Olive
Common Name:Olive
Scientific Name:Olea spp. (Olea europaea, O. capensis)
Distribution:Europe and eastern Africa
Tree Size:25-50 ft (8-15 m) tall, 3-5 ft (1.0-1.5 m) trunk diameter
Average Dried Weight:62 lbs/ft3 (990 kg/m3)
Janka Hardness:2,700 lbf (12,010 N)
General Description
Cream to more or less yellowish brown is the notable coloration of the heartwood, with darker brown or black contrasting streaks. Color tends to deepen with age. Olive is somtimes noticed with curly or wavy grain, burl, or wild grain. Grain may be straight, interlocked, or wild. Fine uniform texture with moderate natural luster. Somewhat easy to work, though wild or interlocked grain may result in tearout during surfacing operations. Olive has high movement in service and is considered to have poor stability. Turns superbly. Glues and finishes well.
Sustainability
This wood species is not listed in the CITES Appendices or on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.
Market Value and usage
Prices are very high. Olive is hardly fell for lumber because of its high medicinal usage and economic importance of its fruit. Its timber availability is generally limited to pruned branches, trimmings, and diseased/storm damaged orchard trees. Short lumber, turning squares, and burls are occasionally available from wild trees, as well as the closely related East African Olive (O. capensis). It is an excellent turnery wood, and is used for a wide range of decorative items.
Durability
Conflicting reports range from non-durable/perishable to durable/moderately durable. Olive is susceptible to insect attack. The Guinness Book of World Records lists this tree as the world's heaviest wood, with a specific gravity of 1.49, similar to that of anthracite or dry earth. It is known for its tendency to sink in water, unlike other wood materials. It is also the one of the world's hardest woods according to the Janka hardness test. The timber has a good abrasion resistance and is very strong.
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