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Of Blackwood, Ebony, Pink Ivory, and Snakewood (Read 1,574 times)
 
Roger Turnbough
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Of Blackwood, Ebony, Pink Ivory, and Snakewood
Aug 18th, 2005 at 10:05am
 
Hey all,

I have some wax covered billets of the above woods, but have never turned any of it.  Bought it for finials, and smallish bird houses.  Any tips or tricks to working with this stuff?  How bout drying it when using it for finials and small accent pieces?  Any and all help would be greatly appreciated.

Roger
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Chris Wright
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Re: Of Blackwood, Ebony, Pink Ivory, and Snakewood
Reply #1 - Aug 18th, 2005 at 10:37am
 
Hey Roger,

You named off some of the most expensive woods in turning there buddy.  All very nice stuff.  As for drying, since they are all dense and somewhat brittle.  I'd recommend drying them the traditional way by air drying.  Heating them (by microwave or oven techniques) would definitely split them, especially the ebony and blackwood.

I use wire shelves for air drying so the air can circulate around the entire piece.  Once they are ready, use very sharp tools and clean cuts.  Being dense, cut don't scrape them and you'll get a 320 finish straight off the tool. (I still start sanding at 150-220 though just to make sure).

Another note, if the wax is covering the entire piece, remove all of it except what is covering the end grain and about 1/2"-1" up the side grain.  If not, then it will take forever for the piece to dry.
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E. Bud Gillaspie
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Re: Of Blackwood, Ebony, Pink Ivory, and Snakewood
Reply #2 - Aug 18th, 2005 at 12:29pm
 
Chris has given you good council. I'd underscore sharp tools.

If you have a moisture meter then check your wood every week or so. I turn those woods when the moisture is in the neighborhood of 12%.

You don't have to spend a bundle for a moisture meter. I have an HF meter that's quite accurate.

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Philip Peak
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Re: Of Blackwood, Ebony, Pink Ivory, and Snakewood
Reply #3 - Aug 18th, 2005 at 2:15pm
 
I am wondering how long you have had the wood.  It may be fairly dry already.
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Tom Stover
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Re: Of Blackwood, Ebony, Pink Ivory, and Snakewood
Reply #4 - Aug 18th, 2005 at 3:51pm
 
When I turn ebony I always expect it to crack. It could be the heat from turning and sanding or some other condition, but every ebony pen I have made cracked, not immediately but months later.  Pink ivory could turn a light brown.
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Rev. Doug Miller
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Re: Of Blackwood, Ebony, Pink Ivory, and Snakewood
Reply #5 - Aug 18th, 2005 at 7:19pm
 
With all of these, heat is the enemy.  As stated above, keep the tools sharp, apply as little pressure as possible when sanding, and you might consider using wax during the sanding process.   8)
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Ned A from South GA
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Re: Of Blackwood, Ebony, Pink Ivory, and Snakewood
Reply #6 - Aug 19th, 2005 at 1:52am
 
Under Chris's suggestion, I have taken to sanding using paste wax and a light touch when working the above woods and have had good success.

However, even leaving them in the car in the heat of the day can lead to cracks forming. Or so I have read anyway.
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« Last Edit: Aug 19th, 2005 at 1:53am by Ned A from South GA »  

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Roger Turnbough
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Re: Of Blackwood, Ebony, Pink Ivory, and Snakewood
Reply #7 - Aug 19th, 2005 at 3:29am
 
Quote:
I am wondering how long you have had the wood.  It may be fairly dry already. 



Morning all,

Phil,  I picked up this material from West Penn Hardwoods at the symposium last month.  So its likely that the MC is 20-30% or higher.  So looks like it might take a couple years for this stock to dry enough for me to work with it. 

Where have all of you been getting dry material to work with in decent thicknesses?

I really appreciate everyones comments on this and look forward to hearing more.

Roger
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Ned A from South GA
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Re: Of Blackwood, Ebony, Pink Ivory, and Snakewood
Reply #8 - Sep 1st, 2005 at 11:19pm
 
If they are small peices, they should dry fairly quickly. You could take them in the house where the relative humidity tends to be less, thought with the price of wood, it might be better just to leave them in your shop and let nature take it's course.

I have had small peices (3/4 X 3/4 X 5 or so) dry in a few months after being cut from the tree, though they were local species, not dense exotics. Of course it all changes based on where you live.
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