The Crepe Myrtle is typically thought of as an ornamental shrub or small tree. It grows in warm climates like those in the south of Europe and the United States. The various strains of the Crepe Myrtle produce a variety of beautiful flowers. The tree itself has a very hard wood that can be used in craft applications.
The Crepe Myrtle tree, with the scientific name Lagerstroemia indica, can be as short as 3 feet or as tall as 200 feet at maturity depending on the species and how it is pruned. It is a relatively hardy plant and requires only a minimum of maintenance. Its beautiful flowers make it a stunning ornamental plant, and its rather hard wood makes it useful for crafts.
Crepe Myrtle Wood is a tough wood. The tree can grow to have as much as a 10-inch diameter and so you commercially obtain blocks which you can turn on your lathe. You can make beautiful bowls or can turn elegantly proportioned pieces to reside on your coffee or end table. You can also turn chair or railing pieces, although since it is not the most abundant wood you may have difficulty finding enough.
Working with Branches
The toughness of Crepe Myrtle wood makes the branches appropriate to use for canes. After removing the bark, you can sand the wood to a softly glowing finish. Working in a good oil, like walnut oil, will darken the wood and give you a beautiful cane or walking stick. You will have to either cut the tree yourself or know someone has fallen a tree. Commercial agencies will not have branches in stock. After hurricane Katrina in New Orleans, many Crepe Myrtles were blown down and crafters had an ample supply for many years.
Carving the Wood
It is also possible to carve Crepe Myrtle wood. Because it is a relatively hard wood, be sure your tools are sharp and in good condition before starting. The compact grain means that you can carve statuettes, automobiles or anything else you would like as long as you are very careful.
- Photo Credit street lamp image by palms from Fotolia.com
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