Having finished a large batch of domestic woods plus some Christmas gifts, I cleared a shelf from the Latin American woods section, sorted according to species and size, and got started on this new batch of 29 blanks. Every piece of wood in my stocks has had, at some point, clear labeling, but over the years and a cross country move, some of the labels are missing and these woods become the dreaded unknowns. On the shelf that I selected there were two pieces that are unknown woods, both fairly small in size, so I started with those.
The first unknown wood is hard and slow to cut on the bandsaw but it did cut. The wood itself is a lovely mocha brown with darker streaks and swirls. There was a small section of very bright yellow sapwood that was clearly demarcated which was lost in the turning process. There was no particular odor when cutting this wood. It cut beautifully and required practically no sanding whatsoever. It took a finish with ease. To my eye, this wood closely resembles American Walnut but I am certain that it isn’t actually that. The final piece measures 4.5″ x 2″.
The second unknown wood is EXTREMELY hard and it burned up my bandsaw blade, which was new silicone steel from Timberwolf Blades in New York. Hidden under dark red wax was a wood that is golden yellow in color with very pleasant and heavy streaking in a darker reddish brown. There was no sapwood present and there was no particular odor when cut. This unknown material also cut quite cleanly although it required a bit more sanding than the first unknown. The final piece measures 5.5″ x 2″. There are significant checks on the side walls that show evidence of white mold growth. These areas were unstable and the piece would have been 3″ tall but these areas chipped out and I had to cut down the edges to remove the damage. This piece is actually quite lovely and unfortunately the photo really doesn’t do it justice.
I welcome any and all suggestions as to the identity of either or both of these woods. I am reasonable certain that they originate in Latin America but beyond that I am clueless.
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 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!