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Anyone have experience working with these woods?

Discussion in 'Shop Talk - BladeSmith Questions and Answers' started by WyoNonSmith, Mar 6, 2008.

  1. WyoNonSmith


    Jul 3, 2007
    I mentioned to some in-laws in Jamacia that I was working on making knives and that I loved exotic wood handles... and they delivered.

    I now have chunks of logwood, dogwood, pimento, and lignum vitia (apparently the "real deal"). The logwood looks really cool and has some good grain.

    I know that people use the lignum vita for handles, but what about the others? They want to get me some more wood, but I don't know if what I have is usable.
  2. jdm61

    jdm61 itinerant metal pounder Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Aug 12, 2005
    I would try and Google the names of the wood and see if they are known by other names. There are a number of woods referred to as "ironwood" that have no realtion to our desert ironwood and I know that there a re many members of the rosewood family that go by different names. I'm thinking that logwood and pimento may be known by other names and maybe Jamiacan dogwood is something diffferent than what we have in the South.
  3. Luke Sheridan

    Luke Sheridan

    Oct 2, 2007
    You should be aware that "the real deal" is listed on CITES II and subject to import restrictions.

    As for the others, it's hard to say without getting a species name.

    If they are not dense oily woods I would get them stabilized, but other than that you should be fine.
  4. kibuddha4


    Apr 10, 2005
    Do you have any pics?

    -Mike Sheffield
  5. howiesatwork

    howiesatwork Platinum Member Platinum Member

    Jun 16, 2004
    I got a piece of Jamacian Coucus? wood. Nice...
  6. bennett


    Sep 22, 2005
    Be careful when working these woods - especially the lignum vitae. The dust of many of these types of super-dense, oily hardwoods tends to be toxic. Some can even make you quite sick. My uncle, a cabinet and furniture maker, found this out the hard way many years ago:barf: Don't know about the other woods you listed, except for pimento wood. If it's what I think it is, it comes from the tree which produces the berry, from which allspice is produced. A popular spice, very prominent in Caribbean cooking. Traditionally, "Jerk" is cooked over a fire containing a little bit of this wood. At any rate - sounds like you really scored with your in-laws, especially with the lignum vitae - makes beautiful handles!:thumbup:
  7. bjalongi


    Oct 23, 2006
    Importing these woods probably isn't a problem, as long as they are art... ;)
  8. WyoNonSmith


    Jul 3, 2007
    "If they are not dense oily woods I would get them stabilized, but other than that you should be fine."

    Oh, no...they are definitely dense oily woods. And Heavy as hell.

    I'll work on pics and proper names. I do know that they cook over these woods. From what I understand from websearching, the logwood was used as a dye at one point so I'll probably get it stabilized to avoid dyeing anyones hands.

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