Olive

Olea europea

Trade Names

Olive, Genuine Olive

Similar Woods

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Origin

Olivetree is one of the oldest cultigen in the world. As its cultivation had already started in prehistoric times, it is not possible any more to reconstruct the borders of its natural growing range. In principle though, the Mediterranean area can be seen as the area in question.

Range

Entire Mediterranean area. Most of the time, Olivetrees do not grow straight and are knotty. They can reach a height up to 20 m in the south, whereas they stay smaller in the northern parts. As the main use of the Olivetree is the oil extraction, appreciation of its wood itself is totally insignificant. Consequently, usable lengths of more than 1 meter are very rarely to be found.

Uses

Usually, the very decorative Olive wood is used for arts and crafts. In Spain and Italy, local importance for the veneer industry in lengths up to 1 m, i.e. mainly used for inlays and occasional furniture there. Veneer lengths exceeding 220 cm are extremely rare and consequently expensive. These are only used for decorative interior work.

Properties

The wood is of a yellowish basic shade and is extremely decorative due to fine dark veins spreading irregularly over the surface, thus creating a beautiful effect when larger surfaces are concerned. Frequent checking, however, extremely complicates the manufacturing process of this wood .

Machining

Difficult, due to the frequent irregular direction of fiber growth and the extreme hardness of the wood.

Seasoning

Very problematic due to frequent checking and cell collapse. Must be dried very slowly.

Finishing

Varnishes present no difficulties.

Jointing

Difficult at times due to oil inclusion in the wood. Attention must be paid to avoid checking.
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