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Woods I Use for Handle Work - Q&A / Information

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Dave Martell

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Blocks or Scales
Blocks preferred for Rehandle work (1/2" thick minimum for scales)
Blocks mandatory for Martell Knives


Sizes
Gyuto - 5 x 1.5 x 1 (min)
Suji - 5.5 x 1.5 x 1 (min)


Stabilization Required?
Yes
*Exceptions - AZ Ironwood


Stabilization Accepted From
WSSI
K&G


Wood Dealers I Will Not Use
Woodstabilizer.com (Canada)
Ebay (anyone there)



Woods I Won't Work With
Cocobolo (poisonous)
Snakewood (cracklicious)
Ebony (cracklicious)
Palms - black & red (cracklicious)
Spalted anything (rotted wood) - Maybe OK if it's been stabilized by K&G
Walnut (dry dust like - always finishes crappy)
Mango (too porous)
Redwood (super soft)


Woods I'm Not In Love With (but will use for customers who prefer pretty over functional)
Buckeye Burl (punky wood soft)




Woods I Like to Work With
AZ Ironwood Burl or Straight Grain
Amboyna Burl
Maple Burl
Koa
Ash
African Blackwood
Birch Burl
Thuya Burl
Honduran Rosewood
Black Ash Burl
Box Elder



Optional Materials
Micarta




*Note - This list will be changed/updated as needed.
 
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steeley

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no snakewood
i love the smell of cocobolo also
 

kalaeb

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Seriously? Cocobolo is poisonous? Just the dust, or bad as in don't use in conjunction with food?
 

Vertigo

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Cocobolo dust and oils can cause severe allergic reactions in some people, and have no adverse effect on others. As with any other allergen, prolonged exposure to it may trigger an allergy in an otherwise healthy person.

It isn't poisonous, it's allergenic. And it is perfectly safe to work if you use a respirator and skin protection. Dave, I imagine, prefers to work au naturel. :D
 

PierreRodrigue

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I wear a respriator that protects against nuisance vapours and gasses. A little more than necessary, but hey, only got 1 good set of lungs left.
 

jmforge

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Add mango wood to that list. Mango trees contains the same allergen as poison ivy, albeit in much lower concentrations. I was never allergic to poison ivy as a young child but living in Miami, we had 20 mango trees in our yard and I had to clean up the mess. After a few years of that, I guess that I built up enough sensitivity to the chemical than one day I was allergic to poison ivy. Not the horrible month long experience like some get, but bad enough. I don't eat mango much and the concentration of the chemical is in the wood and sap. Just a warning. I forget what the allergen is in cocobolo, but it is also cumulative. Teak apparently does the same thing, but it takes much longer. I knew a guy who had a business called "The Teak Sheikh" in West Palm Beach. He did all of the teak work for boats companies like Viking in South Florida. One day after like 15 years, he woke up allergic to teak and had to sell his business.
Cocobolo dust and oils can cause severe allergic reactions in some people, and have no adverse effect on others. As with any other allergen, prolonged exposure to it may trigger an allergy in an otherwise healthy person.

It isn't poisonous, it's allergenic. And it is perfectly safe to work if you use a respirator and skin protection. Dave, I imagine, prefers to work au naturel. :D
 

jmforge

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Dave, you won't work with redwood because of compacted dust and yet you like ironwood? LOL
 

Dave Martell

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Dave, you won't work with redwood because of compacted dust and yet you like ironwood? LOL
Yeah, they're completely different to me. I find ironwood to work easily because it's so hard and dense yet redwood just falls off the knife with a glance of sandpaper.
 

Vertigo

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Moral of the story, wear a mask when working wood?

I got hit with a "cumulative" latex allergy. 15 years professional use and no problems, then one day I took my glove off and my hand was completely covered it a rash and swollen. Confirmed the latex allergy later that night when a different latex "glove" caused the same problem... elsewhere. Lol.
 

apicius9

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Mmhh, I'm wearing a respirator (well, most of the time :scratchhead:) and glasses, but never thought about long sleeves. I don't think I even have anything with long sleeves anymore... As for the respirator, I used to just wear a simple msak, but with my beard that never did anything good. These days I think if I can smell it, I need to pull the mask tighter. But if I wantd to smell something, Honduran rosewood and thuya are nice...

Other than that, I basically agree with Dave, except for the spalted woods, of course. Ebony makes me cough and sneeze, so I am avoiding that. I just tried a piece of snakewood again, knowing all the issues. But K&G keeps claiming it can be stabilized and I picked up a stabilized piece, so we will see what happens.

Stefan
 

Dave Martell

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Stabilization Accepted From
WSSI
K&G


Woods I Won't Work With
Spalted anything (rotted wood) *some exceptions may apply

Got another spalted block in from an unknown stabilizer source and it buckled after being cut open. Garbage! :bashhead:
 

Burl Source

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Got another spalted block in from an unknown stabilizer source and it buckled after being cut open. Garbage! :bashhead:
Do you still have the piece of wood?
I would be interested in seeing a photo if possible.
 

Dave Martell

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I got another one that buckled on me, one side only, this time spalted hackberry. I realized it as I was gluing up the scales....I'm not a happy camper. :bashhead:
 

Johnny.B.Good

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Hi Dave. I have been looking at some of Murray's IP series knives on his website, and am curious about his Corian handles. Have you ever (and/or would you ever) work with this material?
 

Dave Martell

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I haven't worked with Corian but I'd have no objections to trying it out. Jim actually gave me some pieces awhile back for this purpose, some scraps from his home remodeling.
 

Johnny.B.Good

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Thanks Dave, good to know. Will have to give this some thought... I am considering a Sabatier Nogent, but am already pretty sure I will hate the handle (though I could be wrong). How about a nice Dave Martell black Corian rehandle?
 

Dave Martell

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Thanks Dave, good to know. Will have to give this some thought... I am considering a Sabatier Nogent, but am already pretty sure I will hate the handle (though I could be wrong). How about a nice Dave Martell black Corian rehandle?

Sounds like fun. :)
 

apicius9

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I find it pretty easy to work with and would not expect major problems.

Stefan
 

sachem allison

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Thanks Dave, good to know. Will have to give this some thought... I am considering a Sabatier Nogent, but am already pretty sure I will hate the handle (though I could be wrong). How about a nice Dave Martell black Corian rehandle?
You may be surprised at how comfortable that handle is. been around for 140 years for a reason.lol
 
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