Milling lumber #2: Milling juniper


This is part 2 in a 2 part series: Milling lumber

  1. Big Pine
  2. Milling juniper

I got some juniper a while back from Sycamoray. Been slowly working through it, milling it into flat boards, mostly between 1/2 and 1/4 inch thick for a future project.

It looks pretty good off the saw, but it’s slow going. Today I bent one of my planer blades hitting a knot in the juniper, and then spent the rest of the morning doing maintenance work in the shop (dust collector and air filter were full too, and everything needed a good sweep). But I’ve got a couple dozen boards now, most of which will square up between 2 and 3 inches wide.

Here’s a bowl turned from the same stuff in December 2021 (so just about 18 months ago).

The reddish brown darkens, but still maintains some red, and the whitish sapwood yellows a bit. But overall, I think it’s pretty stuff, and I’m excited to get to work with it later this summer.

May you have the day you deserve!


Interesting, never used or had any Juniper.    Looks nice.  


Wow, I like! Would make interesting drawer parts.

Knowing how to use a tool is more important than the tool in and of itself. - Ron Aylor

Beautiful wood!

Ryan/// ~sigh~ I blew up another bowl. Moke told me "I made the inside bigger than the outside".

Nice, never had any Juniper, looks a lot like Yew.

Unlucky with the planer blade, always assumed they didn't care about knots much for some reason.

Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.

Nice! Interesting looking stuff.


juniper is a beautiful wood. cant wait to see what comes from it dave.

working with my hands is a joy,it gives me a sense of fulfillment,somthing so many seek and so few find.-SAM MALOOF.

Be interesting to see what comes out of this.

Main Street to the Mountains

Eastern Red Cedar is a juniper, for what it’s worth. Western Red Cedar is thuja. What I have is Rocky Mountain Juniper, which isn’t listed in the wood database, because trunks are generally small and full of bark inclusions. Hard to get furniture-grade lumber from it, and now that Sycamoray has given up his kiln, I probably won’t be getting much more.

As for what it will be, my hope is that by this winter I will have built a fireplace cover for the fireplace we got repainted summer of 2022. I’ve got a couple little models with radial pieces of juniper and heartwood and sapwood showing, and I’ve been milling much of this quartersawn in order to get both types of wood in most every board.

I’ve also been milling some Indian hardwood, but it’s treated with methyl bromide, so I’m not sure if I’m going to do much more with that or not. But it quartersaws beautifully, and it’s basically free, so I’m torn.

Doesn’t look bad rift-sawn, either.

Shame it’s got the MB of shame in the pallet markings.

May you have the day you deserve!

Unlucky with the planer blade, always assumed they didn't care about knots much for some reason.

Oh, and I had assumed the same, Mike. Now I know better.

May you have the day you deserve!

Oh, the other comment about the Rocky Mountain juniper I’m working with is that it’s brittle. I think the issue with the knot is that a big chunk of it came loose and rattled around inside the planer, causing mayhem until it got chewed up and spit out. But the end of the board that had previously had the knot in it looked like a cartoon shark had taken a big bite out of it when it emerged.

May you have the day you deserve!

Loose knots are a pain in the planer.  I've had them cause problem too.  

I've turned some ash juniper (aka mountain cedar)  which is native to Central and part of West Texas and it is a joy to turn.  As cedars go, it is actually fairly hard.  Eastern red cedar is pretty nice to turn too but you gotta turn it before it cracks if you want to make a bowl from it.  

--Nathan, TX. Hire the lazy man. He may not do as much work but that's because he will find a better way.

Wood selection is a personal choice, similar to furniture styles, no one choice appeals to everyone. For me, I find this wood appealing, very similar to my favorite - cherry. It darkens a deep red with age as does cherry, natural beauty that continues to improve as time goes on.
Too bad about the knots & planer blades, I know I would have spewed many choice words after discovering that. Good luck with all future use of this wood.
I’ve got almost a dozen pen blanks that have both heartwood and sapwood waiting to be turned, but I’ll probably mill more today, since the shop is already full of juniper dust I’ll have to clean up. But I’m hoping to get at least one nice pen out of it to give to my doctor, who’s retiring at the end of June.

Thanks, Tom. I’m going to give boards a flex before running them through the planer now, but I’ve got a set of infinity carbide blades in there now, so if those get dinged up, I’ll definitely have some choice words.

May you have the day you deserve!

Gorgeous colours in the timber 

Life’s Good, Enjoy Each New Day’s Blessings

I’ve turned a few pens from offcuts from the edges of these boards.

I like the way they’ve come out.

May you have the day you deserve!

Those are pretty. I made a sphere out a piece of juniper I found floating in a river a while back.  The friend I gave it to just loves the feel of it.  Juniper is of those tactile woods that people just want to handle so a pen is a great use for it.  

--Nathan, TX. Hire the lazy man. He may not do as much work but that's because he will find a better way.