Box Elder Experiences

Box Elder Experiences

Last week, Rob shared a recent lamp body he’s turned from box elder and wondered if you’ve used it before. Several of you have shared comments. – Editor

“Cook Wood in Oregon carries (box elder) and sells a variety of sizes.” – Ron Suchara

“Writing from the hill country of Texas we have a lot of it here. I have a nice tree growing in front yard about as high as the two-story house. (Box elder) is a sub-form of maple. Enjoy the grain as it has varying colors.” – Ralph Hausman

“Box elder (Acer Negundo) is an interesting emergent species that occurs in open areas that are in transition from field to forest. I have also seen them struggling on the forest floor in whatever light is available to stimulate seed germination. As for seeing slabs or cookies of it in lumberyards, no, even though it grows to lumber-sized trees all over central New York. It does have interesting grain and is relatively soft by comparison to other maple species. It doesn’t seem to be seriously injured or bothered by the native box elder beetles that reproduce in serious numbers and are a nuisance when they search for places to hibernate in the Fall. By the way, it also is sometimes known as black maple (Acer Nigrum) but really is a separate species.” – Jeffrey Gehm

“I work with box elder. The stuff grows all over the place here in west Michigan, and my wife hates it because it attracts box elder bugs (big surprise), which congregate in swarms around here. They’re harmless but annoying and (according to my wife) icky. So I cut down every box elder on our property and ‘trimmed back’ (ahem) several of them on neighbors’ lots as well. All of which left me with ample stock for making walking sticks, pens, boxes and lots of other stuff. It works well and usually turns beautifully, as you now have found out.” – Mark Williams

“Nice find and a beautiful lamp. While this slab (see photo above) didn’t come from a lumberyard, I snagged it from my local lumber supplier about a year ago. I just couldn’t resist buying it because of its uniqueness. It is just hanging out in my shop waiting to be turned into something useful.” – Gary Tague

“No, I have not used (box elder) as I have not seen it before. However I will use it if I run into it. Beautiful wood.” – Rudy Gonzalez

“Your editorial about the piece of salvaged box elder caught my attention. Awesome looking lamp! A few years ago we cleared some trees to make way for a new cabin about an hour north of Minneapolis. A couple of those trees were box elder. I had them milled to 9/4 and I built our kitchen table from it (see photos above). It’s a trestle style, just a shade over 8 ft. long and right at 30-in. wide to fit benches on three sides. My lumber has incredible grain, which seems to have a feathered look to it. My family was pretty excited about how the table turned out (me too)!” – Randy Gatzke

“Great job on that lamp base. It’s gorgeous!” – Rick Corbitt

“Awesome piece. Nice work!” – Gordon Patnude

“I’d never heard of box elder down here in Australia. I just googled it and discovered it does grow here, but it’s classified as an invasive weed.” – Mark Hyland

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