#15: Ash juniper

Bird number: 36
Date: January 27, 2012
Wood: Ash Juniper (Juniperus ashei)
Source: Back yard

They call it “cedar” around here, and lots of people are very allergic to it. Cedar allergy is a common affliction here in Central Texas. Fortunately, I don’t seem to be affected. Sure is pretty on the inside, though.

This piece is from a dead limb that I took out last summer. I’m surprised that it cracked, considering that it’d been hanging dead on that tree for a couple of years. With the recent drought (last few years) and how long it’d been dead, I figured the wood was as dry as it was going to get.

Oh well, the crack adds character.

This juniper is mostly considered a weed around here. It’s a very invasive plant, and can thrive where many others can’t. It’s often the first thing that comes up on over-grazed pasture land, and once it gets established it’ll choke out just about everything else. It’s drought tolerant, but thirsty. That is, it can consume a lot of water, but will survive on little if need be.

The stuff grows all over out here. I would venture to say that it’s more prevalent than mesquite. It makes good fence posts. In fact, I have a few old fence posts in my wood pile. They might end up in the carving pile. The wood’s not good for burning in a fireplace due to the pitch content. Or so I’ve been told.

There isn’t a lot of information about carving it. I know a few people besides me who have and will carve the stuff. Some turners like it. The wood is somewhat harder than the Eastern Red Cedar that I carved a bird from. It smells similar to the cedar, but there is a distinct difference. I found it okay to carve. Not my favorite, but I’ll definitely make a few more things from it.