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Snakewood???

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Forum topic by DMiller posted 02-08-2018 04:24 AM 813 views 0 times favorited 10 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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DMiller

398 posts in 558 days


02-08-2018 04:24 AM

Topic tags/keywords: question snakewood lathe turning sanding sharpening modern traditional

Good evening to all of my fellow Lumberjocks! Over the last month I have been wanting to build myself a slimline pen/ pencil kit out of snakewood. Several days ago I was able to find some that I liked for a reasonable price- today began reading about the wood. It appears that some people have had it crack when exposed to moderate heat- is this true? Do you have any tips/ tricks on how to turn it best? I know I only spent roughly $20 for wood for the two pens, but if at all possible I don’t want to waste my $20 by making a mistake that could have been avoided. (: Any help is appreciated! Thanks! Dale

-- Dale Miller Modesto, CA "I can do all things through Christ, which strengtheneth me." Philippians 4:13. "Woodworking minus patience equals firewood."


10 replies so far

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caboxmaker

281 posts in 473 days


#1 posted 02-11-2018 10:42 PM

All the pen turners on this site and nobody can help you?

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DMiller

398 posts in 558 days


#2 posted 02-12-2018 01:26 AM

I know, that is exactly what I am wondering. It does happen to be a fairly uncommon wood; most people probably haven’t used it. Thanks for the help. Dale

-- Dale Miller Modesto, CA "I can do all things through Christ, which strengtheneth me." Philippians 4:13. "Woodworking minus patience equals firewood."

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pottz

2877 posts in 1070 days


#3 posted 02-13-2018 12:42 AM

dale sorry i just came upon this.i have turned quite a few pens in the last 15 years and done a few with snakewood,and yes you have heard right about it easily cracking from even moderate heat,mostly from expensive experience!what i do now is pour water as i drill the hole,it seems too keep it cool so it wont crack,ive had good success doing this.ive also had snakewood pens crack days weeks or even months later,for what reason i couldnt tell ya.its just finicky wood.i hope i got this too you in time,good luck with it.

ps-ive also had the blanks blow up while turning,so be careful and take it slow.

-- sawdust the bigger the pile the bigger my smile-larry,so cal.

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DMiller

398 posts in 558 days


#4 posted 02-13-2018 03:07 AM

Thanks, pottz! I just drilled my blanks before I read this, it all went well though (as for now). I drilled four 2-1/4 inch blanks with a sharp bit, drilling half way through and then taking a break to allow the wood and bit to cool (drilled on the lowest speed.) I do have one question for you, what type of pen were you making? I am using a slimline pen kit, so the wood will be fairly thin once turned. Would you recommend making more of an oval turning or more just a straight cylinder? Also, how badly did your wood crack? Was it totally ruined or able to be filled? Thanks….the novice woodturner. Dale

-- Dale Miller Modesto, CA "I can do all things through Christ, which strengtheneth me." Philippians 4:13. "Woodworking minus patience equals firewood."

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pottz

2877 posts in 1070 days


#5 posted 02-13-2018 02:20 PM

i have done some slimlines with success but it might be easier with a little larger pen,plus it will show off more of the cool pattern snakewood has.the blanks that cracked while drilling i was able to use ca glue and clamp them tightly with almost no sign of a crack.snakewood is very unique and appealing but very brittle and mistakes are very costly!its a tough wood for a beginner to practice on,but it sounds like your having success so go for it.hey its only money-lol.have fun my friend.

-- sawdust the bigger the pile the bigger my smile-larry,so cal.

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DMiller

398 posts in 558 days


#6 posted 02-13-2018 03:01 PM

Thank you for your help, Mr. pottz. I really appreciate it. I did find out when I practiced drilling the 1/2 cube of snakewood left over from the blank that you need a sacrifice board underneath your wood; I found it was really brittle and shattered apart after drilling about halfway through. I am really glad I practiced on that piece and not an actual blank. To be honest, I am actually a beginner in the line of pens; it will only be my second and third to make. I am actually using my brothers mandrel and tools; I do think I know the basics of it, though. Thanks for the help, it is really appreciated! Dale

-- Dale Miller Modesto, CA "I can do all things through Christ, which strengtheneth me." Philippians 4:13. "Woodworking minus patience equals firewood."

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pottz

2877 posts in 1070 days


#7 posted 02-13-2018 03:38 PM

snakewood slimline pen and only a couple pens under your belt,congrats,i doesnt get much more challenging wood than that.also ebony can be very similar as far as being brittle and blowing apart.ya know i forgot to mention putting a backer piece to prevent blowout when drilling,sorry about that.also if you really want to get into pen making check out IAP-international association of pen turners,they are to pens what this site is to woodworkers.i learned a lot just watching and reading what the best guys did.some guys think theres a lot of drama here,tame compared to what went on there,thats why i never joined.have fun buddy.

-- sawdust the bigger the pile the bigger my smile-larry,so cal.

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DMiller

398 posts in 558 days


#8 posted 02-13-2018 04:21 PM

Thanks, Mr. Pottz! Ya, I probably should have read a little more about snakewood before I purchased some; instead, I jumped ahead, ordered it, and then decided to read about it. Where my wood broke it really wasn’t a problem, it was just some the scrap end of the blank that wouldn’t have been used in a pen anyway. Thanks for the advice!

-- Dale Miller Modesto, CA "I can do all things through Christ, which strengtheneth me." Philippians 4:13. "Woodworking minus patience equals firewood."

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GeorgeInNWFla

39 posts in 1790 days


#9 posted 05-20-2018 09:20 PM

Hey everybody! SOrry to bring up an old post, but I had a thought/idea about drilling this wood. Do you think it would help if the pen blank were wrapped a few times with duct tape or the like to prevent it cracking or blowing out during drilling? Just an idea.

I just recently bought a couple of pen blanks of this and am very nervous about working it, especially since one is already bought and sold.

-- Leave out the fiction. The fact is this friction will only be worn by persistence. Leave out conditions. Courageous convictions will drag the dream into existence.

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DMiller

398 posts in 558 days


#10 posted 05-21-2018 12:46 PM

First of all, I would like to say that I am in NO way an experienced Snakewood turner, as I have only turned two pens from it. I too read about the horror stories of it cracking- when I drilled it, I just took it slow and didn’t allow to wood to get too hot- I didn’t have any cracks from the drilling. I found that I got into problems when I pressed the pens together- this force caused some small cracks. Hope this helps- let us know how it turns out! Dale

-- Dale Miller Modesto, CA "I can do all things through Christ, which strengtheneth me." Philippians 4:13. "Woodworking minus patience equals firewood."

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