report no allergic reaction Bertie.

The tree was originally planted as a replacement for a 140 year old tree outside Rochester Cathedral but since that one is still going strong the powers that be decided to fell it. I'm going to make stuff from it and try to sell them at a local event in the Summer.
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Re: Catalpa

Postby Bertie » Mon Apr 04, 2011 6:06 pm

Intriguing, this does not look like the wood i was told was catalpa - its easy enough to make mistakes if one is just told, if one cuts the tree down then that is different.
Just had a look on the net and there are pictures of the wood, very ash like in colour and texture?

Anyways a link to some interesting facts on the material :
http://ask.alibaba.com/Q/804038098-Cata ... value.html
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Re: Catalpa

Postby Robin Fawcett » Mon Apr 04, 2011 7:21 pm

Yes very interesting! I like the style.
The wood does have a similar grain to Ash but is different to work. As it's still really green the colours haven't oxidised yet and, as I said, are greeny yellow like Acacia or Sumach. I can see a seasoned board could be mistaken for Ash.
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Re: Catalpa

Postby Mikkel Frederiksen » Tue Apr 05, 2011 3:03 pm

@Bertie:
Could be that what you saw was just another species of Catalpa. I would not surprise me if there were quite a big difference between the different species of the genus Catalpa.
Maybe the species of Catalpa used in scandinavian Parks and gardens are differend species of those usen in Britain.

"Indian Bean Tree" ususally refer to C. bigonoides or C. speciosa (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Catalpa).
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Re: Catalpa

Postby Bertie » Wed Apr 06, 2011 11:37 am

Mikkel, my thoughts too. Another specis of the same tree --
I understand its grown commercially so if it was as soft as alder lets say, its use would be limited.
Your thoughts on growing in Norway though - i think it is far too cold - here in mid norway - the last snow left last week -- its rare to get oak - ash is not common- no sycamore ive seen - but birch. alder, pines.
The Catalpa i saw was at Honiton and later at Tiverton sawmills.

Going back to the reaction my friend had - there was an article some years ago in the western morning news about a tree near plymouth which somebody had felled, it had made them extremly ill - exposed skin had become damaged by contact and turned hard and leathery - the tree was so dangerous men in noddy suits eventually had to be called in - its called the leather tree and comes from china. Never heard of anything like this before or since -

ordinary use of woods such as iroko which makes one caugh - makore which is worse - ive been told by quite a number of serious woodworkers how dangerous these woods are based on this, but research using available literature indicates that they are no more dangerous than any other tropical hardwoods, they just make one caugh - in fact there seems to be a serious lack of information overall. for instance Yew is poisonous - but it is ok to use for goblets because there is very little of the poison and it requires strongish chemicals to extract?? Yew berries contain a very serious poison - but its ok to eat the flesh, its only in the stones --- olive must not be used for blowed musical instruments because contact with the mouth induces very serious sores ---
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Re: Catalpa

Postby Simon Hartley » Sun Jul 31, 2011 10:43 pm

Bertie wrote: its called the leather tree and comes from china. Never heard of anything like this before or since -


A quick internet search drew a blank for 'leather tree', except a handbag manufacturer of that name. I don't suppose you have a botanical name for it?
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Re: Catalpa

Postby Bertie » Thu Aug 25, 2011 9:30 am

Apolagies, no latin name - but you might find references through the western morning news newspaper ??
Something like 25 years ago i think - perhaps more research on the net.
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Re: Catalpa

Postby underground » Fri Oct 04, 2013 12:11 am

If anyone is able to visit Newstead Abbey in Notts - there's a stunning Catalpa in the children's play area there :D
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Re: Catalpa

Postby anobium » Fri Oct 04, 2013 7:33 pm

The car park of my local supermarket is planted with Catalpas. In the summer the trees are covered with orchid-like flowers and now autumn is here they are hanging with seed pods, hence the name 'Indian Bean'.
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Re: Catalpa

Postby Ken Hume » Thu Oct 10, 2013 7:02 pm

There is quite a nice catalpa growing in the car park at Harcourt Arboretum

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