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virtually unturnable wood

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marcros

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a few years back, I was looking for some bubinga to make tool handles. One of the merchants had a 2" slab and a 1" slab. I bought it, and have used bits and pieces, mainly from the thinner stock. well, tonight I have cut a blank for a skeleton clock and the stuff is a nightmare!

It is like turning rock both in texture/hardness, and I imagine a similar lack of enjoyment. getting an ok (for me) finish from the tool, I just about managed. the older carbon steel tools blunted instantly, the hss were a little better. the sandpaper (net type) wouldn't touch it. the lathe speed was right for sanding, but as soon as the abrasive touched the wood it blunted it. I could feel the difference with my fingers on the mesh. the Simon hope drill sanding system was a bit better and I got to a finish using that. there are still a couple of scratches on the piece, but it will be on the underside and not seen.

the only saving grace is that the shine on the wood is beautiful. I went to 600g with the hope system and it has polished up nicely.

I have not turned many exotics but have spun a bit of Blackwood, a bit of rosewood, and this is by far the hardest stuff I have encountered. I am going back to native species!
 

Steve Maskery

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I had a board of bubinga once. I made a Chevalier mirror from it. Absolutely beautiful stuff. It was very expensive. I gave the rest of the board to my uncle, who made a dressing table from it. Well, I could always buy some more.

My uncle is no longer around, but I wish I'd never parted with that bubinga, it would have seen me out for knobs and handles and whatnot. The things we take for granted, eh?
 

Robbo3

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Coincidentally, today I had a piece of sycamore that did nothing but tear out no matter what I did. It was as if it was filled with grit & you could hear the crunch, crunch, crunch as each piece met the gouge.
I tried a freshly sharpened gouge, then shear scraping, shear cutting, sanding sealer & rotary sanding all to no avail.
In the end I gave up as it was only a practice piece out of the log pile.
 

sunnybob

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I use bubinga a lot, most of my boxes has some somewhere.

https://pbase.com/john_cooper/image/168359947

Yes its hard, but it doesnt wear out my tools that quickly. Maybe its because I started with hardwoods and only use soft woods for construction, but I never complain about the stuff. 8)
This set of swords are all made from bubinga
https://pbase.com/john_cooper/image/168253939

Steve, I have a box of offcuts that could do for knobs and stuff, if we are all here next year I can bring some over for you.
SHHHH, dont tell customs. :shock: :roll:
 

marcros

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This must have been a particularly hard piece. I don't recall the rest being as bad.
 

AndyT

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I saw a comment yesterday from Bill Carter, who makes marvellous infill planes. He'd been given some rosewood which was harder than he'd ever encountered - his chisels would cut the steel of the plane body ok but not the wood alongside it.
 

marcros

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It just goes to show. The few bits of rosewood that I have used cut like butter. Specific species, age, growing conditions make for a huge variation in workability.
 

Lonsdale73

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I went to a woodturning night and one of the demonstrators was having a real problem with a bit of walnut. Three others (including a full-time pro) and a multitude of gouges had a 'turn' with a similar lack of success. Then one of them - probably why he's the pro - noticed the lathe was running in reverse. Quick flick of the switch and all was as should be.
 

woodbloke66

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Steve Maskery":2ng9jdap said:
...it would have seen me out for knobs and handles and whatnot. The things we take for granted, eh?
Agreed Steve. Last year Yandles had a 2metre x 75mm thick board of Indian Rosewood (a very poor board I might say) full of knots, splits and damage but I reckon with careful and considerate cutting, there's a few decent smallish projects in it, not to mention innumerable knobs, handles and whatnots. What's a whotnot btw :lol: - Rob
 

sunnybob

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noun
1.
INFORMAL
used to refer to an item or items that are not identified but are felt to have something in common with items already named.
"little flashing digital displays, electric zooms and whatnots"
2.
a stand with shelves for small objects.
 
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