Several years ago, on the occasion of my sister’s wedding, I was in Chico, California and Dad and I went to a local lumber yard, that for some reason quite unknown to me, carries exotic lumber. We purchased two pieces of 2″x6″ lumber of the minimum 4 foot length, one piece of Paduak and one piece of Purpleheart. These were later cut into 6″ square turning blanks. I most recently used one of the Paduak blanks from this purchase to make a small bowl.
I have discussed the characteristics and origins of Paduak elsewhere, so I will not repeat myself here. This was the first time, however, that I have worked with a Paduak piece larger than a pen or bottle stopper blank and I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect.
I was please to discover that as has been true of the smaller pieces, Paduak is a wood turners dream material. It turns very finely with little end grain tearing. It sands like a dream, even though the wood is quite visible porous and it is important to note that those pores will not sand out. The pores are an integral part of the wood itself. And of course Paduak by its very nature is a beautiful color of reddish orange, the depth of the color will vary by the piece obviously. And don’t forget the delightful scent of bubblegum when it is freshly turned!
I was hesitant to put a finish on the piece since I didn’t want to dim the color, but I found that a coating of Shellawax enhanced the color without dimming it in the least. I was certain that I didn’t want to use a paste finish due to the porosity of the Paduak wood; I was fearful that a paste wax would gum up in the pores and dull the piece. The liquid base of Shellawax flowed nicely over the pores and created a deeper color and shine than was possible with no treatment at all.
Sadly, I know that the color will likely fade over time, even quicker if exposed to direct light, but while the wonderful color lasts, this bowl should be a joy to someone whenever they look at it or touch its smooth surface! I will absolutely look forward to working with Paduak again the near future.