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Stock Blank – what kind of wood is this???

Discussion in 'Gunsmithing and Repairs' started by Kerf, Aug 1, 2013.

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  1. Kerf

    Kerf Member

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    I know it’s a tropical hardwood but not sure which one; rose wood, I don’t think so; coco bola, I don’t know. I don’t have that much experience with tropical hardwoods. Glued up blank was left in the shop ten years ago and I’m trying to squeeze a rifle stock out of it. Person who left it is long gone, so it’s mine now.
    When cutting to square up one edge, I was shocked at the color of the sawdust, which is totally red. I was expecting for it to cut like hickory judging by the weight and density of the wood, but my saw went through it like butter; machined nicely, and I think it will take checkering well. Blank weighs 22.5lbs; really heavy.
    I searched on the Internet on tropical hardwoods but didn’t come up with much. I was hoping someone has had experience with this type of wood that leaves a brilliant red sawdust. Any enlightenment will be muchly appreciated, TIA.
    kerf
     

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  2. sage5907

    sage5907 Member

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    Kerf, I'm a little hesitant to offer a guess as to what kind of wood it is but one place where I see a lot of different kinds of exotic woods is on recurve bows. You could browse a website called stickbow and look at pictures of bows because they normally tell what the risers are made of. Also look up Black Widow Bows and Blacktail Bows because they have a lot of pictures of differents woods. Part of the riser on my Dreamcatcher recurve looks like that and it's bubinga. Could also be redheart. So, if it finishes redish orange I'd say it's bubinga, and if it finishes red I would say it's redheart.
     
    Last edited: Aug 2, 2013
  3. Kerf

    Kerf Member

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    Sage - thanks for the help. I checked out the StickBow site and it pointed me in a few fruitful directions, since I didn’t even know any tropical hardwood names. (That site looks very interesting, by the way, building your own bows is really primal.)
    So, I’ve concluded that it is African Padauk, which is described as a deep orange/red color that deepens with age just as this blank has done. And they say the sawdust is toxic and stains clothes and other wood. I’ve never seen such a mess from sawdust, so I think this Padauk is going back on the woodpile. Maybe, I can use it for 1911 grips. Anyway, thanks again for your help
    kerf
     
  4. sauer1911

    sauer1911 Member

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    try searching Oregon wildwoods. it is one of the suppliers I used for building Ukuleles. The dust looks like mahogany, but I would search for hardwood suppliers for more info.

    I looked at the picture again, and IMHO from left to right starting at the clamp, Maple, Sapele/Bubinga, Maple again, and Mahogany. Depending on how they are bonded together, will be a factor in cutting and shaping into a stock. The lighter woods (maple) will be hard as a rock. the darker woods will be hard but not as hard as the maple. My point being if and when you get around to shaping and sanding, you might run into the problem of the softer wood wearing faster than the maple. Or the reverse when the softer wood is shaped perfect, the maple will still have scratches and need more attention.

    NOW THIS IS JUST SOME SPECULATION, NOT KNOWING THE REAL WOOD INVOLVED. I think you get the idea from my experience with these woods.

    I hope your stock turns out great!
     
    Last edited: Sep 1, 2013
  5. Kerf

    Kerf Member

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    sometimes a thousand words are better than a photo...

    Sauer, thanks for your reply and you are correct. The light colored board is maple and the reddish wood is laying on the maple for the photo. The reddish wood is the thin veneer ripped from the blank to square the blank, not part of a glued up blank with the maple. (Look closely and you can see the three distinct boards in the glue up.) Next to the maple on the right is the glued up blank itself. Notice how it has gone from a brilliant red to a dullish red-brown, that I don’t find very attractive. Possibly, it would look better when finish is applied. With Sage’s help, I’ve concluded that the red wood is African Padauk. Also, took it to the local arborist, and wood world international store and they both agreed it to be Padauk.

    I’ve decided not to use the Paduak blank because:
    A.) The way it fades from brilliant red to totally blah,
    B.) Makes such a mess in the shop, and
    C.) The sawdust is described as toxic. I did feel a little tingling/swelling in my throat while cutting into it, but nothing more. May have been a psychosomatic type reaction.

    I did place some sawdust beneath a bandage stripe on my arm for a day and had no adverse reaction to it. I also tasted some sawdust on my tongue and swished it around in my mouth to see if I could get some reaction, and nothing happened. I haven’t tried inhaling it (intentionally) or smoking it, since I think that’s frowned upon locally here in Missouri. Also, I wouldn’t want to possibly pass on a toxic rifle stock to the next owner who may not be as tolerant as I am. (I have no reaction to poison ivy, shell fish, etc.) I do seem to recall reading about a man being made ill by a rifle that was finished with peanut oil.

    I have the Am. Walnut stock I’m now using about 95% inletted but haven’t worked on it for a few weeks due to chores around the house and I’m thinking, I’ll leave the shaping for a winter project.
    Thanks,
    kerf
     
  6. sauer1911

    sauer1911 Member

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    I've got some nice figured koa, and birds eye maple
    Along with a lot of other exotic woods for grips.

    Gonna look nice on my black nitron finish 1911! Stainless with blonde maple!
     
  7. Longhorn 76

    Longhorn 76 Member

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    I have made some grips from paduak. It is beautiful when fresh cut, but darkens within days. I have tried a lot of different finishes, but never found a way to stop the darkening.

    I carves really well, though.
     
  8. sauer1911

    sauer1911 Member

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    Yeah I have a coffee table I made from Mahogany, it started out a real nice light brown, like cinnamon, but after a few years now, it has darkened to an awesome deep brown. When the light hits it, it has a ribbon of figured highlights!

    Wood is cool to work with.
     
  9. Catpop

    Catpop Member

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    To me, nothing beats the beauty and depth of properly finished fancy figured American Black Walnut!
     
  10. Kerf

    Kerf Member

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    I wonder what causes the darkening over a period of days? UV rays? Oxygen?

    I usually use Watco oil (which already contains varnish) with varnish for the final coats. I know McClosky makes a varnish with UV blockers and I intend to try some of that as soon as the wood is finally worked. Anyone try that route?

    kerf
     
  11. Catpop

    Catpop Member

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    Oxidation of the surface of the wood. Ever have any pine floors refinsihed? Notice it is only the very surface of the wood that is affected. When sanded down the original white color almost completely returns)I have never known any way to circumvent this process. (I ran a southern pine saw mill for 30 years.)
     
  12. Sam1911

    Sam1911 Moderator

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    I'd bet a fair bit of change that's padauk. First thing that popped into my head when I saw it. Wide open pores. Orange-red color. Relatively coarse grain. Doesn't have the intense weight or mineral content of the heavy rosewoods (Cocobolo).
     
  13. DM~

    DM~ Member

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    It's really hard to tell from a pict., but i have used quite a bit of Padauk over the years, in fact, i have a pretty good sized plank of 2" Padauk out in the shop and it does look pretty close to what you have.

    DM
     
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