Leopardwood falls firmly into the category of woods I do NOT want to work with again. There are several reasons for this, and at the risk of repeating myself from the first post about bowls, I’ll state them again. First, Leopardwood does not cut cleanly and is in fact rather chippy and this makes sanding a colossal nightmare, made worse by the fact that Leopardwood loads the sandpaper in seconds so you will go through a great deal of it, and that gets expensive quickly. To give an idea of how hard Leopardwood is to sand out, consider that I eventually resorted to a 40 grit belt sander loop to try to cut through the mess. And even THAT took lots of time and effort.
Now, if Leopardwood was just really visually stunning once all the work was put into it, well, perhaps then I could justify it, but this isn’t the case. Leopardwood is famous for its medullary ray flecks which give it the namesake pattern, but this only shows on the flat surfaces, of which there are few in a bowl, only the bottom really shows this effect so the rest of the bowl is fairly plain and boring. In other words, in my opinion, decidedly not worth the extra effort to smooth it out.
As I have said before, I wish I had experimented with ONE piece of Leopardwood before I bought more, since I wouldn’t have bought more, but instead I got carried away with enthusiasm based on appearances without knowing anything about what it would be like to actually work with this wood. I have learned a lesson about Leopardwood and about woods in general that I won’t forget. Try a piece first and then, if you like it, get more.
This small bowl measures 6″ x 2″. I have no idea what the white streak is but it isn’t, as it might appear, a crack.
This large bowl measures an impressive 9″ x 4″. It was sourced from Tropical Exotic Hardwoods in San Diego.
All major cuts were made using the Easy Wood Tool system on my Robust American Beauty lathe, although I do use Robert Sorby bowl gouges for light final passes before sanding. Forward chucking was in a Nova Chuck, while reverse chucking was done using a Nova Chuck with Cole Jaws. Sanding was with Gold and Green Wave sanding discs as well as Abranet screens from Packard Woodworks. Final finish is Shellawax.
As always, I wish all my readers a great experience in whatever your wood working interests happen to be and to those who like working with lathes especially, do a good turn today!