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I have an upcoming kitchen in which the homeowners would like to use some osage orange from their property. Right now it looks like it would be used as an island top. It will be milled and kiln dried by others. The logs look like they may net 5" or so. Having never worked with this wood before, is there anything I should be concerned about? Is it any more or less stable than other species?
I have used some air-dried Osage for handles and things. It is very hard. The yellow does not last, but is fun at first.
5" logs will not yield much in the way of lumber. Make sure the kiln guy knows how to dry it.
I don't know about stability.
I have also only used it for smaller items. You will have narrow strips and I suspect if it is dried properly you shouldn't have stability problems. The yellow will turn to a rich brown with time. I would try to use mostly heart wood. The sap wood is off white & if I remember correctly, softer.
I do know the sapwood has much different characteristics than the heart wood. During drying it really shrinks. It will cup a board really badly. Not uncommon to have star shake in the heart. I hope you bid it high, you are in for a rough time!!!!
It is very, very hard.
Agreed with the above, it's exceedingly hard. It is, however, great fun to work with. All the Osage I've ever done (one maaaaaaassssiiive tree) I did on a lathe, and to date it's some of the most fun I've ever had in woodworking. Grain is super smooth once you sand it.
You can expect, however, for it to warp, shrink, or crack if you do it as a large single slab.
If the clients require any warranty, the only way I would warranty it would be to have it milled up as 8/4 and kiln dried, and produce it as butcher block 1.5" strips.
Even then I'd have a moisture meter handy before gluing up.
It should glue up fine. I've never had problems with wood glue sticking to it.
Should make for a fantastic countertop, honestly. Hard density, smooth texture.
Kevin, While this isn't mission impossible, it's probably one of those jobs that your going to wish onto someone else.
A 5" d log isn't going to yield anything useful for an island top.
I did just that on a rustic island a couple of years ago, where I stripped the bark, including out a couple of branches, which became grown in braces to support the outer edge of the bar-top.
I cut a 90º inside corner out down the length, which fit around the corner of the island carcase. The work side of the island was 36" T, with a 42" bar top.
Keep that thing wet until you strip the bark, and it' will be easier.
While I love this wood, I have a small log that size which has been laying out by my Wmizer LT15 for over a year which I haven't bothered to saw due to that small size.
Drop me an email, and I'll send you a pic of what I described above.
Thanks for the responses. I wasn't clear on the log size; I meant that the boards end up 5" wide after milling. I planned on having them milled to 8/4 and kiln dried.
8/4 osage is going to be a tough kiln schedule. Be prepared for a long wait!
not sure where you are located, but realistically you will not be able to cut the osage, go straight to the kiln and have lumber in a couple months. I would look for someone with a vacuum kiln if it's needed right away. It's a tough drying wood. But beautiful
Thanks for the input. I know very little about the drying process so I will check with the guys who are handling that end. Not sure what type of kiln they use. We have until thanksgiving to finish, so maybe they can get it dry by then.
I would not warranty something dried that quickly, just to be honest. If they demand it, I'd probably do it, but I would not warranty it. I'd make sure they understood the risks.
As said above, Osage is a persnickety lumber for drying.
Still one of my top favorites.