Arbutus spp.

 

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Family: Ericaceae

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Madrone

 

 

 

The genus Arbutus contains about 15 species with 5 in North America and about 10 in Europe and western Asia.

Arbutus arizonica : Arizona Madrone, Arizona Madrono, Madrona

Arbutus menziesii: Arbuti Tree, Coast Madrone, Laurel, Laurelwood, Madrona, Madrona Burr, Madrone, Madrone Laurel, Madrone Tree, Madrono, Madrona, Manzanita, Pacific Madrone, Strawberry-tree

Arbutus texana : Laurel, Madrona, Madrone, Madrone Tree, Manzanita, Texas Madrone, Texas Madrono

Arbutus unedo: Strawberry Tree (Europe)

The following data is for Arbutus menziesii:

Distribution

Southwestern British Columbia and southward through Washington, Oregon and California in the coastal mountains.

The Tree

Pacific Madrone grows to 80 feet tall, with diameters of 2 to 3 feet. It has orange branches with shiny leaves, small white flowers in clusters and orange red fruits.

The Wood

General

Pacific Madrone sapwood is a pinkish-cream color, while the heartwood is light pink to red-brown with patches of deep red. It resembles fruit woods in color and texture.

 

Mechanical Properties (2-inch standard)

 

 

 

 

Compression

 

 

 

 

Specific

gravity

MOE

106 lbf/in2

MOR

lbf/in2

Parallel

lbf/in2

Perpendicular

lbf/in2

WML*

in-lbf/in3

Hardness

lbf

Shear

lbf/in2

Green

0.58

0.88

7600

3320

780

11.2

940

1420

Dry

0.69

1.23

1040

6880

1620

8.8

1460

1810

Reference (4).

*WML = Work to maximum load.

 

Drying and Shrinkage

Shrinkage (% of green)

Green, 0% MC

Green, 6% MC

Green, 12% MC*

Tangential

12.4

9.9

4.1

Radial

5.6

4.5

1.9

Volumetric

18.1

14.5

6.0

Pacific Madrone is difficult to season, as it warps and checks easily. Schedules for drying the wood green from the saw have been published (6 & 18). Smith (16) suggests air drying followed by kiln drying.

Kiln Drying Schedule:

Working Properties:

Pacific Madrone works well with all tools and polishes well, but is not easily glued. The wood is easily worked with tools and compares with hard maple and eastern white oak in ease of machining (3). Work at FPL (14) indicates that rotary cutting of veneer is feasible.

Durability:

The wood is not very durable, fence posts had an average service life of 6 years on the untreated condition (7).

Preservation:

No information available at this time.

Uses:

Turnery, bowls, novelties,souvenirs, tool handles, mathematical instruments, furniture and bowls. Burls are used for pipes and decorative veneers. Charcoal for gunpowder.

Toxicity:

No information available at this time.

Additional Reading and References Cited (in parentheses)

1. ASTM. 1955. Book of ASTM
standards. ASTM, Philadelphia, PA,
USA.

2. Boone, R.S., C.J. Kozlik, P.J. Bois &
E.M. Wengert. 1988. Dry kiln schedules
for commercial woods - temperate and
tropical. USDA Forest Service, FPL
General Technical Report FPL-GTR-57.

3. Davis, E.M. 1947. Machining of
Madrone, California laurel, tanbark oak,
and chinquapin. USDA Forest service,
FPL Report No. R1727.

4. Drow, J.T. 1957. Relationship of
locality and rate of growth to density and
strength of Douglas fir. USDA Forest
service, FPL Report No. 2078.

5. Elias, T.S. 1980. The complete trees
of North America, field guide and natural
history. Van Nostrand Reinhold Co.,
New York, 948 pp.

6. Espenas, L.D. 1954. The seasoning of
Oregon hardwoods. OR Forest Products
Lab. Inf. Circular No. 6, 35 pp.

7. Graham, R.D. 1950. Service life of
treated and untreated fence posts. OR
Forest Products Lab. Progress Rep. No.4.

8. Little, Jr., E.L.1979. Checklist of
United States trees (native and
naturalized). USDA Forest Service, Ag.
Handbook No. 541, USGPO,
Washington, DC.

9. Markwardt, L.J. and T.R.C. Wilson.
1935. Strength and related properties of
woods grown in the United States. USDA
Forest Service, FPL Tech. Bull. No.479.

10. Olson, W.Z. 1955. Gluing
characteristics of chinquapin, tanoak,
California laurel, and Madrone. USDA
Forest Service, FPL Rep. No. 2030.

11. Panshin, A.J. and C. de Zeeuw.
1980. Textbook of Wood Technology,
4th Ed., McGraw-Hill Book Co., New
York, 722 pp.

12. Record, S.J. and R.W. Hess. 1943.
Timbers of the new world. Yale
University Press, New Haven, 640 pp.

13. Schniewind, A.P. 1957. The strength
and related properties of Pacific Madrone
I. General description and strength
properties in the green condition. Univ. of
California, School of Forestry, Forest
products Laboratory, California Forestry
and Forest Products, No. 3.

14. Schowalter, W.E. Exploratory tests in
the rotary cutting of veneer from certain
California hardwoods. USDA Forest
Service, FPL Unpubl. Prog Rep. No.
WP-66.

15. Simpson, W.T. 1991. Dry kiln
operator's manual. USDA Forest Service,
FPL Ag. Handbook 188.

16. Smith, H.H. 1954. Seasoning
California hardwoods. USDA Forest
service, California Forest & Range Exp.
Sta., Tech. Pap. No. 3, 18 pp.

17. Summitt, R. and A. Sliker. 1980.
CRC handbook of materials science.
Volume 4, wood. CRC Press, Inc., Boca
Raton, FL. 459 pp.

18. Torgeson, O.W. 1950. Kiln-drying
schedules for 1-inch laurel, Madrone,
tanoak, and chinquapin. USDA Forest
Service, FPL Rep. No. R1684.

19. USDA Forest Service, FPL. 1955.
Wood handbook. Ag. Handbook No. 72. e