Wood that can withstand high heat?

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Forum topic by Elmar posted 04-04-2012 07:26 PM 15411 views 0 times favorited 14 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View Elmar's profile


17 posts in 2318 days

04-04-2012 07:26 PM

Need to repair an item that needs a wooden handle that has to have a high heat tolerance?

What is readily available that can withstand higher heat temps? Oak? Mahogany? etc.



-- Elmar in San Antonio.....

14 replies so far

View BlankMan's profile


1490 posts in 3351 days

#1 posted 04-04-2012 07:32 PM

I think maybe Ipe. Class A fire rating, the same rating given to concrete & steel.

-- -Curt, Milwaukee, WI

View MrsN's profile


986 posts in 3523 days

#2 posted 04-04-2012 08:38 PM

can you be more specific about what you are repairing?

View Doss's profile


779 posts in 2262 days

#3 posted 04-04-2012 09:59 PM

Also, what is your definition of higher heat? And, are we talking air temps or surface/contact temps? What about exposure to flames? Is it a handle on a pot or skillet or something? Maybe a handle on a utensil of some sort?

This all makes a pretty big difference.

-- "Well, at least we can still use it as firewood... maybe." - Doss

View Elmar's profile


17 posts in 2318 days

#4 posted 04-05-2012 11:56 AM

Okay, sorry for over simplifying, I was trying to spare everyone the details. A friend of mine at work came to me with and item from a friend of theirs in need of repair. It’s apparently and antique hair straightener. It’s nothing more than a heavy duty steel comb with a wooden handle. Much like the iron’s of yesteryear. They were either heated by flame or stove top.

So yes, it needs the ability to be heated up to high temperature without burning the handle. Also, the caveat is that since the handle will need to be both turned and have a 1/4” mortise drilled into it the wood cannot have the desity of steel or rock. :-)

I don’t envision her needing to heat it over an open flame, but would like something that would last.

Thank you!


-- Elmar in San Antonio.....

View Bill White's profile

Bill White

4929 posts in 3958 days

#5 posted 04-05-2012 01:48 PM

I’m familiar with the impliment you’re workin’ on, and most of them had a pretty common wood handle such as maple. Keep in mind that heat high enough to ruin the handle would fry any hair it touched.
Is it going to be used or displayed?


View ChrisF's profile


8 posts in 2272 days

#6 posted 04-05-2012 02:26 PM

Hard maple is commonly used when making pizza peels which are put into an oven that is usually pushing 450 degrees, sometimes more.

Not familiar with heat ratings VS wood species but the pizza peels seem to hold up pretty well.

-- I'm not a complete idiot, some parts are missing.

View SnowyRiver's profile


51457 posts in 3478 days

#7 posted 04-05-2012 02:34 PM

I would say that any type of wood that is very dense would work. Since this is an antique, perhaps you would want to stick with what ever wood was originally used to keep its originallity.

-- Wayne - Plymouth MN

View Elmar's profile


17 posts in 2318 days

#8 posted 04-05-2012 02:52 PM

Agreed Bill and obviously since it lasted even this long with the original handle being heated up who knows how many time or how, that the next handle would certainly last a lot longer.

Good call on the Maple Chris, I think that might actually be easy enough to find, reasonable enough to buy and be durable enough.

Wayne, I should likely take it to the local wood store here in San Antonio to find out what it is for a possible match. Sadly I am not versed enough on species, though there is one person at Alamo Hardwoods that knows about every species, can tell you what others they are related too, etc.

Thank you gentlemen for all of the input…..


-- Elmar in San Antonio.....

View crank49's profile


4030 posts in 2968 days

#9 posted 04-05-2012 03:16 PM

I know it’s not true to preiod for an antique, but if you use clear silicone caulk in a slightly oversized hole to attach the tang of the tool to the handle it will have a very good insulating effect. Silicone RTV can operate in an 500 degree environment without any problem at all. And the silicone will protect the wood around it.

View papaken115's profile


10 posts in 2243 days

#10 posted 04-05-2012 03:24 PM

Acacia or ironwood is also an option and quite pretty when finished.

-- Ken, Red Hill, New Mexico

View Elmar's profile


17 posts in 2318 days

#11 posted 04-05-2012 03:32 PM

Mike I won’t have much of an opportunity to oversize the hole since it’s a mortise. Inside the handle is only one part of the heat issue, the outside of the front part of the handle is actually chared….about the last 3/8” is burnt off completely.

It’s a family heirloom so I am not trying to maintain any market value, it was her grandmothers and she whould like to restore it from what I am told.

Thanks again!

-- Elmar in San Antonio.....

View Jeff's profile


433 posts in 3192 days

#12 posted 04-05-2012 03:33 PM

Any body remember Heinlein’s Fahrenheit 451 and why it was called that? It’s the temperature paper (wood) burns. Of course not all wood is the same but it’s a good starting point.

View Doss's profile


779 posts in 2262 days

#13 posted 04-05-2012 04:21 PM

Well, wood of the size of a handle generally won’t have a worry of spontaneously combusting, but it will char. At roughly 530-550° F, wood will hit a point of combustion by an open flame. At roughly 1000°, it will spontaneously combust. Realize that we are talking about the temperature of the wood, not the environment around it.

The surface area and mass should prevent this wood from igniting at ironing temps (as long as it is not directly heated with a flame). Wood will char when heated to roughly 400° to 530° F for extended periods of time. It will also char when directly exposed to a flame for shorter periods of time (due to the area affected not being able to shed the heat faster than it is applied) (which I’m guessing is why this one is charred… or it was heated for way too long a few times).

Any common hardwood should work fine. Just be careful with the finish on it… you may want to leave it bare.

-- "Well, at least we can still use it as firewood... maybe." - Doss

View crank49's profile


4030 posts in 2968 days

#14 posted 04-05-2012 04:43 PM

I must not be envisioning the mounting method.

By oversized hole I was referring to the mortise.

The mortise can be enlarged, bigger than the tang on the tool.
No matter if it’s a square or round hole either.

The silicone RTV, when it cures will hold the tool tang and protect the wood.

If you put a washer over the tang and a little silicone on it before the tang is inserted into the silicone filled mortise in the handle the washer will dissipate the radiant heat from the hot tool and protect the end of the wooded handle as well.

I was an engineer in a foundry for 38 years and I know a little about how to handle hot stuff.

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