the research of various woods

Woods to think about


Amur maackia – Research tells us this tree is native to Manchuria and Korea. It is much like its cousin the Black Locust, is amazingly dense, fine grained and can tolerate harsh urban conditions and is drought tolerate.

My research of each type of wood begins when I acquire the piece. I harvest the hunks of wood, bring them home, mark them, inventory them, and wax each piece to help slow down checking and cracking.  This particular piece of Amur maackia is from the Urban Collection at the Cornell Botanic Gardens, where it had started to succumb to disease.  And since I am only obtaining a small sample of a once living tree, I rely on various Tree Encyclopedia’s and notes from Arboretums across the globe for histories and details of each piece of wood I work with.

Amur maackia

Amur maackia – from the Family: Fabaceae – Leguminosae – the family includes peanuts, beans, peas, wisteria and locust trees.

It is a great way to learn about woods as I create art and give me the opportunity to teach others as well.

the turning of the wood

My first hands on experience of this wood was to find it to be very heavy, with dark, smooth, shiny bark, thin tight growth rings which indicate a slow growing tree.  Once I cut and mounted a piece on the lathe and started to turn, I found the most beautiful lighter layer just under the tough smooth bark. That gave me the idea to leave sections of outer bark, with  the layers just below the surface to expose the cambium.  The light color you see is atypical of this tree, which might be an indicator of its health issue at the time of being cut.

Amur maackia vase

sourcing the wood

This vase is a most beautiful example of the Amur maackia. I hope I am able to do the tree justice in my art. Since I am able to have my hands on the actual tree, I am able to cut it as I want. If I were to buy my wood blanks, I would lose the ability to create.  That is why I do not purchase wood blanks from anyone else. I would not have the ability to create the art as I do.

Below is another dry bud vase from these same samples of the Amur maackia.  This piece was sanded to 10,000 grit and the surface is like polished glass. I don’t always sand to that level as it takes a very long time to reach. This piece truly deserves that extra work.

amur, maackia, tree, locust, wood, vase,
Amur maackia hollow form

This tree may not be rare as it grows locally,  but the chances of me obtaining more is slim. Therefore, in my collection, I consider it a rarity and pricing will reflect that.