Which unstbilised woods work for handles?

Discussion in 'Shop Talk' started by Nemo, Jun 22, 2018.

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  1. Apr 9, 2019 #31

    Bert2368

    Bert2368

    Bert2368

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    So, I went looking via Google for "bronze" in "knife handles".

    And I found THESE.

    20190409_073745.jpg

    On the plus side: Hey, it IS a good look for grey/dark/patinad steel and dark wood, much as I had imagined.

    On the minus: Damnit, now I'm not so sure I want to make."D" cross section Wa type handles anymore! Im'a gonna need me some bigger handle blanks.

    (Edit)

    If you own one of these? And love it???

    Could you, pretty please, take a couple of photos of such a handle on a grid background (like the one I use for virtually all my knife pics) at as close to 90 degrees as you can, one of left or right profile and another of top or bottom view?

    20190409_080802.jpg

    Looking at some stuffs I already have on hand- Top to bottom: North American wild cherry, sugar maple, "Santos" mahogany, Ironwood (not definite on species, but I THINK it is "Argentine lignum vitae"). All are just sanded and then buffed with some beeswax on lathe.

    I really like the color of the ironwood for carbon steel. There is a chunk of it off of ebay headed my way. And I THINK I have a big old red brass (BRONZE) valve body in the metal recycle bin, maybe big enough to cut a ferule out of.
     
    Last edited: Apr 9, 2019
  2. Apr 9, 2019 #32

    stringer

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    I've had good luck with wenge. I just bought a big block of Osage orange (aka hedge apple that I am excited to try. It's dense, hard, straight grained and supposed to be dimensionally stable. Where I grew up they use it for fence posts on big farms and ranches because it can last in the ground exposed to the elements for over 100 years with no special treatments.
     
  3. Apr 9, 2019 #33

    Bert2368

    Bert2368

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    I keep hearing about Osage orange/Bodark/Bois d'Arc (Maclaura pomifera) (hey, my high school French WAS useful for more than learning what Quebecois think of anglophone US tourists!). It doesn't seem to grow in MN or WI? I have never seen one, AFAIK. Could I buy a small, dry sample from you, enough for one handle?

    There is a common invasive weed tree in the midwest called "European buckthorn"/black alder (Rhamnus cathartica). I cut litterally TONS of it down between 1990 and 2004.

    I chipped invasive buckthorn for mulch, burned it for campfires, made twigs into charcoal for black powder, the city parks department and landowners just wanted them GONE... And now I learn that the dark heartwood of the larger logs would have been PERFECT for what I want to do now, had I saved some.
     
    Last edited: Apr 9, 2019
  4. Apr 9, 2019 #34

    inferno

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    I'm guessing its just another name for marine bronze, or bell (think church bell) bronze. I think its similar to bearing bronze. I replace maybe 100kg of this a year for sliding wear parts.
     
  5. Apr 10, 2019 #35

    stringer

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    I don't know how dry it is. But it's pretty easy to source. I bought it from Rockler. It looks like they source it from Argentina. It's a 2x2x12" turning blank. They sell them for 9.99. It might be awhile until I get to cutting my piece. I haven't made the knives yet that I'm using it for.

    https://www.rockler.com/argentine-osage-orange-turning-blanks
     
  6. Apr 11, 2019 #36

    Bert2368

    Bert2368

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    Went looking for a nominal 2x8 of quilted birch, had it squirreled away since 1990, couldn't find it.

    I found something else. Never throw away hard woods...

    20190411_015816.jpg

    20190411_015519.jpg

    20190411_023400.jpg

    20190411_015559.jpg



    Cut off and cleaned up a 1' section, got another 44" after that if it works out. It's about 4 3/8" wide by exactly 1 1/2" thick, so nominal 2X.

    Original construction material from a building put up in 1927. I salvaged it during a remodel 30 years ago. Dry, harder than nails, clear, no knots, cracks or checks. Sounds like a xylophone key if you tap it with a hardwood mallet.

    Measured and weighed, density works out to 47.2lb./Cu. ft.- A little denser than most maple.

    Looks good enough to practice making handles with, might even be good enough to use for a while.

