TurningBlanks.Net Store Newsletter - October 2013
Sunday , 30 November 2014 , 10 : 32 AM
TurningBlanks.Net Store Newsletter
October 2013 Edition
Focus on Wood - Rainbow Cottonwood

Flat Sawn

Quarter Sawn

End Grain

General Information:

Cottonwood is typically a light colored wood.  In rainbow cottonwood, however, the heartwood of the tree is stained a wide variety of colors.  Red, yellow, orange, blue, purple, grey, green and black appear in streaking patterns throughout.  This sort of staining is extremely rare in cottonwood.

Common Name(s):

Rainbow cottonwood


24 lb/ft3  -Low density


350 lbft - Soft

Specific Gravity:


Turning Properties:

Cottonwood turns very easily, due to its low density and hardness.  This does, however, make the wood likely to tear out when cutting across areas of end grain while turning.  Sharp tools are required to produce a cleanly cut surface.

Drying Properties:

Cottonwood, in general, has a tendency to distort moderately during the drying process, but little tendency to crack or check.  Rainbow cottonwood has an elevated moisture content, which will require longer drying times than standard cottonwood.  For best results, this wood should be dried a bit more slowly to produce the best results.

Sanding Properties:

Sands very easily.  For removing tool marks, 60  grit sandpaper is recommended.  Will sand to a medium luster, usually requiring grits no higher than 600 to achieve satisfactory results.  As with all soft woods, care should be taken to thoroughly wipe the woods surface prior to switching to finer grits of sandpaper.  This will ensure that grit from the sandpaper doesn't get embedded in the wood's surface, causing finer grits to be less effective at removing scratches from prior sanding steps.

Finishing Properties:

Readily accepts most stains and finishes.


No toxicities are known to be associated with cottonwood/rainbow cottonwood.

All archived monthly newsletters do not include the following:

  • Business updates
  • Recently added woods and schedule of upcoming woods
  • Photo of the month contest results
  • Discounts and upcoming sales information

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