View Full Version : Arizona Desert Ironwood

02-19-2013, 01:37 AM
I love Desert Ironwood. Who doesn't. But as a federally protected species that grows in a small area of the states. Where are people getting bulk quantities of it. My understanding is it is illegal to remove it from the desert whether it is dead or alive, standing or fallen, and less than 100 years old, with the exception of hobbyists, can take 3 <10lb pieces per year. But, somehow if you Google it everyone and there mother has it (its expensive but they have it). I live in Arizona, and camp in areas where it grows and it seems rare to see dead Ironwood granted I have not really "looked" for it (it is probably everywhere). I know the burls are highly sought after, so people must scavenge and pick it for personal use. I just don't get where people are getting it in bulk. Any insight would be appreciated.

Being that it is a fairly highly desired wood on KKF it seems like since I am so close to the source it would make sense to acquire some for myself, and others to use on upcoming projects. :confusedsign:

02-19-2013, 01:41 AM
Arizona Ironwood, Burl Source and Dream Burls all have some. Sometimes good finds are on ebay.

sachem allison
02-19-2013, 01:41 AM

02-19-2013, 01:49 AM
Its protected in Mexico too. Not like that stops them though. I know this because I have been to Nogales just south of Tuscon and it will make you appropriate leaving with your life, and maybe some wood...

But if you call Doug you can get it for free...


sachem allison
02-19-2013, 02:07 AM
trust me when I tell you protected means nothing in Mexico. One of my employees in Arizona used to make extra cash smuggling ironwood, Elephant trees and a bunch of other plant products into the states for landscapers and exotic lumber dealers.Made more money than smuggling drugs and a lot less competition. It also didn't stop a bunch of his other associates from going out onto the bombing range out in the Chocolate Mountains and stealing lumber, stripping copper wires and harvesting metals off of the old military compounds.

02-19-2013, 02:16 AM
The things people will do for money! It does seem profitable though. Was it an employee smuggling for you, or just personal gain? Tell them to hook up some Ironwood if they are still in AZ :)

sachem allison
02-19-2013, 03:08 AM
no, not smuggling for me:O He kinda, sorta disappeared and nobody has ever heard or seen him in years.

02-19-2013, 03:12 AM
Thats what happens when you get caught up in cartel. One minute you are smuggling hot wood over the boarder, the next you are dumped in the Sonoran desert to fight off cacti and scorpions.

Dream Burls
02-19-2013, 09:03 AM
Ironwood is definitely the preferred wood of many in this forum, myself included. The best place to look for blanks is Arizona Ironwood LLC. They seem to be able to get an endless supply and some of their pieces are amazing, but you'll pay for the privilege. You can also find pieces, from blanks to slabs, on eBay. I have a few pieces in my store and would love to get some more, but they are getting very expensive for all the reasons cited. I don't care for the Mexican ironwood as much as the Arizona, but that's something you can look at as well.

02-20-2013, 06:40 PM
I like ironwood especially with sapwood, but damn I need to start wearing gloves when I work with it. It turns my hands black and I have to wash them with baking soda to neutralize my skin so I can wash with dish soap and a scrub brush. And that only gets 90% if it off. I do however love the buff it takes and with a little carnuba it's bling city.

02-20-2013, 06:52 PM
Ironwood is incredible stuff. Cocobolo is a great alternative, though.

04-13-2013, 06:46 PM
Here are a couple of recent (this week) rehandle projects. One in flame maple and desert ironwood the other in ironwood with brass pins and mosaic that I made.

Kono HD 270 kiritsuke gyuto


Kanetsune Hankotsu


My Hiro AS 270 in ironwood burl with sapwood I did a couple of months ago


04-13-2013, 06:55 PM
Nicely done!

Dream Burls
04-13-2013, 06:57 PM
Very nice Mike. That flame maple is awesome. That cutting board in the first shot is pretty wild too.

Dave Martell
04-13-2013, 11:29 PM
Very nice work Mike!

04-13-2013, 11:42 PM
I like 'em all Mike. My fave is that Hiro though, a really sexy piece of wood. I've never tried a Hiro, but really want to one day.

04-13-2013, 11:55 PM
nice work mike9