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Author Topic: Paulownia - ever saw it?  (Read 1970 times)

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Offline Southside logger

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Paulownia - ever saw it?
« on: January 09, 2018, 07:58:55 PM »
Got a call today from a guy who wanted to sell me 10 acres of pine "logs", which I was not interested in and from his description are actually pulp, so I am REALLY not interested in them.  Around here pine pulp is a lot like zucchini in August - you better lock your rig up when parking it or somebody will come by and fill it up with that stuff while you are gone.

His plan is to cut the pine and plant the Paulowina.  I am just wondering if anyone has ever actually sawed and or sold the stuff, or are the only ones making money off it the folks who sell the seedlings?  I remember that probably around 2007 it seemed there was a bunch of propaganda on planting the stuff but I have not heard much mention of it for a while. 

The same customer also mentioned that he planned to water his pine logs after stacking them, think grade hardwood, I had never heard of anyone doing that - just wondering if anyone has.
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Offline WLC

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Re: Paulownia - ever saw it?
« Reply #1 on: January 09, 2018, 09:05:10 PM »
Paulownia at least Used to be a thing.  My Uncle sold several trees out of one of his pastures for several thousand dollars way back when.  Very fast growing tree, traditional use was to make dowry chests and other Japanese furniture.  There were several plantations planted  because the turn around time is much less than even for pine.  Saw timber in 15-20 years.  I got a chunk of it from a forum member and turned a bowl from it.  Bowl is rough turned, and needs finish turned.  Pretty wood. Don't know what the going price is now, but used to be at a premium.

As far as watering pine logs, lots of places do it.  There used to be (don't know if its still there or not, been years now) a big Huber/LP OSB plant down near Athens GA.  They had massive piles of pine logs and kept them watered down to deter bugs.
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Offline Ianab

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Re: Paulownia - ever saw it?
« Reply #2 on: January 09, 2018, 09:14:37 PM »
Main market for Paulownia at the moment seems to be for wooden surfboards / stand up paddle boards. Because it's relatively strong for it's weight, and doesn't weigh a lot more than balsa.

I can't see that being a huge market, but the wood is obviously being sourced from somewhere.
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Offline Ron Wenrich

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Re: Paulownia - ever saw it?
« Reply #3 on: January 10, 2018, 06:08:05 AM »
When Japan was flush with money, the price for pawlonia was pretty high.  I saw some gnarly logs go for a pretty good price.  But, the problem with planting any tree is that you are betting on future markets.  I remember a guy wanting to plant hybrid poplar.  The promise was in the energy market as biomass.  That market went nowhere.

There doesn't seem to be a domestic market for pawlonia.  That could be because of supply.  But, even with increased supply, I don't know where the demand would be.  It always has been coming from Japan.  The Asian driver has now turned to China, and they are in the market for dark woods.

If you know where the pawlonia market will be in 20 years, then it might be a good investment in time.  Would it be better than the current pine stand is the question.
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Offline WDH

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Re: Paulownia - ever saw it?
« Reply #4 on: January 10, 2018, 07:56:25 AM »
You might be better off taking your money to Las Vegas  :).  Pawlonia was hyped up big down here, a few planted it.  No market for it  :)
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Offline moodnacreek

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Re: Paulownia - ever saw it?
« Reply #5 on: January 10, 2018, 08:28:25 AM »
Logs are watered to keep them cool. When a tree is cut it looses its capillary action and is no longer cooled. Not a problem in cold weather but in say 50 degrees or in the sun the logs start to warm . This starts all the spoilage like stain and end splits. The bugs come later. Its the same as picking vegetables and leaving them in the sun.  Up here log prices may go op in October because the brokers can hold them until march and deal but in spring and summer logs should be processed or under water 2 weeks after cut. At my small mill I keep logs directly on the ground and in the shade as much as I can. I always wanted a log pond.

Offline tmbrcruiser

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Re: Paulownia - ever saw it?
« Reply #6 on: January 10, 2018, 09:12:05 AM »
Paulownia has been planted on a few farms in Delaware and a few years back I noticed many of the trees were dying. Not sure why. I've sawn a few logs for the decoy carvers. Next came a fellow asking, for some turning wood to make bats for deep sea fishing boats. During the conversation found out he makes something called a bird. Apparently a small block of wood with wings is towed ahead of the lures when tolling to attract fish. The wood must be light and resist absorbing water.

