Arbutus: Can you build a house from arbutus trees?

Discussion in 'Ericaceae (rhododendrons, arbutus, etc.)' started by onequickquestion, Oct 2, 2009.

  1. onequickquestion

    onequickquestion Member

    Messages:
    2
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Duncan Canada
    I know it is hard to find a strait piece of arbutus, but they are out there.
    Also arbutus gives off toxic fumes when it is burnt, but can you live in a house made of them? If you don't have an answer then leave your opinion, I want to know what everyone thinks.
     
  2. M. D. Vaden

    M. D. Vaden Active Member 10 Years

    Messages:
    843
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Beaverton, Oregon
    One thing comes to mind after reading your post - birds. Pet birds.

    Madrone is on my safe woods for pet birds page:

    http://www.mdvaden.com/bird_page.shtml

    The page is supported by many parrot websites and folks who raise pet birds. People who really know their bird stuff. And birds are pretty delicate to stuff with toxins. So my guess is that if Madrone is safe for pet birds to perch on and chew on in their cages and playstands, it's probably fine for people.

    My computer case and couch do well in a room with me, but they would give off toxins too if they were burned.

    IMO

    Mario
     
  3. Michael F

    Michael F Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator 10 Years

    Messages:
    11,065
    Likes Received:
    309
    Location:
    Britain zone 8/9
    There's also the matter of sustainability - building a house from the wood would need so much that it would likely make the species regionally extinct. And given the reputation the species has for being very difficult to cultivate, re-establishment of replacement plantings wouldn't be feasible.
     
  4. onequickquestion

    onequickquestion Member

    Messages:
    2
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Duncan Canada
    Where I live (Vancouver Island) there is no shortage of arbutus trees.
    anyhow, I will rephrase my question. Is it possible to build a house from arbutus trees?
     
  5. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

    Messages:
    20,668
    Likes Received:
    549
    Location:
    WA USA (Z8)
    It cracks when you dry it.
     
  6. Eric La Fountaine

    Eric La Fountaine Contributor UBC Botanical Garden Forums Administrator Forums Moderator 10 Years

    Messages:
    3,495
    Likes Received:
    206
    Location:
    Vancouver
    It is very hard and difficult to work with. As Ron said it cracks when you dry it. It would be safe though, the wood is used to make spoons and cooking utensils. It is pretty, but there are actually nicer woods for building houses.
     
  7. LPN

    LPN Well-Known Member 10 Years

    Messages:
    1,524
    Likes Received:
    10
    Location:
    Courtenay, Vancouver Island
    The practicality just isn't there. You'd cut trees far beyond what could actually be used, so waste would be extremely high. Cutting cured Madrone requires constant sharpening of saws (very hard wood). Maybe flooring would be a alternative? ... as I heard about one such venture years ago on the Saanich penninsula. Apparently a magnificent sight and quite unique.

    Cheers, LPN.
     
  8. soccerdad

    soccerdad Active Member 10 Years

    Messages:
    479
    Likes Received:
    17
    Location:
    Vancouver, BC, Dunbar area
    West Wind Hardwoods near Sidney (BC) sells it at times, but for $4.50 Cdn per bf. I assume that you have a stand on your own land that you plan to harvest. Sounds like a lifetime project.
     

Share This Page