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Forum topic by fisherdoug09 posted 12-22-2012 12:34 AM 1278 views 0 times favorited 6 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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122 posts in 2697 days

12-22-2012 12:34 AM

Hello fellow LJ’s. I have taken the plunge and bought some Cocobolo to incorporate into to my box making. Having never work with this beautiful wood before, do any of you have any tips or tricks you care to pass on to me. Thanks in advance and Merry Christmas to all of you. Doug

6 replies so far

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182 posts in 2224 days

#1 posted 12-22-2012 01:02 AM

It’s a beautiful wood, and I love to work with it. You should know a few things, however. First you don’t want to breathe the dust. Wear a mask. Second, its a very oily wood. I wipe the surfaces with mineral spirits before gluing. And the last thing I can offer, because the wood is so oily it doesn’t like polyp or topcoat finishes. I struggled with this until I finally learner that a paste wax only finish is beautiful on cocobolo. It great. Good luck with it!

-- Ron Wilson - maker of fine firewood!

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4757 posts in 2374 days

#2 posted 12-22-2012 01:16 AM

I love cocobolo but it doesn’t like me. It is difficult to get a good glue bond. I had several chunks fly off the lathe at me. Even wiping w/ acetone and using epoxy I couldn’t keep my project together on the lathe. Boxes should be easier as there shouldn’t be subject the the forces of wood turning. I also found out I am allergic to it. The saw dust causes a rash like poison ivy on me, thank God I wore a dust mask. It has been several weeks and I still have a rash on my wrists and the back of my neck. It was nasty the first few days. Be careful with it and see if you develop a reaction. Definitely wear a mask.

-- Bondo Gaposis

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915 posts in 2116 days

#3 posted 01-05-2013 10:49 PM

I’ve read that wiping it down with naptha before gluing can help. Mineral spirits would probably work too but would evaporate a bit slower than naptha.

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27 posts in 2326 days

#4 posted 01-05-2013 11:37 PM

Beautiful wood, but like others have said, the dust irritates my nose. I tried to thickness sand a piece for a friend, and it completely gummed up my sandpaper.

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22 posts in 1893 days

#5 posted 04-13-2013 06:57 AM

Beautiful wood but tough to finish because of the natural oils it contains. I found, the hard way, that the only way I could get a “food contact approved” varnish to dry was to wipe it well with acetone until the rag no longer showed color, put on a couple coats of 1# cut shellac and then the final finish. It still took two days to dry but doing it this way it did dry. I also found that setting the unfinished wood in the sun caused it to oxidize a caused some orange hues to develop.

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104 posts in 3053 days

#6 posted 04-13-2013 12:30 PM

I’ll go a step further from the dust mask. Get a respirator. When I started working with it I had no problem. After a couple of days I was getting so congested I could barely breathe.

The dust from sanding will contaminate EVERYthing. Other wood…clothes…shop…etc. The oily nature of the wood makes it stick to everything. Wear separate clothes for working with the wood then change when done.

I used mineral spirits prior to gluing. Used it liberally JUST prior. Glue as soon as the mineral spirits are dry. Titebond III worked fine for me.

I had no luck with varnish. It just never dried. If you coat with shellac first it may help. Better still, just use shellac. You could even skip finishes altogether. The natural oils leave a very nice finish.

All said, it’s a beautiful wood and not too difficult to work. I don’t think I would take on another larger projects (coffee table) with it. I’ll use what I have left over for boxes.


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