    For a ferule, some of this 1" X 1" X 12" stick of cocobolo that's been sitting in my wood pile since 1993? (This little stick weighs 283 g! Yes, this stuff SINKS)

    20190411_030336.jpg

    (Edit)

    I just calculated the density of that alleged cocobolo- And it came out as 1.4g/cc?! That's rather higher than the listed density I find looking on line. Hell, it's higher than ANY wood density I can find listed. Double checked measurements and my math, they were correct. Should I call Guinness?
     
    Last edited: Apr 11, 2019
  7. Apr 11, 2019 #37

    Tim Rowland

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    Bert: It could be the lighting in the picture but with the deeper purplish hues and dark almost black striping I would say that wood it Bois de Rose and not Cocobolo.........If that is the case it is an extremely common and non restricted wood and worthless so I suggest that you send it to me at once for disposal.
     
  8. Apr 11, 2019 #38

    Dhoff

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    Completely unrelated and I hope I do not derail the thread. Can all these hadwoods be used for an end grain cutting board? E.g. a desert ironwood would be hella beautiful
     
  9. Apr 11, 2019 #39

    stringer

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    Even end grain I imagine iron wood would be hell on edges.
     
  10. Apr 11, 2019 #40

    Bert2368

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    I was buying a router bit for a job in the old "The Woodworker's Store" in South Minneapolis in '93, they were clearing out all the odds and ends of exotic wood for some reason, a whole pile of lumber trim, scraps and small blocks like this were piled up near the register, not labeled as to species. Your choice, $2.

    If I had understood THEN what I was seeing, I would have certainly bought more.

    I asked the guy at register what this was, he told me it was cocobolo. As noted, possibly it is NOT. He didn't mention how toxic/allergic reaction prompting the wood dust might be, a cabinet maker I worked with DID warn me when I showed him my little find.

    I need to organize my tag ends and scraps, there should be a few other nice things in that shipping container. I dragged lots of wood out of dumpsters at job sites around the lakes in South Minneapolis (nice older neighborhoods, mostly built pre WWI). Tropical hardwood lumber from workers who were replacing hardwood floors, the pallets and crates of flooring were 2X lumber of same species! Old growth hardwood newel posts, quartersawn white oak door caseings. *** were some of those crews thinking?

    I did run across some old, clear and very dry redwood which is almost chocolate colored from age. And my collection of slabs from white oak, cherry and maple tabletops which rich people tossed rather than repair/refinish.

    Good times, I walked my dog through the alleys, picked through trash and dived into remodelers dumpsters, recycling wood.
     
  11. Apr 11, 2019 #41

    inferno

    inferno

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  12. Apr 11, 2019 #42

    Bert2368

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    Nice prices, offers to sell blanks in lots, cheaper than onesies twosies. Site group buy time?

    Found mahogany offered by a company in Southern FL, they remove fallen or hurricane dammaged CUBAN MAHOGANY trees (Swietenia Mahogani). I sent them an inquiry. Probably need to dry that wood for quite a while, best start soon...

    https://www.woodshop102.com/63.html
     
  13. Apr 11, 2019 #43

    Bert2368

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    I re-read the wood data base article on wood ID of hardwoods via examining end grain. My guess is, some kind of Dalbergia. But which one?

    https://www.wood-database.com/wood-articles/hardwood-anatomy/

    Dry, sanded to 220 grit. Need to go finer, I couldn't smell annything when sanding this (by hand).

    (Daylight)

    20190411_161808.jpg

    Wet, same otherwise.

    (Daylight)
    20190411_161648.jpg

    Tried a belt sander with a well worn 220 grit belt. It smelled really nice when the belt friction warmed it up, more vannila sweet than like a rose. Also, some oily stuff came to the surface.

    Gave oily/waxy looking stuff a wipe with denatured alcohol, then went back to slowly hand sanding with 350 wet/dry. Then wiped with a wet rag, dried.

    Almost matches the online pictures for cocbolo end grain Or several of the other Dalbergia. And my fingers feel kind of warm, not as bad as after cleaning & cutting hot peppers without gloves, but I am stopping here until I can do this with gloves and a mask.

