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)
Specific Gravity (Basic, 12% MC): .72, .99
Janka Hardness: 2,700 lbf (12,010 N)
Modulus of Rupture: 22,530 lbf/in2 (155.4 MPa)
Elastic Modulus: 2,577,000 lbf/in2 (17.77 GPa)
Crushing Strength: 11,180 lbf/in2 (77.1 MPa)
Shrinkage: Radial: 5.4%, Tangential: 8.8%, Volumetric: 14.4%, T/R Ratio: 1.6
Color/Appearance: Heartwood is a cream or yellowish brown, with darker brown or black contrasting streaks. Color tends to deepen with age. Olive is somtimes figured with curly or wavy grain, burl, or wild grain.
Grain/Texture: Grain may be straight, interlocked, or wild. Fine uniform texture with moderate natural luster.
Endgrain: Diffuse-porous; small pores in no specific arrangement; solitary, and commonly in radial multiples of 2-3 or rows of 4 or more pores; yellow heartwood deposits present; growth rings may be distinct or indistinct; rays not visible without lens; parenchyma vasicentric, aliform, and confluent, though not distinct with lens.
Rot Resistance: Conflicting reports range from non-durable/perishable to durable/moderately durable. Olive is susceptible to insect attack.
Workability: 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.
Odor: Has a distinct, fruity scent when being worked.
Allergies/Toxicity: Although severe reactions are quite uncommon, Olive has been reported as a sensitizer. Usually most common reactions simply include eye and skin irritation.
Pricing/Availability: Because of the fruit’s economic importance, healthy, cultivated Olive trees (O. europaea) aren’t felled for lumber; 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). Prices are very high.
Sustainability: This wood species is not listed in the CITES Appendices or on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.
Common Uses: High-end furniture, veneer, turned objects, and small specialty wood items.
Comments: Olive trees are commercially important throughout the natural regions where they grow. There are several subspecies and hundreds of cultivars of Olea europaea; the olives harvested from the trees are made into olive oil. The mechanical data and density readings shown above are an average between Olea europaea and O. capensis.
Olivewood (Olea spp.) is sometimes confused with Russian Olive (Elaeagnus angustifolia), though it bears little relation to true Olive and is in an entirely different family of trees. Technically, Olive is a part of the Oleaceæ family and is more closely related to Ash (Fraxinus spp.) and Lilac (Syringa vulgaris).
You want your firewood to have a moisture content of approximately 20%. If the moisture content is lower than 15%, such wood might be too dry to use in wood fired ovens since overly dry wood converts heat energy to smoke. One of the ways to check the condition of the firewood is to see if the cut ends are dark or have small cracks- if that is the case, it means the wood is too dry. Wet or damp wood on the other hand will not burn well and additionally will produce lots of smoke. If the wood is still greenish, most likely it has not been cured properly or at all and you will end up with clouds of smoke.
If your wood has been rained on and you are now stuck with wet firewood, there is a way to dry it out. A day before you are planning to use your wood, place the pile in a recently used, still warm oven. This method will help you to literally bake all the dampness out by using the retained heat. Keep in mind to leave the oven door slightly open.
Why olive wood
Olive trees grow under the Mediterranean sun, benefiting from its climate. The trees tend to grow to be even centuries old, allowing the wood to mature and strengthen for maximum durability which is why olive wood is so hard, heavy and strong with a high overall density.
Since olive trees need to be pruned regularly, the offcuts make a perfect, eco- friendly material. And this is precisely how we work: we never cut down trees.
Olive wood burns longer than other types of wood due to high density and constant burning rate, with a specific gravity on average of 0.70 (ovendry weight/ green volume). Burning olive wood emits less carbon dioxide in comparison with other firewood. Moreover, the fire last up to 12 hrs.
Burning olive wood creates a unique scent and is characterized by an abundance of long- lasting flames comparing to other types of wood.
Olive wood’s quality is unmatched: so versatile, so different and it can be used in fireplaces, wood ovens, Argentinian grills, you name it.