Mulberry...non-fruit bearing. Hard/Soft? - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
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post #1 of 15 Old 03-19-2018, 12:26 PM Thread Starter
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Mulberry...non-fruit bearing. Hard/Soft?

Hi folks. I have many, many NFB mulberry trees on my property...everyone else have the fruit bearing kind.

I am told it's my fault the purple rain exists in our area because my males pollinate everything...giggle.

Question...I've begun to take down a few of the older ones, 35 years old+. Is mulberry a hard or soft wood, where does it fall along that scale and is it good for projects and the like?

Thanks for any reply.

Biz

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post #2 of 15 Old 03-19-2018, 12:44 PM
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I like it...for many "kitchen" related wood items from "stump style" butcher block on through to carved bowls. It is fairly well profiled online now as to the many use applications...

Here is a good starting point: Wood Data Base: Mulberry
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post #3 of 15 Old 03-19-2018, 02:44 PM
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My experience is with white mulberry: hardwood, coarse grained, hard and strong, likes to shrink and split, very yellow.
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post #4 of 15 Old 03-19-2018, 02:45 PM
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One is male and the other is female. It takes two to tango.

Don in Murfreesboro, TN.
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post #5 of 15 Old 03-19-2018, 02:49 PM
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That link to lumber info is a good one. I use that site all the time!

I have worked with mulberry a bit. It is a bright yellow color, with lighter sapwood. Ages to a burnt orange. It likes to twist and check while drying, so if you have some milled put it on the bottom of the lumber pile if you can, and seal the ends.

I did make some spoons and even turned a bowl from it. I don't really like it for spoons, since it has lots of open pores. It's a nest color though, and is pretty hard once dried - about as hard as oak, I believe, with a similar grain structure.

One thing I could see it being really good for is outdoor furniture. Mulberry is rated to be very resistant to rot. There is even reference to it being "wood that doesn't rot" in the Bible.

I believe there is also a tradition of furniture making in Japan that values mulberry wood for its gold color.

I attached a picture of a few spoons I made from mulberry (ignore the walnut one).
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post #6 of 15 Old 03-19-2018, 05:25 PM
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All mulberry around here is known as being very weak hardwood trees.
A relatively cheap, fast growing tree for quick shade.
Limbs break in a medium high wind.
Iím really baffled by earlier post claiming Mulberry resistant to rot. After about 50 years, these trees start to rot while still standing and growing. Obviously has a lifespan of about 50 years.

If you don't have time to do it right the first time, when will you have time to do it over?
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post #7 of 15 Old 03-19-2018, 10:35 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BIZNAWICH View Post
Hi folks. I have many, many NFB mulberry trees on my property...everyone else have the fruit bearing kind.

I am told it's my fault the purple rain exists in our area because my males pollinate everything...giggle.

Question...I've begun to take down a few of the older ones, 35 years old+. Is mulberry a hard or soft wood, where does it fall along that scale and is it good for projects and the like?

Thanks for any reply.

Biz
The term hardwood has little to do with whether the wood is hard or soft. There is a lot of hardwood that is softer than pine. Except for a few exceptions the term hardwood has to do with whether the tree has leaves that come off in the fall and mulberry trees do shed their leaves. Although the wood is soft it is considered a hardwood. Silly rule since magnolia and eastern cedar is a hardwood. They mainly just try to separate it from the evergreen conifer wood.
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post #8 of 15 Old 03-19-2018, 11:26 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Toolman50 View Post
All mulberry around here is known as being very weak hardwood trees...I’m really baffled by earlier post claiming Mulberry resistant to rot. After about 50 years, these trees start to rot while still standing and growing. Obviously has a lifespan of about 50 years.
Life span, as I know it, is variety dependent with the Red Mulberry in the 50 year range and the White living to be over 100 years. As to rot resistant, they very much are and I have seen a number of outbuilding post and fences that where not "Locust" but actually Mulberry...

