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Thread: Exotic Wood Ethics

  1. #11
    Das HandleMeister apicius9's Avatar
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    I have been thinking about that also, trying not to re-stock woods of which I know they are problematic. But I admit, I never made a very concentrated effort to educate myself about it, I was rather thinking to focus more and more on sustainable local Hawaiian woods. I did not know, for example, that African blackwood might be getting scarce. I got mine from people who - according to their info - have family connections to an African country and don't do this on a large scale, and I decided to believe that. Koa is, as far as I know, not such a big issue. Clearly, they harvested too much in the past, that's why there are restrictions to only harvest fallen trees at this time. But it gets replanted a lot and is not rare as such, just that there are not too many really old trees left, a generational gap, so to speak. But I am not a forrestry person, so I would not bet on this...

    There would definitely be woods I would miss if I limited it to Hawaiian woods, although a limit to US woods would still give a nice and large range. For me, one of the joys it to experience all the varieties and try to be creative with them. But I may rethink this and narrow down my range. Easier to limit it to a few reliable sources also. We'll see, not yet sure where the whole woodworking thing will be going anyway.

    Stefan

  2. #12
    Senior Member hobbitling's Avatar
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    Here's what I've found out after some research...The two main lists that you can refer to when considering a wood are...

    CITES (Convention on International Trade of Endangered Species) is a treaty whose aim is to ensure that international trade in specimens of wild animals and plants does not threaten the survival of the species in the wild, and it accords varying degrees of protection to more than 34,000 species of animals and plants. There are three levels of protection, with level I being the most restricted (pretty much illegal to trade except for scientific purposes), and level II and III being regulated but still legally tradeable (often only with permits which can be difficult and expensive to obtain). These levels of protection are referred to as "Appendices", so you'll often hear of a species being described as an "CITES Appendix II species" for example. The countries that have signed this treaty all have their own laws to enforce them, at least on paper, Enforcement of those laws is often lacking.

    The IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature), is an international organization which was mostly responsible for getting CITES started, and it maintains another list called the "IUCN Red List" This list is a scientific list, not a legal one. It is based on extinction risk, according to scientific data, but the species on this list are not necessarily legally protected. Many species that are listed as endangered on the Red List are still actively traded. Many are also included in the CITES appendices, or protected at the national level. This list has categories that make a bit more sense like "critically endangered" and "vulnerable".

    Here's an article from The Wood Database with a pretty comprehensive list.
    http://www.wood-database.com/wood-ar...-wood-species/

  3. #13
    Senior Member hobbitling's Avatar
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    Another interesting article on wood sustainability, focusing on ebony and other dark woods.
    http://www.wood-database.com/wood-ar...ok-dark-woods/

  4. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by hobbitling View Post
    Another interesting article on wood sustainability, focusing on ebony and other dark woods.
    http://www.wood-database.com/wood-ar...ok-dark-woods/
    I would like to eventually stop using endangered tropical hardwoods and switch completely to using stabilized domestic highly figured woods or woods that are not endangered.

    The local wood vendor I have been getting my wood from has a large stock of ebony that is been sitting there for years. I got my cocobolo there years ago, and am thinking of getting some old stock Lignum Vitae. Beyobnd that, I would like to exclusively use woods like mapple, koa, and other domestic woods.


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  5. #15
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    It is easy to fall for the beauty of these woods & not think of where they come from.Is most of the highly figured burl from stumps & even roots?I got some Black Ash Burl fr. Minnesota.Swirls,eyes large & small.I think they come fr. these large woody areas at the ground level of the stump.

    Another nice burl is Makamong from Thailand,they say it is rare,but you can find knife scales on the web.

  6. #16
    Senior Member hobbitling's Avatar
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    I know how you feel Marko. I've basically inherited some exotic wood from my wife's grandfather, and I picked some up at an estate sale not long ago, but eventually I'll use that all up, which is a shame, because I absolutely love working with it. Stabilized domestics can be beautiful in their own way, but it's impossible to imitate some of the colors, patterns, and mechanical properties of some of the tropicals. I'm perfectly fine with using old "grandfathered in" wood because it would otherwise be thrown away, and it doesn't directly support the depletion of these species. And I'm perfectly OK with using sustainably harvested wood (although it's hard to be sure). But I must admit I often browse the websites of exotic wood vendors and imagine the possibilities. Then I think about my (not yet born) grandchildren, and I wonder if these trees will even exist when they grow up.

    I saw something the other day that really bothered me: rosewood cell phone cases. Go ahead, google it if you don't believe me. And they come in all kinds of rare woods. I thought, "it must be imitation rosewood, right?". Nope. Real rosewood, for your cell phone. Holy...Crap.
    It's one thing to use rare wood for something that will last a long time. A well made, well maintained knife can last for generations. That's the sort of thing these woods should be used for, the kinds of items that we can give to our children and grandchildren. But an iphone case? Some self-righteous little hipster will use it for a year, the next model won't fit, and it will be thrown away!

  7. #17
    Senior Member hobbitling's Avatar
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    I think Burls are basically growths that bulge out from the sides of trees (sort of like a tumor or wart, but it doesn't really cause the tree any harm). I think someone earlier in this thread mentioned that burls are generally trimmed from standing trees, so that the tree usually lives.

  8. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by hobbitling View Post
    I think Burls are basically growths that bulge out from the sides of trees (sort of like a tumor or wart, but it doesn't really cause the tree any harm). I think someone earlier in this thread mentioned that burls are generally trimmed from standing trees, so that the tree usually lives.
    Thanks I really didn't know exactly what burls where so I looked it up.Burls are often caused by stress.Rounded outgrowth in which the grain has grown in a deformed manner.The small knots are from dormant buds.Some burls grow beneath the ground attached to roots.Others grow on the trunks esp. around the base as in redwood trees.They can grow on limbs as well.

    So as mentioned after a tree is cut down there is burl to be had in the stump & roots.Or after a tree has died & fallen over.

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