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Working with Olivewood questions!

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OscarG

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Hi chaps, having some issues with some olivewood, wonder if you can help.

I'm trying to make a pair of dog shapes using bandsaw, one in Padauk and the other from Olivewood.

I bought a blank of each wood, both 8" square by 2" thick. Need to resaw each one to about 16mm thick before I cut my shape. I did the Padauk first and using a brand new Tuffsaws 1/2" 3 TPI blade it went through it like butter, next up the olivewood....oh boy very different!

As I was cutting it was shuddering and jumping all over the place, very noisy and feared the blade would break. It's left a messy residue on the blade too.

Is that normal for olivewood?

Second issue, the wood doesn't so much feel wet but cold to the touch. I put a cheapo Maplin moisture meter on it and it's registering 21% whereas the padauk is about 7%. Is 20% too wet to work? It's only a dog shape so provided I can successfully cut out 2 halves and glue it together it's not end of world if it moves afterwards.

The olivewood arrived with every face and edge covered covered in wax, is that normal?

Sorry for lots of questions I'm just wondering if the 20mm thick bit of olivewood I've just cut is going to now twist itself into a propellor.

Very pretty but a pain in the a$$, reminds me of an ex girlfriend!
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This is how the wood arrived...
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dog shapes
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If you can help answer some of these I'd be most grateful!
 

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Trevanion

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I've only sparingly worked with the stuff but it is absolutely hard as nails! It's quite hard to both machine and surface plane as it has usually got quite interlocking wild grain which is also doubly hard. It's a very high movement wood from what I understand so that's why they cover every face of the blanks so that it dries out as evenly as possible, I've got a smallish 3" thick piece somewhere that's got a hell of a warp in it which I imagine happened after milling and waxing. It does turn very nicely though so it's very popular for that.

My guess is that the piece you've cut now is going to either cup or warp because you've exposed one side whilst the others are still covered in wax, might be worth you trying to cut it up into their rough shapes and leaving them indoors for a bit to let them settle, then if they do move a little just plane it out and glue them down. I'm no expert on exotics though, I imagine someone like Custard would know a hell of a lot more and will quite you in the right direction.

I'm not a huge fan of the smell.
 

Rorschach

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It gums up tools, it gums up saws, it gums up sandpaper and is generally tough stuff to use. It is however beautiful to turn because the oil lubricates the cutter.
 

Lazurus

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As said a very oily and awkward wood to use with hand tools, I think I would get a more suitable timber for this project, it may save a lot or work then swearing as it moves and warps, as said above lovely to turn I would leave it for that. Sorry!
 

custard

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The Olivewood has been waxed before it has had a chance to dry properly. Wet timbers clog up the gullets of the saw blade and prevent cutting, hence the jumping around.

Scrape off the wax and leave it in stick for a year in a cool area like a shed or a garage.

It's a nice board, it'd be a shame to spoil it.
 

Trainee neophyte

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My recent foray into olive wood has taught me quite a lot about how not to cut it, how not to plane it, and how not to expect it to stay the shape it was when you first finished it. I have seen a claim that it is 3 times harder than oak, but this was from an Italian flooring manufacturer, so may be hyperbole.

I am coming rapidly to the conclusion that the only thing you can use olive wood for is turning and firewood, but other people seem to manage it, so the investigations continue. I have wood that has been air dried for three years (also known as my firewood log pile), and it still all ties itself in knots as soon as it is cut. I have a chopping board that seems to want to become a bowl - not helpful. Perhaps it needs time between processes to sort itself out,and I am just overenthusiastic.

So, if any of the above doesn't put you off, I would recommend going VERY slowly. Then expect the piece to move about in unexpected ways.

Full disclosure: I am NOT in any way an expert, partly trained by YouTube, and little else.
 

OscarG

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Thanks for replies chaps! So it is a pipper to work with not just me!

Apart from my lovely new blade it has gummed up my belt sander too.

Looks like I’ll have to complete my project using padauk only and put my freshly cut olivewood slice on the shelf for a year.

Seeing as the olivewood was sealed with wax before but was dry, do you think I have grounds to have a bit of a whinge at the vendor?

Not sure whether to have a moan about the moisture content or just chalk it up as a lesson learned.
 

Andrewf

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Have worked a lot of olive, and it doesn't seem to dry like normal timber. Some of mine has been cut and kept for years, and still only dry for 10 mm or so. The straighter the grain the quicker it dry. I have some whole trees that are all burrs and twisted grain.
 
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