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Man the title got me. I thought this was about the ‘knives’ you occasionally see made of lignum vitae.

Definitely a marked improvement. Worth keeping in mind that 31ish brinell is so low it’s not even on the HRC scale. That’s further complicated by the fact that brinell is technically only for metals. I can’t recall actually seeing data that goes under about 100 brinell for most things.

That being said these industrious folks apparently tested wood, with brinell. Not entirely sure why they did that instead of the established janka system, but here we are. If the data from the link below is correct, then the hardened wood basically took basswood from one of the softer hardwoods, to well above just about any hardwood.

Definitely be interested to see if this could be applied to any of the much harder woods. I don’t see this pushing steel out of the kitchen, but biodegradeable cutlery that can take an edge is awesome in my book. Picnics, traveling, fancy wooden cheese knives.

On the downside, the UK will now begin attempting to ban trees 🤣

(Hardness of wood according to Brinell scale | Floor Experts)
 
So, I managed to get the paper from the author. Parking it here if anyone is interested in reading it.

Seems like a pretty simple process, and not one I believe would be limited to softer woods. It does seem like it would be most effective on softer woods with large amounts of lignin though. I doubt you could expect to see a 20 fold increase in the strength of lignum vitae or navy’s will start using it for armor plating instead of just bearing surfaces 🤣)

With the water resistance from the oil soak + increased strength, it seems like it may be an (albeit impractical, 20 MPA isn’t something to sneeze at) alternative to stabilizing soft woods. The pressure required probably wouldn’t let it work on burls or spalted woods due to their already mechanically disadvantaged nature.

As far as picnic equipment, it seems that hardening wood —> machining —> oil finish would increase your machining costs a bit by purposefully working with the material in its hardened state. I wonder if you could create a hot isostatic press of sorts using mineral oil, to let you machine —> Harden/oil finish, and let you combine a few processes while machining the material in its easiest form.
 

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