Research shows that tree species now growing in North America existed long before the country was inhabited by man: maples as long ago as sixty million years; and poplars, oaks, pines, elms and possibly other trees grew here during the Ice Age. Greenland is named because of its trees, to differentiate from Iceland, which is almost without trees.
There are about 180 different species of trees in the United States that may be ranked as commercially important, although only relatively few species of wood are ordinarily readily available except in large cities.
The individual states of the United States have long recognized the importance of trees, and each state has selected a particular tree with which to identify itself. This has been done by acts of the state legislatures, by garden clubs, by vote of the people, or, in some cases, because it is the most prominent or most valuable tree growing in the state. New York State took the lead in 1889 in selecting the sugar maple as its official tree, and was followed by the other states.
Below, the states are listed alphabetically with the common name of the tree:
STATE COMMON NAME
Alabama – Longleaf pine
Alaska – Sitka spruce
Arizona – Blue paloverde
Arkansas – Shortleaf pine
California – California redwood
Colorado – Blue spruce
Connecticut – White oak
Delaware – American holly
District of Columbia – None (although sycamore and black cherry are mentioned on some lists)
Florida – Cabbage palmetto (cabbage palm)
Georgia – Live oak
Hawaii – Kukiu (candlenut)
Idaho – Western white pine
Illinois – Bur oak
Indiana – Tulip tree (yellow poplar)
Iowa – American black walnut
Kansas – Cottonwood
Louisiana – Southern magnolia
Maine – Eastern white pine
Maryland – White oak
Massachusetts – American elm
Michigan – Eastern white pine
Minnesota – Red pine (also called Norway pine)
Mississippi – Southern magnolia
Missouri – Dogwood
Montana – Ponderosa pine
Nebraska – American elm
Nevada – Singleleaf pinyon pine (aspen is also sometimes referred to as the state tree)
New Hampshire – White birch
New Jersey – Northern red oak
New Mexico – Pinyon pine
New York – Sugar maple
North Carolina – None (although yellow poplar is sometimes mentioned)
North Dakota – American elm
Ohio – Buckeye
Oklahoma – Eastern redbud
Oregon – Douglas fir
Pennsylvania – Eastern hemlock
Rhode Island – Red maple
South Carolina – Cabbage palmetto
South Dakota – Black Hills spruce
Tennessee – Tulip tree (yellow poplar)
Texas – Pecan
Utah – Blue spruce
Vermont – Sugar maple
Virginia – Dogwood
Washington – Western hemlock
West Virginia – Sugar maple
Wisconsin – Sugar maple
Wyoming – Balsam poplar (sometimes referred to by the general name “cottonwood”)
Source: “Know Your Woods” by Albert Constantine Jr.
I‘m happy to see we have a good number of reader’s comments and questions this week. As you know, it’s your contributions, like these that help make Wood Chip Chatter the informative Blog it is.
Our first comment this week comes from Heath about last week’s Blog on “Cleaning Paint Brushes.” Heath writes:
“Great info on cleaning brushes, thanks!”
I‘m glad it was helpful, Heath!
Our next comment comes from my friend Stephen Campbell about an older Blog on “Human Face & Body Proportions.” Stephen says:
“Thanks for the anatomy charts. I’ve always had problems with proportion and alignment such as eyes.”
You’re welcome, Stephen! I hope many other readers found it helpful as well.
Stephen also commented on how much he enjoying carving Gnomes lately:
I have fancied carving gnomes since I painted a male gnomes with my grandsons in Wichita at a Hobbie shop there. I liked your article about a female gnomes and will try to carve one. Maybe a grandma gnomes!
I really enjoy your Wood Chip site!”
Gnomes are fun subjects for wood carvers. There are lots of ways you can change them up and female Gnomes add more carving options. I‘m glad you’re enjoying Wood Chip Chatter!
This next entry is from my good friend Phyllis Stone who want to tell us about the Christmas tree ornaments he little group carves each year:
A small carving group I’m in, in Lancaster, in conjunction with the Lancaster County Woodcarvers, carve ornaments every year and decorate a small Christmas tree. We then donate the tree to our local hospice and the patients and family are given the opportunity to take an ornament and keep it as a remembrance. It’s been very popular for the last 12 years. I think between the 2 groups we carve about 100 or so ornaments each year.
It might be something other groups might be interested in doing. Oh, hospice always gives us the tree back so we don’t forget to carve ornaments the following year.
The picture is just of a few of us that go deliver the tree and decorate it on site.”
