I'm not exactly sure of the composition of the crystals, but I can
attest that they are perfectly normal when turning aromatic cedar
(actually a juniper). They appear to be an extrusion caused by sap
leaving the piece and outgassing on the surface - I've seen them up to
an inch long on larger pieces. A word of warning here - if you like
to turn green wood and microwave dry it, DO NOT attempt to do this
with aromatic cedar. The gases that are produced by heating the cedar
are highly flammable, and I had a piece actually ignite and blow the
door open once several years ago. Also, if you allow the sap that
seeps out to overheat and burn, you'll add a "permanent" scent to your
microwave and shop.
On Tue, 13 Jan 1998 22:01:46 -0800, "Martin H. Eastburn"
>Sounds like slow evap around open pores.
>They aren't oils - but 'salt cedar' comes to mind.
>I suspect the tree absorbed real salt from the ground
>and evap'd into the crystals, or another chemical (a salt family member)
>is it. e.g. Magnesium sulfate.....