Properties of Timber: Holly

The timber of the holly is very white and compact, which adapts it well for many purposes in the arts. It is very retentive of its sap,and warps in consequence, so it needs to be well dried and seasoned before use.

It takes a durable colour, black, or almost any other, and is much used by cabinet-makers in making what are called 'strings' and 'borders' in ornamental works.

When properly stained black, its colour and lustre are nearly as good as ebony.

For the turner, and for the manufacture of 'Tunbridge Ware' it is also much used, and after box and pear wood, it is the best wood for engraving upon, as it is close and stands the tool well.

The slowness of its growth, however, makes it an expensive timber.

The bark of holly contains a lot of viscid matter, and when macerated in water, fermented, and then separated from the fibres, forms bird-lime.

summarised from "The Library of Entertaining Knowledge - Timber trees" (1829), pub. Charles Knight, Pall Mall.

ND, habitat21

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