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Offline WLC

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Re: Paulownia - ever saw it?
« Reply #7 on: January 10, 2018, 03:15:45 PM »
Glad you liked it.  Still have to finish turn that bowl and get you a pic.  Its been rough turned for ages.
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Offline Sixacresand

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Re: Paulownia - ever saw it?
« Reply #8 on: January 10, 2018, 06:01:38 PM »
We were amazed at the photos of the huge leaves and pretty purple blooms.  We set out a row down each side of the driveway.  Only two survived and both seem to be stunted.  Not a hearty plant on this sandy place.  Some say it is worse than kudzu if it gets out of control. 
  As for lumber (when you can get some logs). the guys who make kayak paddles will buy it.  It;s not strong enough alone and has to lamented with oak or some other hardwood.  Flat sawn paulownia is beautiful when it come off the mill.

Offline Ianab

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Re: Paulownia - ever saw it?
« Reply #9 on: January 10, 2018, 06:44:11 PM »
Sometimes it's a matter of creating the market?

This is a local guy that grows, mills and sells Paulownia wood. ~500 trees, a sawmill, a web site, and he has a market.

https://paulownianz.co.nz/

I do like that wooden bodyboard in his gallery though, that would be cool  8)
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Offline Delawhere Jack

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Re: Paulownia - ever saw it?
« Reply #10 on: January 10, 2018, 10:11:50 PM »
I milled it for the first time back in November. Good sized logs, 18-22" x 16'+ length. Amazing how much clear material came out of those logs. One board off each face and all the knots were gone. Very nice looking wood. The client who I milled it for told me that it is used in boat building, along the line of cedar strip canoes.


Offline Southside logger

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Re: Paulownia - ever saw it?
« Reply #11 on: January 10, 2018, 10:31:29 PM »
Any idea how old those were?  How heavy was the material?
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Offline YellowHammer

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Re: Paulownia - ever saw it?
« Reply #12 on: January 11, 2018, 12:33:24 AM »
We saw and sell it.  High grade, large, fresh logs are going for $2  :o lower grade for 50 cents as of last week.  I buy mostly low grade and should be picking up another trailer load next week.  We sell it as mantles with its beautiful grain, and to wood carvers who want grain, and don't want to paint it like basswood.  American Balsa.  Light as styrofoam.  Sold a mess of it to a guy from Birmingham just last Saturday who carves ornamental nutcrackers.  We've been sawing it at 8/4 and cut some of the slabs into lumber and blocks, as it sells better in edged pieces.  It's not a hot seller, but it is consistent and I don't even have it listed in our webpage.  After reading these posts, I have others marketing ideas.  I didn't know trolling birds were made from it, I pay a pretty penny for mine.  I'll have to carve a few. 
I've got some volunteer growing up in my dove field.  I've actually been toying with the idea of planting my field and woodline edges with it, sort of like a linear planation.   

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Offline Ianab

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Re: Paulownia - ever saw it?
« Reply #13 on: January 11, 2018, 06:13:30 AM »
Probably not a lot of Surfies in Alabama  :D

I've got my eye on a scrappy one out at a friends place. Make a couple of short logs for some surfing bodyboards though. 8)

I do see glued up paddle board blanks selling for ~$300, so Poston might want to get in on this.  ;D

YH, have a look at this.
https://paulownianz.co.nz/handcrafted-timber-lures/
Actual lures made from paulownia.

There IS a market for it, just it's not a big commercial one. Like how many lures can you make from one plank?
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Offline alan gage

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Re: Paulownia - ever saw it?
« Reply #14 on: January 11, 2018, 09:37:40 AM »
I build cedar strip canoes and would love to get some Paulownia to save weight. Never seen it available in the midwest though and I don't want it bad enough to pay to have it shipped out here. It's not a huge market but there are a fair number of people out there building strip canoes and kayaks (and now paddleboards). Most builders find it very frustrating to source clear western red cedar. It's nearly always a special order and many lumber yards don't have a source for it or don't want to be bothered. And often times knotty cedar gets delivered by mistake. It costs me from $3-7/bd. ft. for WRC depending on if I order D or A grade. D grade will have a couple allowable pin knots in each board and is usually rough finished to 7/8". 'A' grade comes S4S at 11/16" or maybe a little under. 'A' grade is better quality wood with more color variation (mix of dark and light boards). I don't care about aestethics so my personal boats are built with D grade. Most years I build a boat to be donated for a fundraiser and use A grade for that to get some color variation.

