Liquidambar from the Cornell Botanic Gardens


Liquidambar is such a cool word to say, and what an amazing wood to work with. Also known as sweet gum, this tree typically grows in southern US states. But, I am lucky to have been gifted some from the Cornell Botanic Gardens, here in Ithaca, NY.

This wood is very sweet and fragrant while being turned, cut and sanded. There is truly nothing better than the Wood Owls Shop having an intoxicating soothing smell of the wood being worked.

The Hollow Form

Liquidambar Hollow Form
Liquidambar Hollow Form

This particular piece of Liquidambar was punky, had fungus growing on it and ants had begun to take over. It was quite the challenge to get this wood into a state to where I could turn it safely. However, I was able to craft this extraordinary end grain turned hollow form from this legacy tree.

the box

I have a special happiness for wood that has spalt, and this wood is loaded with it. It has amazing black and purple line spalt throughout the wood like veins. You can especially see these veins in this box, crafted on the band saw.  This box has hand crafted copper nails, copper wire as a clasp and the hinges are waxed Irish Linen.

the plate

Another special piece is the “bird in the wood” plate below.  The eye of the bird was the center of the tension release point for the wood which led to the crack that runs from the eye to the edge of the plate. This crack is filled in with coffee grounds and CA glue.

Look at the various spalt lines on this piece. Sweet Liquidambar!

bird in the wood

It is a most wonderful honour for me to receive wood from the Cornell Botanic Gardens therefore each piece of wood deserves the best possible thoughtful design.


~~ The Wood Owl