What is the hardest wood in the U.S.? MO?

Discussion in 'Flora & Fauna' started by MoxemDeliph, Apr 28, 2010.

  1. MoxemDeliph

    MoxemDeliph Guide

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    Guys, I know lignum vitea is suppose to be the hardest wood out there, and I know that Missouri's hedge/osage orange will doom all steel tools, but whats the baddest tree out there for hardness in the U.S? Do we have it in Missouri, and if not, what is the hardest in MO?

    Thanks dudes,
    Mark
     
    Last edited: Apr 28, 2010
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  2. Sgt. Mac

    Sgt. Mac Elder Staff Member Administrator Supporter Bushclass I Bushclass II Bushclass Instructor

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    Ironwood?
     
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  3. Adventure Sworn

    Adventure Sworn Cody Vendor Supporter

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    Yeah I'd probably say Arizona desert ironwood is up there.
     
  4. Gerd Orfe-Moyland

    Gerd Orfe-Moyland Scout

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    Mint.


    Well, it's menthol isn't it?!


    Sorry I can't help, but I've been waiting ages to say that :eek: (says he who is hoping that the joke travels :eek: :eek:)
     
  5. Guy

    Guy Founder Staff Member Administrator Vendor

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    I think that one traveled right over my head. :D
     
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  6. Eagle

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    I've handled some petrified wood that was very hard; is this a trick question?
     
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  7. Okbushcraft

    Okbushcraft Guide

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    You will need to look at specific gravity,
    Sugar Maple .63
    Mulberry (Osage's cousin) .66
    Hop Hornbeam/ironwood-.70
    Hickory-.72
    Dogwood .73
    Persimmon is .74
    Osage-.82
    Info taken from The Bowyers Bible # 1
     
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  8. GreyOne

    GreyOne Elder Lifetime Supporter

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    I know I have some old (over 50 years old) Osage Orange/ Bois D'Arc heartwood from my grandfathers garage, and it is beyond my skills to cut. Hand saw, table saw, chisel, non of them cut more than a shallow groove ! This stuff could make good armor plate if worked properly . :)
     
  9. swamprat

    swamprat Guide

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    Good call Okbushcraft I saw this thread and went to my copy of The Bowyers Bible. I was just about to post and read the rest of the posts and saw yours.

    Osage Orange or Bois D'Arc (archers wood) is extremely hard and will dull a chainsaw chain real fast. Hornbeam and/or Hophornbeam is a close second.
     
  10. MoxemDeliph

    MoxemDeliph Guide

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    Ahah! Good stuff. Thanks much.

    Im guessing that all the all of those woods are in MO? Aside from ironwood and hornbeam...never heard of hornbeam. It just sounds tough.
     
  11. Iz

    Iz MEMBER of a BANNED Bushclass I Bushclass Instructor

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    We have hop hornbeam, Mox.

    Missouri Conservation says the hardest wood in Missouri is Flowering Dogwood.
    Iz
     
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  12. MoxemDeliph

    MoxemDeliph Guide

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    Dogwood is harder than hedge? Jeesy Creesy...I know hedge will doom an axe, atleast my axe, but dogwood? I thought the weed whacker tore those up. Maybe Im not thinking of the same dogwood. Our state tree, the dogwood?
     
  13. Iz

    Iz MEMBER of a BANNED Bushclass I Bushclass Instructor

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    Yeah, the state tree is Dogwood.
    Look it up if you don't believe me.
    Iz
     
  14. Creek Walker

    Creek Walker Guide

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    Here is some info on wood density.
     
  15. Old Philosopher

    Old Philosopher Banned Member Banned

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    Don't look now, G1, but at your age that wood's probably petrified.... ;)
     
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  16. Okbushcraft

    Okbushcraft Guide

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    Or it could make a great bow if it is long enough :)
     
  17. Arrowolf

    Arrowolf Supporter Supporter

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    Osage orange/Bois d'arc or hickory
     
  18. dboles

    dboles Scout

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    You guys have any Yew (Taxus) down that way.Thats a pretty tough one also
    Do not know how it would hold up to the others that have been mentioned
    Dan'l
     
  19. Old Philosopher

    Old Philosopher Banned Member Banned

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    The one thing I haven't figured out yet in this thread is WHY? What is this hard wood going going to be used for? Yew for a bow? Ironwood for knife scales? :confused:
     
  20. Joezilla

    Joezilla Supporter Supporter

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    I know ironwood is very hard, but I probably wouldn't throw it up there as the hardest here, (at least the species in NC). I was playing with a dead piece of Osage Orange, and I cringed at the thought of taking an axe, machete or saw to it. It seems way more dense and heavy, IMHO. I haven't cut down a full osage tree but have processed plenty of Ironwood. Great thread!
     
  21. MoxemDeliph

    MoxemDeliph Guide

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    Joe,

    My axe doesnt lie. I had to re-heat treat my Wetterlings, and the first time I used it was out at KOA's on some Osage. I apparently ground my edge too thin for that stuff becuase it rolled edge like the top of a tin can. I reground it though and split a 5 ft hickory that was 10" thick and quite a bit more wood and havent had any problems since.

    What Im saying here is screw osage orange. That stuff, after a bit of reading, will total out a chainsaw blade in one sitting...my poor axe didnt stand a chance.
     
