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Madrone

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Wood identification
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Wood identification

Madrone (Arbutus menziesii) is sometimes called madrona or madrono, and scientifically is always preceded by the word Pacific. That's because there's a Texas version of the species, and a Mexican one, too. But most of the madrone you see as woodworking stock and veneer comes from a range that extends from southern British Columbia down to California's central coast.In that coastal band, you can find madrone everywhere there's a forest, and in nearly any size. In rugged mountain terrain madrone may only reach shrub size. In rich soil among the redwoods, the tree may attain 100-foot heights and diameters of 2-4'. Just like the early explorers of the Pacific Coast, you won?t have difficulty picking out madrone from the other forest trees. Unless you discover a very old, graying tree, its bark will be smooth and orange-colored. In May and June, clusters of white flowers hang amidst the leathery dark-green leaves (that only fall when new ones grow, so the tree always appears green). Later, the flowers turn to orange-red, berrylike fruits, presenting a colorful show. Madrone's heartwood is a pale reddish brown, somewhat resembling apple wood, while its sapwood appears cream-colored. The fine-textured, dense, hard, and heavy wood (about the same as maple) has an irregular pattern of growth rings that presents an attractive pattern.


Continued on page 3:  Uses in woodworking

 

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