What Juniper Is Not

Juniper is not structural, clear or quarter sawn.   I just sold a group of juniper sixteen foot juniper timbers.  I sold them cheap and I am glad I did.  The quality was suitable for a pole barn in the mountains but even that was a stretch.  I have also been asked for clear (knot free) juniper and quarter sawn juniper.  As a juniper advocate, I would love to see a mandolin made from juniper.  When I look at the thousands of boards I have in the warehouse and not one is clear or vertical grain…the lesson sinks in.  I do not intentionally mill juniper 4×4 or 2×4 lumber.  It doesn’t stay straight.  I find that 6×6 and 1×6 do, somehow, work.  Even a 4×6 does not seem to readily “behave.”  This wood movement is frustrating to people wanting to work with juniper.  Building a pole barn or cabinet doors, a crooked log or a crooked board are a “challenge” if not ruinous.  There have been several commercial attempts to craft juniper veneer.  I supplied the cants for one of those endeavors.  Juniper veneer is not available on the market.  It just would not work.  The answer is to accept juniper for what it is.  It is beautiful, local and challenging.  It is not easy, normal or boring.  It is not cheap (count on 30-50% waste).  Juniper is not structural, clear or quarter sawn.