#11: Apricot

Bird Number: 32
Date: January 7, 2012
Wood: Apricot (Prunus armeniaca)
Source: Georgetown, TX

Members of my carving club have known for about two years that I’m interested in carving many different types of wood. I wasn’t terribly surprised when one of the members asked me if I’d be interested in some limbs he’d pruned from an apricot tree in his back yard. The apricot turned out to be really nice to carve. I carved lots of little apricot dogs, and even used apricot in my Whittle Pup tutorial. I gave away some of the larger pieces last summer, but also kept a few for myself.

I’m glad I did. It’s strikingly beautiful.

People have been cultivating apricots since prehistoric times, so long ago that its native range is uncertain. The likely candidates are Armenia, China, and India. Today, apricots are grown in all parts of the world where the climate supports them. In the United States, almost all commercial production is in California, with some small production in Washington and Utah.

Apricots don’t grow very well in this part of Texas. You’ll find a few people with trees, but it’s difficult to keep them alive during the long hot summers. You have to stay on top of things with pesticides or the worms will eat most of the fruit. What the worms don’t get, the birds and urban deer are likely to scarf.

I’m somewhat surprised that there’s so little information about carving apricot. Whereas the wood is a little on the hard side, it’s not terrible. It carves very similar to cherry, although I think the apricot is a bit easier to cut. It gives off a very pleasant aroma when sanded or cut with a saw. And it looks really nice. I have a few more larger pieces of this wood, and will definitely be carving something from them.