Many thanks to long time contributor to this blog, Mr. Charles Fink, for sending us some handsome billets of Bois d’arc timber from Texas.




The unique properties of this wood (also known as osage orange)  will make some exceptionally strong ballista limbs.  They have been cut recently and Charles waxed their ends to help prevent checking as they dry out.  I have stored them in a cool area of the shop so that they have every chance of seasoning properly over the next year or so.

The authenticity police will no doubt censor us for using a New World wood on one of our Old World mechanisms, but, given the relative difficulty of obtaining high end timber these days, I am not overly concerned with their typically manic ravings.   The Romans must have had an enormous selection of premium timber from the ancient forests of their far flung empire.  We moderns are at a natural disadvantage when it comes to being choosy about the wood we utilize in these reconstructions.  Allowances must be made.

That being said, Phoenix’s first set of limbs will be made from white ash, just like Firefly’s.  All very authentic and tickety-boo.

It is important to let the new billets from Texas dry out slowly and completely before fashioning them into limbs.  Thanks again Charles!  They are some truly beautiful pieces of wood.  Just the right size for Phoenix and unbelievably straight grained for this species.

One Response to “Texan timber”

  1. Charles W. Fink says:

    You are welcome. At the base of that tree I found some of last falls fruit, seeds just beginning to sprout. I now have 18 (and counting) seedlings growing. I value them highly, for the tree was thornless, rare in my experience. Mature trees of extremely heavy and twisting limbs are hard enough to deal with without fear of being stabbed as well as crushed.

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