Tuesday, June 07, 2011

New Mystery Wood (Part Three)

What's not to love about the Wood Identification Service that the USDA Forest Service offers? You sent them a sample of wood, with a self-addressed, stamped envelope, and a few weeks later, they tell you what type of wood you sent in.

I've done it twice already - it's a fabulous and enlightening service!
The first wood I couldn't identify was Alicastrum Brosicum, better know as a wood from a Breadnut tree. If you read Mutiny On the Bounty, then you'll be familiar with that wood. You can read about what I built with it here.

The second wood sample I sent in turned out to be Eucalyptus diversicolor, you can read about how I came to own those boards here and here.

I haven't built anything with these beautiful boards, but I have a few things in mind for them.

Yesterday, when I went to the mailbox, I found the answer to
my third wood mystery. Remember back in December when I blogged about this sushi platter?

I'd found one board in my shop, bought at an auction, and the color was amazing. When I cut and planed it, it had an aroma that I'd never experienced. And when I inlaid this tile and oiled the wood, the colors just POPPED. Amazing color, like none I've ever seen before. And for the life of me, I couldn't figure out what it was.

A friend of mine walked in and watched me working on this, and fell in love with the piece. He bought it on the spot.

Since I'd used every single sliver of the board to make this platter, I had nothing left to send in for identification. My buddy requested one thing - if I ever found another board of it, that I would make a similar sushi board, so that he could have a set of two.

So...a few months ago, I was digging in the lumber rack and found another board tucked away. It wasn't very big, maybe five feet long and about eight inches wide, looking very dusty. It didn't look that special.

But once I cut and planed it, I recognized that same brilliant color and grain appearance. And that smell. I sliced it up, so that I could re-assemble it with it's vertical grain showing,

which was more attractive, in my opinion. It left a funky orange dust all over my equipment, and it's distinctive (and probably toxic) odor in the air.

You know I saved a piece to send in for identification this time, right?

Here are boards ready for gluing back together.

Yesterday, I received the long-awaited answer - the wood is Santos Mahogany.

I've never heard of it, have you? There is a ton on information about it if you Google it. Here is one of the most informative pages about it.

Notice what it says about the wood having a "spicy scent" - that's an understatement! In fact, every time I've worked with this, it's given me a sore throat the next day. Scary.

Now if I can just find the perfect tile for this piece...

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