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Cutting Ironwood (Read 1,806 times)
 
Harris Gottlieb
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Cutting Ironwood
Dec 12th, 2009 at 2:32pm
 
A friend of mine gave me a piece of Ironwood about 5" round by 18" long.  What is the best way to cut it and will I have to replace the blade after I cut it?

Harris
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Freddie Hicks
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Re: Cutting Ironwood
Reply #1 - Dec 12th, 2009 at 3:15pm
 
Send it too me
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Freddie Hicks
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Re: Cutting Ironwood
Reply #2 - Dec 12th, 2009 at 3:17pm
 
I ain't seen a piece of wood yet that is a match for a sharp saw blade. Just cut it like any other wood, you might have to slow down the feed rate though
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Ken Vaughan
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Re: Cutting Ironwood
Reply #3 - Dec 12th, 2009 at 4:02pm
 

I am going to presume you are talking about desert ironwood from the Southwest or Mexico -- dense with high silica and it cuts nicely with a smooth surface with a good blade.  Table saw, band saw, chop box all work.   Because of the high silica it will accelerate the wear on a blade.   I like bimetalic bandsaw blades and carbide table saw blades for cutting high silica materials.

Note that ironwood on the east coast is more commonly hop hornbeam, which is a nice wood for handles, tools, etc - not much figure, but threads well.   Lie Nielson uses it for chisel handles.   Locust and persimmon have been called ironwoods also.
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Harris Gottlieb
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Re: Cutting Ironwood
Reply #4 - Dec 12th, 2009 at 4:06pm
 
It's actually from the SW desert. 

Harris
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JimQuarles
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Re: Cutting Ironwood
Reply #5 - Dec 12th, 2009 at 5:35pm
 
High silica content will dull tools more quickly than other woods.  Cut slowly or it will heat up the saw blade and that increases dulling.  If turning, I recommend using EasyWood carbide tools.

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john Taylor
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Re: Cutting Ironwood
Reply #6 - Dec 12th, 2009 at 6:01pm
 
I've got a pile of small pieces of sonoran ironwood and I've had to do a LOT of sawing attempting to get past cracks to solid wood...

Oddly, I've had no trouble sawing, just a slow feed rate.  I use conventional bandsaw blades and while they dull a little faster, it really isn't all that bad.  Turning is an entirely different issue.  I agree wholeheartedly that carbide is the only way to go.  If you don't have Craig's tools, get some.  The new mini's would be perfect for the smallish pieces you'll get from a 5" diameter log.
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« Last Edit: Dec 12th, 2009 at 6:01pm by john Taylor »  
 
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Ken Vaughan
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Re: Cutting Ironwood
Reply #7 - Dec 13th, 2009 at 11:55am
 

If the desert ironwood you have is like some I have worked, you should perfect the epoxy and coffee ground technique or the CA glue and coffee ground technique.  I am biased towards the epoxy because of some longer term challenges with CA that has cooked in the sun - 

Great blessing with opporunity and some fantastic color and grain opportunity.  If you have sapwood (light cream) be sure to use it in your designs.  It is just as darn hard as the heartwood in what I have turned.
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john Taylor
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Re: Cutting Ironwood
Reply #8 - Dec 13th, 2009 at 12:41pm
 
Oh yeah, epoxy and more epoxy.  Grin  I've also found if you use thin CA in the cracks first, then follow with epoxy and filler of your choice, you don't have chunks flying around the shop.  It's almost pathetically funny to take a 8" x 20" log into the bandsaw and end up with maybe one  2 or 3 x 4 bowl blank, a half dozen pen blanks, and a pile of firewood.   But the finished pieces are truly beautiful wood.

We have a local "ironwood" (mountain mahogany) that might as well be granite.  There is so much silica that it throws sparks when you're turning.  Shocked  Can't run the dust collector for fear of setting the shop on fire.  It's bad enough that our friends think we're crazy for some of the things we'll try to do in a lathe, but it's worse when we start thinking we really ARE crazy.   The ironwoods do that to a person.
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