Mystery solved

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Project by JuniorJoiner posted 1952 days ago 1934 views 4 times favorited 9 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Everyone seems to have a piece of wood in their shop they cannot identify. this one was mine.

I found it in the ditch beside my house, obviously dunnage used to sticker some more expensive wares for transport from some other country. extremely heavy and dense, quite waxy, open grained, green when first cut and oxidizes to black. it also has a unique odor when first cut or planed.

I did a bit of research and thought it was heartwood asian ebony, or maybe cabbagebark.

I made a few mallets out of it, and have a three foot piece leftover.

today i finally identified it as south American partridgewood. a woodworker i know who has been using exotics for 35+ years had a piece to compare it to (the smell was the determining factor)

I had never heard of it before, but from how nice it is to work with hand tools. i can see why it is rare.

the mallets i made from it have held up well to everyday use , and the heft makes it a perfect choice for this.

now i will have to keep my eyes open for another mystery piece.

...oh yeah, the handle is a piece of soft maple, shaped with spokeshave only, attached with through mortise and wedge(no glue).

-- Junior -Quality is never an accident-it is the reward for the effort involved.

9 comments so far

View woodspyder's profile


80 posts in 2234 days

#1 posted 1952 days ago

Nice looking mallet, great find.
Nothing better than free wood.

-- Measure three times, cut twice.

View TheDane's profile


3659 posts in 2267 days

#2 posted 1952 days ago

Wish I would find some useful lumber in the ditch at my place … all we ever get is cigarette butts and empty beer cans!

Nice work!

-- Gerry -- "I don't plan to ever really grow up ... I'm just going to learn how to act in public!"

View Chris's profile


338 posts in 1962 days

#3 posted 1952 days ago

Good looking mallet. I’m going to have to spend more time in the gutter after hearing about this…

-- Chris

View a1Jim's profile


112002 posts in 2182 days

#4 posted 1952 days ago

South American partridgewood thats a new one on me. nice job.


-- Custom furniture

View Karson's profile


34862 posts in 3005 days

#5 posted 1952 days ago

Nice looking mallet. And some interesting wood. Strange to find it in a ditch. But I’m guessing a bunch of it ends up in the dumpster.

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Southern Delaware †

View AaronK's profile


1389 posts in 2069 days

#6 posted 1868 days ago

sweet! that handle looks like it must have been a lot of fun!

View degoose's profile


6981 posts in 1959 days

#7 posted 1863 days ago

People throw away lots of things because they don’t know what it is,

-- Drink twice... and don't bother to cut... @ For lovers of all things timber...

View Briguy's profile


21 posts in 1500 days

#8 posted 1445 days ago

I have a few pieces of something similar…maybe the same. On my construction site one of our subcontractors had brought in skids of 4×4’s and smaller pieces to use as shims when lifting entire overpass spans. Needless to say they required a very high density wood that would not compress. After the work was completed I scavenged the scraps left behind.

View GabrielX's profile


231 posts in 1436 days

#9 posted 1427 days ago

It would be great to have your craftsmanship skill and my imagination. Handle looks nice for a spokeshave piece. Can’t wait to but one myself. Been needing a wooden-mallet in the shop for some time now… Great piece!

-- GX

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