I'll preface this blog entry by saying that although The Lady's family refers to this tree as "Chinese elm", this is technically incorrect -- although it's a typical misnomer.
It's really "Chinese celtis" -- although it also goes by the names
celtis, Chinese elm, Chinese hackberry, Chinese nettle-tree, hackberry, and Japanese hackberry.
It's a "junk" tree around here: not only is it an invasive species, but it also rots pretty easily, if left out in the weather.
I have a piece of it that I carry around in my pocket for good luck. It's a wedge that's about the size of one-eighth of a ping-pong ball. I've had it for a few years, so it's thoroughly seasoned. It's hard enough that I can't make a mark in it with my fingernail.
A few days ago I rescued two small logs (sections of the trunk) from my in-laws' firewood pile: each about a foot and a half long, by about 6 to 8 inches diameter. I split them into eighths (to minimize splitting while they dry), dunked the ends in boiled linseed oil (to slightly retard checking), and used a scrub plane on one of them to check out the figure, then rubbed on some Danish oil.
Here's what I got:
You may want to click to enlarge: I've intentionally left it full resolution (and thus, full filesize) per photo. On the left it's essentially quartersawn. You can see a hint of flecks -- not as much as I'd hoped. It might show up better with some stains or dyes.
A fairly subtle grain: that could be a good thing, or a bad thing. Reminds me a little of balsa wood.
Whiter than pine. I've left this piece where the sunlight can hit it: I'm curious to see if it yellows over time.
Here's the end grain (with boiled linseed oil) of the same piece: the left, underside is essentially quartersawn -- and it drifts into something beginning to approach flatsawn.
An Australian woodworking forum
says it's not very good for woodworking -- but so far I'm finding the opposite. Your mileage may vary.
Meanwhile, I've stored my sections of wood -- most of them riven "blanks" -- and I'll come back to them in a year or two. Might make an interesting (or, bland?) wooden box or small wooden chest.
Labels: invasive species, trees, wood, woodworking