Plum Red Gum

  • 25 Jan 2016 3:15 PM
    Message # 3781132

    I just got a piece of wood to turn and it was identified as spalted Plum Red Gum.  It measures 12" x 4".  I have heard of Eucalyptus Red Gum but not Plum Red Gum.  Anyone know any of the characteristics of this wood?  I have to assume it is just plain Plum but not sure.  It is very green but sealed well.  I would like to rough turn then reseal.  Any unseen problems with doing this?  I have very little experience with fruit woods if this indeed is plum.


  • 27 Jan 2016 3:55 PM
    Reply # 3786015 on 3781132

    My limited experience with ornamental plum is it shrinks and cracks a lot.  I have finish turned while still green small thin walled bowls. They change shape a bit but the color is nice.  I have used walnut oil while sanding and as finish. RB

  • 28 Jan 2016 8:15 AM
    Reply # 3787418 on 3781132

    Thanks Randy.  I was hoping to hear better news but kind of figured being a fruit wood that it would have those characteristics.  I have no idea how the red gum description fits in.  I have rough turned the bowl into an open vessel leaving plenty of wall thickness and well sealed with anchorseal, keeping my fingers crossed.  It is a beautiful piece of wood.

    Thanks again..........Ralph

  • 28 Jan 2016 10:42 PM
    Reply # 3788614 on 3781132
    John Cobb (Administrator)

    Ralph, plum is beautiful and easy wood to turn.  I have found that the sap wood is prone to cracking however boiling for 2 hours can help.  Sounds like the bowls are roughed out and sealed so lets see what happens. You might want to put them in a paper bag for a couple months as well, kind of a belts and suspenders approach to slow even drying. Check the bag every week or two to make sure mold doesn't start up.  

    If the bowls do crack, I'm happy to help with fill material that looks good.

    John Cobb

  • 29 Jan 2016 9:08 AM
    Reply # 3789418 on 3781132

    Hi John and Randy,

    Thanks John for the info.  As it turns out I just got a reply from the wood source and it is not plum.  I had emailed the seller a few days ago but had not received a reply until yesterday.  Here is his description:

    It is not a fruit tree, plum describes the color it is Liquidambar styraciflua, commonly called Red gum, American sweetgum and even alligator wood. it is heavy, straight, satiny, and close-grained, but not strong like the maples or cherry. It takes a beautiful polish, but can warp badly in drying.

    I will try the paper bag method as you suggest as it is a beautiful piece of wood.  I'll let you guys know how it turns out.

    Best Regards...............Ralph

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