#13: Post oak

Bird Number: 34
Date: January 20, 2012
Wood: Post oak (Quercus stellata)
Source: Back yard

We had to take out a Post oak tree a couple summers back. The tree looked in good shape from a distance, but it had developed a list towards the house.

Fearing it might fall, we called an arborist, who told us that the tree was diseased and should come out before it fell on the house. I hate to kill a live tree, but we figured it’d be better to take it out rather than wait for the next big blow to knock it down.

The tree service put the tree on the ground, and I spent some time with the chainsaw to cut it into manageable chunks. The smaller pieces are in the BBQ wood pile, and there are several larger pieces (including the seven foot long trunk) awaiting final disposition. This is the first thing I’ve carved from it.

Not surprisingly, the oak cracked while it was drying. I could have found a piece that wasn’t cracked, but I kind of liked the way this one looked. So I carved the bird, sanded it a bit, and then filled the cracks with epoxy. I like the way it turned out.

Post oak isn’t a very popular material for wood working. It’s pretty hard to work with a knife, which explains why not many people carve it. And other oaks are better for power work or for lumber. I’m not sure what makes post oak less suitable than other oaks for turning or for lumber. Around here, most people use the post oaks for fence posts (hence the name) or, more commonly, for BBQ. I can say from experience that oak-smoked brisket is very good.

I have a lot more of this oak. I’ll probably carve a few more things from it, but the majority–even the large pieces–will probably end up flavoring beef, chicken, or other things on the grill.