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aostling
06-04-2008, 01:28 AM
A large mesquite fell over near my house. The ground crew cut it up with a chainsaw, but the remaining stump is too heavy for any four men to lift. It is oozing sap, as I think most trees can do.

Mesquite is an ornery wood. Its sap could have some magical properties. Perhaps as a varnish on a fine musical instrument? What do you think, Frank?

I could let it harden to amber. If you had a big hunk of mesquite amber, what would you make with it?

http://i168.photobucket.com/albums/u183/aostling/mesquitesap.jpg

dp
06-04-2008, 02:21 AM
The beauty of amber is in what it makes of itself. But for your sap to become amber you must let it be for 30 or so million years. Along the way it will go from sap to copal to amber. You don't rush fossils :)

bhjones
06-04-2008, 02:25 AM
I'd make a fire with it and burn the stump out of the way. Maybe put a grill over the fire and cook some steaks on it.

wierdscience
06-04-2008, 02:25 AM
Sell it as a cure for something and someone will buy it:D

aostling
06-04-2008, 03:10 AM
The beauty of amber is in what it makes of itself. But for your sap to become amber you must let it be for 30 or so million years. Along the way it will go from sap to copal to amber. You don't rush fossils :)

I've seen the polished specimens of kauri gum at the museum in Matakohe http://www.kauri-museum.com/. I agree, with a little polishing they need no further improvement.

I didn't know about copal. In 1991 I found a blob of hardened sap on a cholla cactus. This is rare -- I've never seen sap on any cactus since. That blob is now rock hard and about half its original diameter, copal I presume. I suppose the transformational hardening is as much a chemical as a drying process, but I don't know. Something I will look into.

Cholla (a.k.a. jumping cactus) is diabolical, the most wicked plant on the planet. I've been meaning to polish that hunk as a special charm.

ERBenoit
06-04-2008, 09:44 AM
You don't rush fossils :)

Really? The kids tell me I'm a fossil. And every day is Rush, Rush, Rush. :rolleyes:

Lew Hartswick
06-04-2008, 11:47 AM
I didn't know about copal. In 1991 I found a blob of hardened sap on a cholla cactus. This is rare -- I've never seen sap on any cactus since. That blob is now rock hard and about half its original diameter, copal I presume. I suppose the transformational hardening is as much a chemical as a drying process, but I don't know. Something I will look into..
Just between us southwest inhabitants, which Cholla was it?
For the edification of the rest of the country, there are a bunch of
different chollas.
...lew...

dp
06-04-2008, 03:10 PM
Cholla (a.k.a. jumping cactus) is diabolical, the most wicked plant on the planet. I've been meaning to polish that hunk as a special charm.

I know from my motorcycle racing days in the California desert about jumping cholla - they come out of nowhere. The spines will embed themselves in your legs through your leathers and whole limbs will stay with you for the entire ride. Needle nose pliers are needed before you can remove your leathers because they are well stitched to you. Horrid things!

PTSideshow
06-04-2008, 03:16 PM
You can always use it in a mix for making pitch for repouseť and chasing.

Frank Ford
06-04-2008, 03:20 PM
Aostling -

I have very little experience with natural varnishes, but there might be a use for this sap among those who do mix their own. It might be an interesting topic for posting in one of the fine woodworking forums, or violin maker places.

aostling
06-04-2008, 04:16 PM
Just between us southwest inhabitants, which Cholla was it?

It was Opuntia bigelovii, the dread Teddy-bear cholla. As you know, Teddy-bear spines have almost-invisible fishhook barbs on the ends. When one spine penetrates and the victim instinctively recoils, a whole clump comes loose from the cactus and sticks to your skin.

The best way to dislodge the clump is to get underneath it with a wide-tooth comb (like those intended for afros) and flick it off. Then you can spend ten minutes or so plucking out the individual spines. The ones that break will fester into pus pockets a few days later.

aostling
06-04-2008, 04:52 PM
Aostling -
It might be an interesting topic for posting in one of the fine woodworking forums, or violin maker places.

I encourage you to call me by my name. I'd change my forum ID to be Allan Ostling, but that is not possible.

Amber strikes me as nature's gift to the machinist, too. According to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amber


The Vienna amber factories which use pale amber to manufacture pipes and other smoking tools, turn it on a lathe and polish it with whitening and water or with rotten stone and oil.

Perhaps it was the Delrin of earlier centuries.

dp
06-04-2008, 05:31 PM
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amber Interesting info on that page. I did not know there was blue amber. The oldest stuff is also a lot older than I thought it could be. I used to have a lot of it when I was a kid in the 1950's, and it was easy to find in hobby shops and gem stores as a grab bag item, but it seems since the movie Jurassic Park came out it's become very pricey. Especially if it has insects in it.

steve45
06-04-2008, 08:56 PM
If you could just find a piece that looks like the Virgin Mary or something, you could make a fortune on Ebay!:)

aostling
06-04-2008, 09:41 PM
If you could just find a piece that looks like the Virgin Mary or something, you could make a fortune on Ebay!:)

How about a twofer? This is the hunk of "amber" from the jumping cactus, looks sort of like the Virgin Mary holding the infant Jesus.

http://i168.photobucket.com/albums/u183/aostling/AmberMary.jpg

Lew Hartswick
06-05-2008, 12:02 AM
It was Opuntia bigelovii, the dread Teddy-bear cholla. As you know, Teddy-bear spines have almost-invisible fishhook barbs on the ends. When one spine penetrates and the victim instinctively recoils, a whole clump comes loose from the cactus and sticks to your skin.

Aw Yesss! That was our (my wife of only a few months) first experience
with the cute buggers. Back in 1957 on our trip through the SW she
touched one and fortunately I had a good pair of needle nose pliers
with which I pulled it out . We both have been very carefull of them
ever since. :-) But they look so soft and almost cuddley. :-)
...lew...

kendall
06-05-2008, 03:52 AM
It was Opuntia bigelovii, the dread Teddy-bear cholla. As you know, Teddy-bear spines have almost-invisible fishhook barbs on the ends. When one spine penetrates and the victim instinctively recoils, a whole clump comes loose from the cactus and sticks to your skin.

The best way to dislodge the clump is to get underneath it with a wide-tooth comb (like those intended for afros) and flick it off. Then you can spend ten minutes or so plucking out the individual spines. The ones that break will fester into pus pockets a few days later.

Years ago, I was 24-25, had a girlfriend who was still living at home. Went to a buddies wedding and reception. Ended up getting late and had to get the GF home fast. Took a shortcut through a two trak on the old trusty 750 honda, curvy dirt seasonal road. Saw something in the headlight so I slowed down a bit, it was a porcupine, managed to miss that one, but there were two others, one I ran right over with the front tire, and the other I hit with my left foot. Flattened the tire, and pinned my boot to my foot with about a hundred quills. Ended up pushing the bike into the brush and walking her to the next farm where we bummed a ride to her house. Took over four hours to get me boot off, ended up cutting it away, pull some quills, cut some more boot, pull some more quills etc. Couldn't walk right for a month. Worse pain Ive ever been through, I'd happily fight with the cholla cacti again. (was raised in arizona/new mexico)

Another nasty prickly experience, was teaching my step daughter how to ride a motorcycle, and for some reason I was wearing shorts. Riding behind so I could grab the bars. Somehow she missed a curve and we ended up in a briar patch, by the time I got us and the bike out (piggy backed her out, then got the bike)my legs were completely covered in blood . that was the absolute last time I jumped on a bike in shorts. (wife learned that lesson last year, put her leg on the muffler, still has the burn scar)


Ken.