  22. Troop

    Troop Scout

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    Hey, good knife handle material though! That is, if you don't mind having to buy new woodworking tools after cutting up a little bit! :D
     
  23. Okbushcraft

    Okbushcraft Guide

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    Rumor has it that that is a Soft Wood type axe as is GB. What you need is a good old fashioned US made axe ;) Old, ugly and lots easier to afford!

    Alsmost all woods listed will make a great bow. Yew is soft yet durable. Horn knocks are made for yew long bows so the string wont eat into the wood.


    The moduless of rupture is also important, or the breaking point. While Persimmon is harder than most, Oak is not as easy to break.

    I lived in MO for about 11 years, I trimmed trees for 3 of them. I was 'shrafting for all of them.
    The MO conservation dept puts out some amazing free materials on your woods and stuff. I miss all of that stuff!
     
  24. Iz

    Iz MEMBER of a BANNED Bushclass I Bushclass Instructor

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    Amen to all of that.
    Iz
     
  25. Homeslice

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    My vote goes to hedge. The stuff is insane.
     
  26. Trekon86

    Trekon86 Guest

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    Osage is some tough hard stuff.

    In MO (most of the midwest) I've heard tell it is particularly common...out here in these parts, not so much:(
    PMZ
     
  27. Armourer

    Armourer Tinder Gatherer

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    Hardest I've seen by far is Dogwood. It doesn't carve or machine well. I've worked with Osage Orange and Hickory but it's in a class by itself. Persimmon is pretty hard but to get hardwood it's probably 100 + yrs old. Good luck there.
     
    Last edited: Apr 1, 2017
  28. Haggis

    Haggis Supporter Supporter

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    Seasoned dogwood is pretty dense and hard,,,
     
  29. WyomingDrifter

    WyomingDrifter Treen Carver Supporter Bushcraft Friend

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    Have you ever looked into mature lilac? The wood is purple and will burn up a chainsaw in a hurry.
     
  30. KS49

    KS49 Scout

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    Wood, as a material, has a number of properties. Hardness is a distinct property from density. Just like lead and gold are very dense, they aren't very hard. It is the same with wood. Generally, hardness and toughness (impact resilience) are better measures for accessing durability. I would suggest downloading the wood engineering handbook from the US Forest Service. They have whole chapters on this subject, as well as lots of tables of data.

    In my opinion, locust, dogwood, hophornbeam, hickory, white oak, persimmon, and osage are all pretty tough/hard woods and you can almost use them interchangeably in that regard.

    One point to remember is that the variation of properties varies greatly within any given species of tree and while SG is an indicator of a trees physical properties, it isn't definitive.

    Ken
     
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  31. Zaveral

    Zaveral Supporter Supporter Bushcraft Friend

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    A species of Dogwood was used for the Spartan's Spears. It was so dense it wouldn't float in water.
     
  32. Idabow

    Idabow Tracker

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    Osage is the king of chain loop killers I've dealt with from Idaho to Ohio. Not even trees growing on the side of forest service roads can kill a loop as fast, and they absorb all the roadside grit in their bark and wood. Stihl chain was "sharp" for less than 30 seconds in Osage.

    Buck Stoves warned not to burn it in their stoves as it could " melt " the insert.
     
  33. RickS

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    I use dogwood for anything I need a hard wood for, there is tons of it around Mo. It is easy to cut when green but hardens up nicely. I cut quite a bit of Osage orange but it can be hard on saw blades.
     
  34. will62

    will62 Scout

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    I think it is a toss up between Osage Orange and Dogwood here in SW MO, as both will dull a chain saw chain very fast. I knew a guy who wanted to use Osage Orange for a floor in his cabin he gave up on that idea when he realized the amount of sharpening time required to process the logs in to planks.
     
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  35. Bitterroot Native

    Bitterroot Native Guide

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    Madrone and manzanita are pretty tough stuff. Only grows out west though I believe.
     
  36. Macrosill

    Macrosill Scout Bushclass I

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    One tree I do not see mentioned here is the Black Gum tree. I am not sure how it compares but I can tell you it is the most difficult wood I have ever split. I am not an arborist or anything but just some suburban tree clearing experience. I had 6 of these in my yard, cut down 2 of them and split the wood. I had to borrow a neighbors splitting maul and I still struggled to split the wood.
     
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  37. WY_Not

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    Heh. You think the hedge is rough on axes and chainsaws, you should try running it through the logsplitter. ;) We cut and split quite a bit of it when I was a youngster. Lots of it growing along the creek and in the pasture of parent's farm. Splitter and the wood would creak and grown and slow almost to a stop but eventually that thing would split, sometimes explosively. Other times we'd have to put another piece of wood behind it so the wedge would actually go through all of the knots. Think the only reason the splitter survived was because it was built (overbuilt) and not bought and the hydraulics ran off a pump that was attached to the tractor PTO not some puny B&S engine.
     
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  38. trailhermit

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    I have some in my yard. It was the first wood I was trying my hatchet on, the edge rolled too. I though maybe I did something wrong. :)
     
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  39. TAHAWK

    TAHAWK Scout

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    Osage Orange is 2760 on the Janka Scale. Hard stuff. I was taught to harvest it in Winter to minimize splitting.
    Mesquite 2345
    Manzanita 2350

    Softies by World standards Some maker used Lignum Vitae to knife handle scales. He reported a monumental PITA! Janka 4390.
     
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  40. rk_az

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