Bloodwood – An Unusually Beautiful South American Hardwood for Turned Wood Pens

Scientific Classification of Bloodwood

Bloodwood is scientifically known as Brosimum paraense. There are at least 13 other species of Brosimum known to exist.

Areas of Bloodwood Growth and Harvest

All of these Brosimum species are native to the tropical regions of North America, extending roughly from a northern terminus in the far southern reaches of Mexico through to the Amazon basin of central South America. Most of the Bloodwood sold in the United States originates in Brazil, Suriname, and/or Guyana.

Bloodwood Wood Alone-1

Uses of Bloodwood

The dense scarlet heartwood is used for decorative woodworking including items such as knife handles and inlay among other uses for small pieces of wood, such as making turned wood pens and other desk set implements on the wood lathe. The heartwood color ranges from pale orange to a deep red and this color will deepen over time instead of fading upon exposure to light. The wood is not one of the more widely used exotic hardwoods on the US market and as such may not always be readily available for purchase.

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Alternate Names of Bloodwood

Bloodwood is known by numerous other names including, but certainly not limited to: satine urbane, satinholz, ferolia, legno satino, satinwood, muirapiranga, amapa rana, pau rainha, conduru and falso pao Brasil. Being aware of these alternative names can help you to more readily locate and identify potential sources of this relatively uncommon hardwood for your next wood turning project.

My Experience With Bloodwood

I have used bloodwood to make several turned wood pens. In my experience, the wood is certainly dense and hard, so a slow and careful approach when boring the central hole is critical to avoid breakage. Pull the drill bit back frequently, never boring more than perhaps a 1/4 inch at a time with a very sharp and high quality bit. Personally, I favor the Colt Five Star Brad Point bits, available from Craft Supplies USA in Provo, Utah. The wood is not particularly oily, so it should glue up without issue. I have not experienced any difficulties in turning the wood, provided that you use consistently sharp tools and appropriate techniques. I have found Sorby High Speed Steel woodturning tools to be particularly excellent value for the cost. They hold an excellent edge and display extremely high quality craftsmanship throughout. You should end up with a unique and beautiful completed exotic blood wood turning project that you will be proud to share with others.

24K Wall Street II in Bloodwood