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OSAGE ORANGE, ARGENTINE

Maclura tinctoria

Maclura tinctoria of the family Moraceae. Native to Argentina and most of the other countries in South America and Central America. This wood has almost 200 different common names, but in the USA it was generally known as fustic until recent times when the term "Argentine (or Argentina) osage orange" has taken over as a preferred marketing term.

This is a close relative to the wood commonly called osage orange in the USA, which is Maclura pomifera, and it also known somewhat more descriptively as North American osage orange, although that name is NOT generally used in the USA, in keeping with our proclivity for insularity.

The Argentine variety is widely stated by vendors as superior to the North American varitey, but I have not seen any actual evidence to support those statements so for now I just consider those to be marketing statements with no basis in fact (but I could, of course, be wrong about that).

my samples:


both sides of a sample plank of Argentine osage orange / Maclura tinctoria --- HUGE enlargements are present. This sample was loaned to me by David Clark whom I thank for this and other contributions to the site. NOTES: (1) the sample is labeled with the common name "mora" but that name is used by dozens of unrelated species so I consider it worthless (2) the much cleaner view of the face grain on the unlabeled side is because it is sanded to 240 grit whereas the labeled side is raw


end grain and end grain closeup of the piece directly above


END GRAIN UPDATE from directly above


both sides of a piece of Argentine osage orange / Maclura tinctoria --- HUGE enlargements are present. This sample was loaned to me by Mark Peet whom I thank for this and other contributions to the site. Note that the first face was sanded to 240 grit and the second face was not and this accounts for minor differences in color between the two and the better resolution of the detail characteristics as seen in the first one. The person who gave this sample to Mark had it listed as fustic, but that name is now less used by vendors in the USA than "Argentina osage orange", think because the latter sounds better to salesmen.


end grain and end grain closeup of the piece directly above


END GRAIN UPDATE from directly above


small plank, donated to the site by Joel Metz, whom I thank for the contribution. Joel got this off of a pallet and tells me that after being freshly planed it is bright yellow but starts changing color almost immediately and that within days it is noticeably more brown, although NOT nearly as brown as after it has been exposed for a long time (for that, see the end grain shot below that has brown side grain. I sanded all but one surface of this piece and after several days, I have not noticed any change in color, although it's possible that there has been a very subtle shift towards brown. Also, after the sanding, it was not what I would consider bright yellow, such as the blindingly bright yellow I've seen on freshly surfaced North American osage orange. All of my observations are, of course, based on just this one piece of wood, so they do not invalidate anything Joel said.

[several weeks later] When I finally went to cut this piece to put part in my sample box, I DID notice some darkening and the pics of that are down at the bottom of this set.

NOTE: The end grain of this piece has long confluent parenchyma groups (even to the point of being banded) and vasicentric parenchyma whereas my formal sample has aliform parenchyma and very short confluent parenchyma groups, SO ... the two seem quite different, but I have found samples on the Internet (at reputable sites) showing this species BOTH ways, so I'm not sure what to think.



both end grain shots of the piece directly above


end grain closeup of both ends of the piece directly above


END GRAIN UPDATE from directly above


face grain and side grain closeups of the piece directly above


after the sample plank above had sat around for several weeks, exposed to indirect sunlight on one end, I cut it in half to put part in my samples box and I noticed that there was a very distinct darkening of the exposed end relative to the freshly cut end, so here's a pic of that difference.


Joel Metz, who provided the sample plank above, also provided me with these pics, one of a freshly planed surface and the other of the untouched side grain of the same piece, showing the browing of the color with age. It seems likely to me that the color saturation on the freshly milled pic is a bit too high, but I could be wrong.

web pics:


Both levels of enlargement are present, and they show the grain very nicely. Given the color, I assume this is a freshly milled plank and even then the color saturation seems high.



planks


planks, all from the same vendor, listed as osage orange / Maclura tinctoria [note the absence of "Argentine" in the name, which is probably because the vendor thinks "Argentine" will be taken as synonymous with something like "false", which is not true]


plank that has aged enough for the color to turn brown


bowl blanks ... the first one is waxed and those in the second pic are not


scales


turning sticks


waxed turning sticks


waxed pen blanks


bowl blanks and turning stock all from the same vendor --- these are waxed and I assume the dark color is due to UV exposure