    (Daylight)
    20190411_184126.jpg

    (Incandescent lamp)
    20190411_190928.jpg
     
    Last edited: Apr 12, 2019
  14. Apr 12, 2019 #44

    milkbaby

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    You might try posting it over at woodbarter in the wood identification subforum. The hobbithouse guy hangs out there. In fact, if you haven't looked yet, go to his wood identification webpage: http://hobbithouseinc.com/personal/woodpics/
     
  15. Apr 12, 2019 #45

    Tim Rowland

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    by those last pictures and seeing in different light that does look like cocobolo. I couldn't see the true orange tones in the original picture. Cocobolo does have a distinct sweet smell. Highly suggest a respirator. It is a known skin, eye, and lung irritant. Nice site for the wood btw.
    I have about 3 board feet of nice cocobolo currently but might pick more up just because of the pricing.
     
  16. Apr 12, 2019 #46

    Bert2368

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    We like wood. We like cooking. We like knife handles MADE out of wood.

    Shouldn't we really, really, really like...

    COOKING WOOD to make KNIFE HANDLES?!

    Recipe for baking maple is given around 9th post in the below linked thread at "lumberjocks" by member "oldwoody". Basically, 360 F. in a convection oven for 4 hours for heat stabilizing maple boards 1 1/8" thick

    Gibson does it for guitar neck production now.

    https://www.lumberjocks.com/topics/52092

    "Roasted maple". And it can be done at home (probably out in the yard, not actually IN your home, smells a bit smoky), in a convection oven? I am so trying this.

    (Ignore any posts about the carrots and peas staining your maple)
     
    Last edited: Apr 12, 2019
  17. Apr 12, 2019 #47

    Michi

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    What a sterling idea! An added advantage is that you can use the knife to cut the wood!

    Signature dish coming up: lightly toasted Sassafras medallions topped with Shitan shavings on a bed of Kauri mash, accompanied by a walnut, maple, and beech brunoise, and drizzled with melted board butter… ;)
     
  18. Apr 12, 2019 #48

    Bert2368

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    Too fancy, I'll just have a plank stake tonight.
     
  19. Apr 12, 2019 #49

    Bert2368

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    While I'm being a cheap bastard and hacking at handles?

    Has anyone ever converted a US 1 cent piece (the old, 95% Copper one) or a US 5 cent piece (75% Copper, 25% Nickel) into a handle spacer?

    Annealing and hammering should do the job of making such a coin into a (wide enough) flat disc, plenty of jewelry is made this way.
     
  20. Apr 13, 2019 #50

    Marek07

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    Love it! :D
    A bit harsh on knives though. A tad more seasoning? At least it would be more colourful than rope soup! ;)
     
  21. Apr 13, 2019 #51

    milkbaby

    milkbaby

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    I haven't done it myself, but I've seen it on Instagram before. You could go further and make mokume gane out of coins.

    jessf who used to hang out here has a few pics on this thread for mokume gane:
    https://www.kitchenknifeforums.com/threads/wip-the-tusk.28596/#post-438469

    Here's another example from him where he merely stacked the quarters:
    https://www.kitchenknifeforums.com/threads/wip-western-hidden-tang.28034/

    Daniel Cauble discusses it here, basically stack the quarters, clamp them tight, heat to welding temp then squish to forge weld.
    [​IMG]
    https://www.bladesmithsforum.com/in...th-mokume-gane/&do=findComment&comment=304526
     
  22. Apr 13, 2019 #52

    Michi

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    That would look awesome when converted into a wide(-ish) spacer!
     
  23. Apr 13, 2019 #53

    inferno

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    wow this is basically how a central bank operates. what a coincidence.
     
  24. Apr 13, 2019 #54

    Bert2368

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  25. Apr 13, 2019 #55

    Dhoff

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    You cant handle the truth!
     
  26. Apr 17, 2019 at 12:37 AM #56

    Bert2368

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    The guy in FL who salvages and slabs up hurricane dammage sourced real Cuban mahogany ( Swietenia mahagoni) got back to me. I have a 36" + x 6" + x 1 1/2" all heart wood s4s board coming. Pictures looked nice, some interesting grain on one end, straight on the other. Been air drying at least 6 years, possibly as long as 10.

