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Olive wood... where do I start?


My mom is from Sardinia, and my parents own a place there which we use for vacations. We know a lot of people over there,
most of which own quite some property with vines and cork oak or olive trees. Now my parents went to buy some wood for our
stove the last fall, and some friends told them where to buy it. There's a guy who has a bunch of old olive trees laying around that were
cut down because they got sick, transportet to his lot and are laying there (in pretty dry conditions) for at least a decade.

I am thinking of going there and getting some big chunks of wood and try to make a pipe or a couple of that wood. But how do I start?
I know a little about how to check for cracks and stuff, but what else? We're talking about trees that were between 150 and 350 years old.

I don't know if I have the skill to actually make a pipe out of that stuff, but I'll sure want to try if I can lay my hands on that wood.
apparently, the guy doesn't really care about the wood, because what I've seen getting burned in that stove already looks like
some really great grain. and the wood was so dense that it took a lot of effort to actually get it to burn.

I really don't know how to go about that project, but the wood will be dirt cheap so if it's got a couple of parts that are suitable
for pipe making, I just feel like I have to give it a try.

any suggestions? BTW prices are gonna be like 200 € for a m³.


I would just look for pieces that aren't cracked, pieces that look clean. Olive is nice to work with, it cuts beautifully. If there's an obvious difference in density/porosity I would choose the heavier stuff - olive can be a little bit "wicky" where the tars seep through the pores, in my experience.

Ozark Wizard

Active Member
I would look for larger older chunks that have signs of cracks on the end grain and are surprisingly light for their size. That generally indicates that the wood has dried out. The cracked ends can be cut off. Stay clear of Burl's or obvious knots. They are usually rife with pitch pockets that won't reveal themselves until you are just about finished shaping. If you can actually look at growth rings, tighter is better than open. The higher the ring count per cm tells you the tree was over all growing through dryer years and it will be denser material. Also less prone to pitch. I know variance in colour shades is pretty too, but that also indicates density difference and the potential to "blow up" during working or crack while smoking. If you're able to get your hands on some 300 year old stock, definitely grab some. That's just cool! Hope this helps...