I use, and have found it rather strong and not weak at all, but that is just my experience in working this wood, and what I gotten from others that have. It pruning these trees, I can contest to issues with bark/limb inclusion and this does make a weak leader to trunk connection...

Its Janka hardness is very close to that of Locust at 1680 lbf but it is not as strong in modules of elasticity and compression and more like Douglas Fir...

Last edited by Steve Neul; 03-22-2018 at 07:08 PM.
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post #9 of 15 Old 03-20-2018, 07:24 AM
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Here in the UK, Mulberry trees are fairly rare. They were originally imported for the silk industry, but our climate not very suitable and labour costs too high. Raw silk was therefore imported. Trees I have seen bear fruit which tends to make a bit of a mess.
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post #10 of 15 Old 03-20-2018, 11:19 AM
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I watched a video a few years ago of an old craftsman from Turkey building musical instruments with mulberry.. (Lutes if I remember correctly)
Stunningly beautiful work..The guy was about 80 if a day old and carved the entire body from a solid chunk of mulberry.. I think I may have posted that video here once upon a time ..

Ah-HA! Here he is..

This may or may not be helpful, but at least entertaining..
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I figured it's time to change my signature so hold your breath. This is it.
Impressive, huh?

Last edited by allpurpose; 03-20-2018 at 11:23 AM.
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post #11 of 15 Old 03-20-2018, 12:59 PM
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I think of the lute video everytime some one talks about mulberry, thanks for posting it again.

If you want to know if a species is hardwood or softwood, look it up. Gymnosperm is a softwood, angiosperm is a hardwood. Woods aren't classified by corporations.
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post #12 of 15 Old 03-20-2018, 02:06 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by allpurpose View Post
I watched a video a few years ago of an old craftsman from Turkey building musical instruments with mulberry.. (Lutes if I remember correctly)
Stunningly beautiful work..The guy was about 80 if a day old and carved the entire body from a solid chunk of mulberry.. I think I may have posted that video here once upon a time ..

Ah-HA! Here he is..
https://youtu.be/3vUmbLfWZj4

This may or may not be helpful, but at least entertaining..
I hadn't ever seen this!!! Add that one to the list for sure...

Much Thanks,

j
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post #13 of 15 Old 03-20-2018, 06:18 PM
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I have many fruiting mulbreey trees with those little purple berries that stain everything. Had a white shetland pony that would hang out under the tree in the pasture and he started to look like he was dappled with so much purple. The mulberry here, is harder than many woods, marginally rot resistant. A branch can lay in the tall grass for a few years without getting punky. It turns ok. It is rare to find one large enough for lumber, so as a board it is fairly rare. They are dirty trees dropping dry dead branches all over the place and need pruning frequently. Kind of hard to tell the wood from black Locust, which in my opinion splinters easier than Mulberry. (Locust glows under a black light) Of course the bark is very different. It has a dull yellow color that eventually fades into tan The wood is coarse grained like Oak and locust. Every once in a while my local saw mill gets one that it saws up for skids.
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post #14 of 15 Old 03-20-2018, 06:31 PM
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Mulberries also make real good homemade hooch if you like drinking rot gut...
I made a batch a few years back and my then 7 year old grandson got into it when der mama weren't paying attention and got fairly lit up for a kid.. I'll probably never hear the end of that from my daughter.. lol
The trick to collecting enough berries is to lay a big piece of plastic sheeting under the tree then shake the branches good and hard. Put it in a big plastic bucket, smash it up good then strain out the juice and you have the makings for some good hooch for those times when you and your drunk buddies aren't too particular about what does the job.. lol
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I figured it's time to change my signature so hold your breath. This is it.
Impressive, huh?

Last edited by allpurpose; 03-20-2018 at 06:37 PM.
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post #15 of 15 Old 03-20-2018, 08:00 PM
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Growing up we had a neighbor with 3 huge mulberry trees. The fruit is like big sweet blackberries. My aunt would make mulberry pies for weeks.
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