    He can provide (USA grown?) teak wood as well, didn't get prices on other species yet. No true lignum vitae (Guaiacum officinale) storm dammage wood available, but he HAS planted them on his own property- Very slow growing, 20 years for a trunk 4" thick.
     
    Last edited: Apr 17, 2019 at 4:43 AM
  27. Apr 18, 2019 at 11:05 PM #57

    inferno

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    Can someone tell me whats so special about lignum vitae? compare to other high performance woods that is.
     
  28. Apr 19, 2019 at 2:24 AM #58

    stringer

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    I haven't used it. But from what I understand, it is the densest heaviest hardest wood there is. I imagine a wa knife with a handle made completely of the stuff would be real handle heavy. It would be great for ferrules. Extremely resinous. Self stabilized. Would make great Western scales. It's sort of the OG ironwood.
     
  29. Apr 19, 2019 at 4:31 AM #59

    Bert2368

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    The one use where lignum vitae has not found an adequate replacement is in self lubricating, high durometer and non corroding bearings for water power plants.

    Most particularly, the wood is still used in fresh water applications where it is desired that the water remain potable after passing through the turbines. Since the heart wood has a very large % of oily/waxy resin which acts as a lubricant and this resin is not terribly toxic or allergenic to humans, it is STILL being specified for new water power installations. Such bearings have lasted over 50 years in constant use, synthetic barings just are not as durable in this use.

    Metalic bearings require lubrication, inevitably lose some lubricant into the working fluid and contaminate it, plus metals under water wear and corrode in use. Modern, allegedly "self lubricating" synthetic materials such as nylons or teflons are not yet as durable as the old fashioned wooden bearings.

    For a knife handle frequently wet and needing to be washed often, the wood has long term wet stability WITHOUT needing surface treatments, chemical stabilization or an intact water resistant coating.

    Plus, it smells good, looks good and has an historical cachet.

    I don't NEED to use it. I just want to, because I think it's cool.

    My lignum vitae cleared US customs yesterday, I have become a heavy wood addict.

    -----------

    I also found on sale and bought a chunk of "quebracho" (axe breaker wood, Schinopsis lorentzii) which has the highest published Janka hardness, plus being highly rot resistant. Not so sure about wet dimensional stability of this one, going to try it as replacement handle scales on an old pocket knife I liked.

    https://www.woodcraft.com/products/quebracho-3-x-3-x-12

    https://www.wood-database.com/quebracho/

    20190418_215904.jpg

    Also found a small chunk of a South American hardwood which is way up there in density and hardness- Not sure about the species common name here, seller said it was imported as "Bocoa prouacensis". That's an obsolete name, I find conflicting information on what this stuff may properly be called.

    20190418_221645.jpg

    The super hard, heavy, dense woods are probably going to be decorative ferules and end grain protecting butt caps on handles of lighter woods- Such as the heat stabilized maple, which is said to be somewhat brittle.
     
    Last edited: Apr 19, 2019 at 3:47 PM
  30. Apr 20, 2019 at 11:55 PM #60

    JoBone

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    Off the top of my head, Here’s some I use unstablized. For all of them, I go for kiln dried if possible.

    Most Rosewoods, but not rosewood burls : East Indies, Honduran, Bolivian, Yucatan, African Blackwood (my favorite for ferrules), Cocobolo

    Bocote, some ziricote , Olive (kiln dried only) walnut (stabilize claro), red heart, bloodwood, zebrawood, leopardwood, Osage orange, katalox (not the light colored sap wood)

    Ringed Gidgee
    Dessert ironwood (not Asian ironwood burl, it needs stabilizing)

    Paduak, Purple Heart, bubinga, Wenge (tough as heck), Marble wood, Partridge wood, Satinwood (not Asian satinwood burl, it’s a crepe myrtle)

    You can see pictures of most on my instagram site or if there’s a particular wood, I can try to drum up a photo
     

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