What a fun activity for any wood carving club or small group to do, and for an especially good cause right before the holidays. Unfortunately, your picture is blurry but we get the idea. Kudos to you and your group of carvers!
Our last entry comes from Robert Nesbitt in response to last week’s Blog on “Cleaning Paint Brushes.” Robert writes:
Another great lesson on care and cleaning of paint brushes. I also use the Master’s product and clean the brushes as you described. Like you I try to use good brushes as well, so my question to you is what brand to you prefer?
I also have been finishing my carvings with the mineral oil process as you wrote about. I need to get some photos out to you as well.
RJ Nes Carver”
Thank you for your kind comment, Robert! It is much appreciated.
The brushes I use are kind of middle of the road in price. You don’t need real expensive brushes as wood tends to be rough on them, but I don’t like the really cheap ones that often come in packaged sets. My favorite brand of brush is “Royal & Langnickel”, which I get in the craft store (Michael’s).
These brushes have synthetic (polyester) hairs, which are the best kind to be used with acrylic paints, and come with a clear plastic, comfortable soft-grip handle. They are available in many sizes and shapes such as shader, liner, spotter, round, etc.
Some natural hair brush brands I’ve used are “Golden Natural” and “Simply Simmons”, but the natural hair brushes don’t hold up as well as the synthetic ones and tend to get ratty quickly.
“Carver’s Corner” is the section where you can send in photos of your carvings to have them critiqued by me and get my truthful opinions on what you did right and where you might improve next time. It’s an excellent opportunity to improve your carving skills! Send your photos to email@example.com.
Since we don’t have any entries to the “Carver’s Corner” this week I thought I would just show you one of my elf ornament carvings, “Lars”, which was a top ribbon winner in both, regional and national competitions. I hope you like it.
“Photo Shop” is the section of Wood Chip Chatter where carvers can send in photos of their wood carvings for display. It’s your chance to show off your work…sort of a show and tell. The photos will only be displayed and no comments or critiques will be made. For critiques on your carvings send them in to the “Carver’s Corner.” Send your photos to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Our first (only) entry to the “Photo Shop” this week comes from Dean Stewart who carved a beautiful ring for a friend. Dean writes:
This boar carving is a ring. It’s a gift for a medieval re-enactor. The boar is their insignia. I originally intended to paint it but I didn’t think I could give it the look I wanted so the face stayed natural and the band is painted copper. Prior to painting is was coated in mineral oil. Once painted and dry it was finished with Howard’s Feed and Wax.”
It looks great, Dean! Nice detail in such a small carving. I’m sure you friend appreciated it.
News & Announcements
I would like to welcome all the new folks who became Wood Chip Chatter subscribers in the past month. I’m happy you have decided to join and experience all the unusual, fun and interesting information that will come your way every week.
Welcome aboard and thank you for subscribing!
Announcing that I will be at the Lancaster County Woodcarving & Wildlife Art Festival at Millersville University, Millersville, PA. March 12 & 13; Sat. 10 to 5, Sun. 10 to 4. Located in the Student Memorial Center, 101 Shenk Lane on your GPS (the entrance is across the street from this address). Masks are optional but not required as previously announced. I will be at Tables 67 & 68, so stop by and chat for awhile!
The International Association of Woodcarvers has upcoming Zoom meetings on the following Saturdays at 3PM EST with special guest presenters. Check them out…
3/5 – Rich Schneider
3/12 – Roger Beane
3/19 – Ray Meyer
3/26 – TBD
INTERNATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF WOODCARVERS
COME JOIN US!!!
WOOD CHIP CHATTER NEEDS YOUR PHOTOS!!!
I’m sure you all have some terrific carvings to share in my “Photo Shop” section. Photos of your carvings help to liven up the blog’s appearance and make it more interesting. Also, my “Carver’s Corner” is a great way to get constructive critiques on your carvings so you can learn where to improve on your next ones. When sending in photos please specify whether you want them for display in “Photo Shop” or if you want me to critique them in the “Carver’s Corner.” Send your photos in to email@example.com. Thanks!
KEEP THE CHIPS FLYING!!!
Send in your questions and comments so we can keep Wood Chip Chatter active and keep the conversations going! Effective discussions are one of the best ways to learn about the topics that interest you. Remember, there’s no such thing as a dumb question. Plus we would all love to learn about the unique tips, techniques and products YOU use in your woodcarving process. Send your questions and comments to firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks!
Keep a sharp edge and keep on carvin’!