uses for "Mountain Laurel" wood (kalmia latifolia) Eastern Mt. Laurel

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J.R. Holiday
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Joined: Thu Jun 21, 2012 7:03 pm

uses for "Mountain Laurel" wood (kalmia latifolia) Eastern Mt. Laurel

Post by J.R. Holiday »

Hello all,

I live in southern New Jersey in the midst of a HUGE Moutain Laurel covered property. I have been looking at this stuff for years and wondering what to do with it.

I recently read that in the old days, tobacco pipes were made from the root briars, and that the trunks of the tree (which usually are 4" in diameter or less) contain hard, yellow-white wood that is dense and tough.

Always looking for ways to add "local flavor" to my projects, I was wondering how I might use this on an instrument. I think head stock overlay veneers and possibly inlay wood is obvious, but how about other parts like fretboards or bridges? Has anyone ever used this stuff before?

It is my understanding that it is illegal in NJ to cut down Mountain Laurel, but among all the thriving plants, my property also contains numerous recently felled trees that I could legally harvest. I have also read that this stuff is poisonous, but maybe that is just the leaves and flowers? I also read that Indians used to make spoons and similar implements from this wood, so I assume the wood itself isn't poison.

If any one can shed light, please do. Thanks.

Chuck Tweedy
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Location: San Diego, CA

Re: uses for "Mountain Laurel" wood (kalmia latifolia) Eastern Mt. Laurel

Post by Chuck Tweedy »

It's really a shrub or very small tree, right?
4" is pretty tiny.
Likes to drink Rosewood Juice

J.R. Holiday
Posts: 4
Joined: Thu Jun 21, 2012 7:03 pm

Re: uses for "Mountain Laurel" wood (kalmia latifolia) Eastern Mt. Laurel

Post by J.R. Holiday »

yeah, google mountain laurel kalmia latifolia and you will see photos. It really is like a cross between a bush and a hearty wisteria vine. Sometimes ML will grow upright to be 8-10' high, but most of the time is sprawls out over the ground like a woody vined ivy.

The largest diameters I will be able to use would be about 4", and that continues for about 2-4' at the most. Diameters of 1 1/2"-2 1/2" are more common.

I know this isn't a tone wood, but for inlays, and exotic veeners I think it might be useful.

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Mark Swanson
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Location: Grand Rapids, Michigan USA
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Re: uses for "Mountain Laurel" wood (kalmia latifolia) Eastern Mt. Laurel

Post by Mark Swanson »

Holiday, please know that we require full names first and last on this Forum. If you'll tell us your name we'll fix it for you. You may PM one of the moderators or you can just post it here, and thanks!
  • Mark Swanson, guitarist, MIMForum Staff

Clay Schaeffer
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Joined: Fri Jan 06, 2012 12:04 pm

Re: uses for "Mountain Laurel" wood (kalmia latifolia) Eastern Mt. Laurel

Post by Clay Schaeffer »

The wood may also contain toxins, so you might want to avoid inhaling too much of the saw dust. Most sawdust creates ill health effects. Some more, some less.

Steve Rolig
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Location: Colorado
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Re: uses for "Mountain Laurel" wood (kalmia latifolia) Eastern Mt. Laurel

Post by Steve Rolig »

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For the first time in a while I'm making a guitar for myself and and wanted to use something local like your laurel. So I chose scrub oak - gambel oak I think which grows all over our part of Colorado - and made this resette. This is oak end grain with very light colored rays in the wood showing up well. The was from a trunk piece no more than four inches in diameter split in into a wedge shape and the ten I cut slices and arranged them in a circle, you can't see the joins even up close. I think it will be a nice remembrance.
Steve

Ashley Davis
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Joined: Tue Feb 21, 2012 12:24 pm

Re: uses for "Mountain Laurel" wood (kalmia latifolia) Eastern Mt. Laurel

Post by Ashley Davis »

Picked up a couple piece about 2 1/2" in diameter when a mud slide uprotted some near Hendersonville N.C. Makes great mallets.

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