LumberJocks

Kwila, Wenge and what?

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Blog entry by scottb posted 04-29-2007 04:45 AM 1050 reads 0 times favorited 10 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I picked up a bag-o-blanks from Woodcraft, 32 assorted exotic and domestic species. I was about to get a sample box, or a few small pieces and cut my own blanks, but decided that this would give me the best variety bang for the buck, and help me begin to understand wood identification. A picture is good for some, but to actually see, hold and compare is much better.

I set these out so I could figure out which I’d be making cigar pens out of, and which would become Euro-style ones – and trying to decide which would look better with gold, platinum or the dark titanium finish. (Yep, I went for the best quality and most durable finishes out there.

I checked the ID numbers stamped, or in some cases hand written on the blank itself, and have a pretty good assortment of things that I’ve never worked with, let alone seen before.

From left to right (starting in the back row) Bocote, Canarywood, Cherry, Kwilia, Lacewood, Lyptus, Mahogany, Makore, Curly Maple, Quilted Maple, Teak, Tulipwood, Claro Walnut, Wenge, Yellowheart, and something of a mystery wood.

This particular assortment pack typically carries Brazilian Cherry and Macassar Ebony, though any could be substitued for another species that is available (on an included list.) The Makore was a subsitute for the Brazilian Cherry,.. but what was substituting the Ebony? Both blanks are labeled #43, but nothing on any of the lists has that number, or something that could be mistaken for it. Is there a typo?

The mystery wood in question, is very dark under normal light (I had a very hard time finding, let alone even seeing, the number written on it for a few minutes. The camera flash brought out some of the brown in the grain. It is also quite heavy compared to the rest of the blanks. According to the substitue list, it is not Striped Gaboon Ebony (#95), nor is it African Blackwood (#91).

Anyone have a new (or older list) from Woodcraft and can tell me what #43 is? Or, perhaps more likely, can anyone take an educated guess as to what species of pen this is about to become?

-- I am always doing what I cannot do yet, in order to learn how to do it. - Van Gogh -- http://blanchardcreative.etsy.com -- http://snbcreative.wordpress.com/



10 comments so far

View Phil Brown's profile

Phil Brown

219 posts in 3517 days


#1 posted 04-29-2007 05:00 AM

Your mystery wood reminds me of some wood taken from an overseas crate in the moving industry 20 years ago. I milled a couple of pieces for a fellow employee and glued them up for a relief carving blank. The lumber was the same colour as your blanks, very dark, and very heavy. The surface felt waxy and oily . When the guy cut into the wood tiny beads of oily, sticky sap covered the relieved surfaces the next morning. I’m interested to find out what it might have been.

-- Phil Brown, Ontario

View Ethan Sincox's profile

Ethan Sincox

766 posts in 3633 days


#2 posted 04-29-2007 05:12 AM

Looks like Blackwood to me, Scott.

It’s what I’m using for the pegs in my Thorsen Tabl…. er, entry.

-- Ethan, http://thekiltedwoodworker.com

View WayneC's profile

WayneC

12642 posts in 3557 days


#3 posted 04-29-2007 05:16 AM

Looks like your going to have some fun. Once you decide what you like, check out their lumber stock. A 5 foot purpleheart board costs about as much as 10 pen blanks.

: ^ )

-- We must guard our enthusiasm as we would our life - James Krenov

View WayneC's profile

WayneC

12642 posts in 3557 days


#4 posted 04-29-2007 05:50 AM

I checked Woodcraft’s web site and the wood reference for the pen blank assortment still does not list a #43. It indicated it was last updated in Nov 2006.

-- We must guard our enthusiasm as we would our life - James Krenov

View Greg3G's profile

Greg3G

815 posts in 3545 days


#5 posted 04-29-2007 07:22 AM

I think I have some of your mystery wood and I am at a loss as well. When I went to my normal supplier for some Wenge for my Thoreson table, he told me he was all out. Someone had come in and bought all he had in stock, about 60bf and said he wanted to make a tool box out of it. good luck buddy, hope you have a couple of extra saw blades on hand. : )

So that said, I call one of my neighbor and he happend to have a the mystery wood in his shorts bin. He said he picked it up a couple of years ago at a ww show. He thought it was Iron wood. Not sure but it is very heavy for its size.

-- Greg - Charles Town, WV

View Karson's profile

Karson

35034 posts in 3860 days


#6 posted 04-29-2007 02:36 PM

Scott could be Zircote. It has dark black stripes and also a dark gray /brown wood. I’ve got a few pieces here and its great wood.

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Southern Delaware soon moving to Virginia karsonwm@gmail.com †

View scottb's profile

scottb

3648 posts in 3786 days


#7 posted 04-29-2007 04:37 PM

They list zircote as number 23, maybe as I cut into it I’ll have some more clues to offer up. For now, I’ll just presume human error in numbering, and figure this is either ebony, blackwood or zircote.

Thanks for that added insight Wayne, I expect to pay less for raw lumber than precut or especially premilled blanks… a couple of the choices in this bag really “spoke” to me, and I really needed to know what the different species are. Woodcraft had a discount table with some pieces of bowl stock for cheap, but didn’t label many of them.

-- I am always doing what I cannot do yet, in order to learn how to do it. - Van Gogh -- http://blanchardcreative.etsy.com -- http://snbcreative.wordpress.com/

View WayneC's profile

WayneC

12642 posts in 3557 days


#8 posted 04-29-2007 04:54 PM

I realized after reading Karson’s post, that I had a prep’ed Zircote pin blank sitting by my lathe. I belive Karson has, as ususal, hit the nail on the head. It looks exactly like the one you show.

I agree with your approach. Once I figure out what I like, then I switch to larger lumber. and every once in a while, I will buy an assortment for some diversity.

-- We must guard our enthusiasm as we would our life - James Krenov

View Douglas Bordner's profile

Douglas Bordner

4012 posts in 3523 days


#9 posted 04-29-2007 06:08 PM


Desert Ironwood?

-- "Bordnerizing" perfectly good lumber for over a decade.

View scottb's profile

scottb

3648 posts in 3786 days


#10 posted 03-16-2008 05:55 AM

update – looks like, and drilled like the Blackwood blanks Karson added to the Pen Swap. Very smooth where cut, ultra smooth where drilled, very fine, oily shavings like coffee grounds. Is Zircote similar in workability?

-- I am always doing what I cannot do yet, in order to learn how to do it. - Van Gogh -- http://blanchardcreative.etsy.com -- http://snbcreative.wordpress.com/

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