Characteristics of Catalpa
Also called "Catawba," Catalpa wood is light, strong, attractive, and easy to work. February 15, 2009
I saw mostly white pine and other eastern wood found here in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia. I have the opportunity to get some catalpa logs around 30 inches at the butt. I have never sawed this type wood before. My question is, "is it worth my time to fool with sawing it and what is this wood best suited for"?
(Sawing and Drying Forum)
From contributor R:
By all means saw it. It saws like a dream, and dries really easily. It is light weight, but very strong. It has a grain that is very similar to ash, but a deep brown color. Wood carvers really like it, so if you have that market, cut some 16/4. Catalpa has a strong tendency for high chatoyance, or light reflectivity. Move a piece of stock around in the sunlight and you will watch the grain jump around. I love the stuff if you couldn't tell. It’s great for furniture making as well as the carving, just on the soft side. I have never cut one that didn't have some hollow though.
From contributor K:
It also has good rot resistance, so is a good wood for outdoor use. It smells like creosote and makes my nose itch. Most around here have really spiral grain.
From contributor T:
I am not sure how straight your logs are, but I have come across a few very nice clean and clear catalpa logs. It saws nicely, a little on the soft side, I would think just a bit harder than butternut, but softer than ash. It seems to be known for a musical tone wood.
From the original questioner:
Thank you for the responses and I will try to post a picture soon. The trees are still standing at a customer’s location and it may be a couple days before I get by there. It sounds like I will be getting a good species of wood. Thanks again for your help.
Would you like to add information to this article?
Interested in writing or submitting an article?
Have a question about this article?
Have you reviewed the related Knowledge Base areas below?
KnowledgeBase: Knowledge Base
KnowledgeBase: Wood Engineering
KnowledgeBase: Wood Engineering: Wood Properties
All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced in
any manner without permission of the Editor.
Review WOODWEB's Copyright Policy.
The editors, writers, and staff at WOODWEB try to promote safe practices.
What is safe for one woodworker under certain conditions may not be safe
for others in different circumstances. Readers should undertake the use
of materials and methods discussed at WOODWEB after considerate evaluation,
and at their own risk.
335 Bedell Road
Montrose, PA 18801
Copyright © 1996-2019 - WOODWEB ® Inc.