Strip boat builders want flat sawn boards so the strips they rip will be quarter sawn. That makes them easier to shape and sand. 'D' grade WRC is almost exclusively flat sawn. 'A' grade has a fair number of quarter sawn boards mixed in which I set aside for something other than strips.

Depending on the design and strip thickness a canoe will usually take from 30-65 bd. ft. of lumber.

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Offline terrifictimbersllc

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Re: Paulownia - ever saw it?
« Reply #15 on: January 12, 2018, 07:16:38 AM »
I've sawn it twice, spicy smell with the consistency of celery.   Looked for posts but can't get a search to run right now.
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Offline Tom the Sawyer

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Re: Paulownia - ever saw it?
« Reply #16 on: January 12, 2018, 03:15:51 PM »
Not that common to mill here in the Midwest, primarily planted as a landscape tree.  This one was the yard of a rectory and was removed for an addition to the building.  Was about 24" diameter.
 

 
 

 
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Re: Paulownia - ever saw it?
« Reply #17 on: January 12, 2018, 05:23:52 PM »
I have never seen nor sawn Paulownia but I am surprised to see that it has reddish streaks like Box Elder.
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Re: Paulownia - ever saw it?
« Reply #18 on: January 12, 2018, 09:20:13 PM »
The ones I have sawed didn't have any red in them.  I thought it was kind of boring wood.  It is very light.  I have a friend that builds and flys the small ( 6 foot or so) airplanes and he wanted some to see if it could be used for parts.  I thought he might get some out of the slab pile when I was finished, but the man wanted all the slabs also, which was fine with me.  I wish I could get everyone to take them.  Most of the ones I have seen don't make what I would like as a log, and have been told that the reason is that to get the tree to make a nice log they have to be pruned  (cut the limbs off the stalk) on a fairly regular basis, which don't happen too much.  Made me think of teakwoods plantation. He does the trimming needed. Banjo
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Re: Paulownia - ever saw it?
« Reply #19 on: January 12, 2018, 10:39:40 PM »
Looks like box elder to me too, Tom.
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Re: Paulownia - ever saw it?
« Reply #20 on: January 12, 2018, 11:11:53 PM »
This is what we sell as palownia.  Heavy grain, light wood.  Pretty. 
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Offline Ianab

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Re: Paulownia - ever saw it?
« Reply #21 on: January 13, 2018, 01:05:05 AM »
I suspect the red tint might be an older tree, if it was a specimen tree in an older garden? Might account for the colour.

And I agree that to produce the best timber, you want to manage the trees for it. If I remember right there is a specific management for paulownia, where the sapling is basically cut off at ground level after a couple of years. The remaining stump then sends up a new stump sprout, that grows about 12ft straight up in the next year. Once that gets established, lop off any lower branches and leave it for ~20 more years to to grow into an actual saw log.
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Re: Paulownia - ever saw it?
« Reply #22 on: January 13, 2018, 02:14:06 PM »
I didn't know what it was when I first saw the log.  Fortunately, it still had some small twigs sprouting from the log, still green.  Opposite stems, large heart shaped leaves.  Took one home and looked it up - had never heard of that species. Wood database mentioned pale white sapwood, grayish heartwood with purple or reddish tinges - very lightweight.  Matched up.  Supposed to be similar to catalpa.
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Re: Paulownia - ever saw it?
« Reply #23 on: January 13, 2018, 07:07:18 PM »
Other Paulownia threads.... there are 4 pages of hits with paulownia in the title....

http://forestryforum.com/board/index.php/topic,50361.msg727619.html#msg727619
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Re: Paulownia - ever saw it?
« Reply #24 on: January 14, 2018, 09:09:24 PM »
Quite a few will also have a hollow spot at where the pith would be.  At least the ones around here do.  Banjo
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