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Reel Seat Spacers - Wood

All of these questions about burl wood and Bill's slick method for making reel seat spacers got me thinking about the wood.  For those of you who use your own wood, do you have to do anything to prepare it?  I have quite a bit of nice cherry wood from my back yard that I thought would make nice spacers.  However, I don't know if I need to dry it first, or if a season in my car port is sufficient.  Are there any opinions out there (that's funny!)?  (Jason Swan)

    Actually, I don't have a strong opinion, but I have been told to cut my pieces (or slabs) into slices of about 1 1/8" thick.  Allow these to air-dry, with good circulation all around and in moderate temps. (out of sunlight) at the rate of 1 year per inch of thickness.

    You'll hear of other techniques too, that might be better or quicker.  (Bill Harms)

    Best bet is to send it to someone like Wood Stabilizing Specialties and have them stabilize it.  Basically, what their stabilization process consists of is an Acrylic Impregnation.  After they do that, it won't chip, break, or blow up in the lathe.  Cost is really cheap considering the process.  you can see their web site at www.stabilizedwood.com   I haven't been to the site in awhile, and can't remember if they have prices on there or not.  I can tell you that 2 years ago, it cost $12 a pound to get it stabilized. Just cut it to the dimension you want (I cut mine to 1" x 1" x 4 1/4" allows for plenty to cut off and round to any size filler even if your bore is off center) and ship it to them.  Usually turnaround is pretty fast.  I have about 20 blocks of Cherry Burl and 50 blocks of Maple Burl I need to send to them. Don't know what I'll ever do with that many, but I do like to turn my own when I can.  (Bob Nunley)

    I usually like to dry my wood at least 3-5 years before I use it.  This is air dried of course.  You may be able to find a lumber company near you who will kiln dry it for a small fee.  There is one in South Bend, IN who has done some for some friends of mine.  I usually wax the ends so it does not dry to fast and split.  I have some beautiful slabs of maple I have had for 15 - 20 years.  (Bret Reiter)

    I've just tossed it in the rafters in my basement. Rather cool, but low humidity most of the year. When winter hits, I toss it on top of one of the heat ducts. I haven't dried any real green wood this way, but it's worked fine for everything else.  (Larry Blan)

    One thing you can do is turn a project on the lathe while the wood still retains moisture and save the shavings from turning. Imbed the turning in the shavings and it will dry slowly enough not to crack or distort. Of course this is relative to the amount of moisture, size of turning, humidity of air surrounding etc. I did have some luck with this procedure myself.  (Steve Trauthwein)


I've come into some short ends of antique, antebellum-era heart pine.

6"wide, 2” thick.

Came out of the roof of an old warehouse recently demolished in New Orleans.

No  flood  damage  to  the  roof.  This  is  wood  from  the virgin long-leaf pine forests.  Beautiful stuff.

Anybody have anything to say about using a ‘fatty’ wood like pine for reel seat inserts?  (Reed Guice)

    Well, by now it's probably as cured as it's going to get  and most likely harder than a lot of hardwoods, if it looks good, I wouldn't hesitate to use it.  (John Channer)

      I owned a 1920's era house at one time that had floors made out of the stuff. It was harder than flint, and held a varnish finish just fine, use it.  (Tom Smithwick)

    Just made a heart pine insert myself.  Only problem I had was routing the channel for the reel foot - it kept splitting along the sap lines until I routed it with the vertical grain centered on the bit.  For aesthetics - I wanted the vertical grain on the sides - but just couldn't get it to work.  Not sure if that makes sense but that is as best I can explain it.

    Also - sanding pine is quite a chore - clogs paper instantly - so get it very close to final dimensions with a tool - or buy lots of sandpaper.  (Tim Aaron)

      Just made a heart pine insert myself.  Only problem I had was routing the channel for the reel foot - it kept splitting along the sap lines until I routed it with the vertical grain centered on the bit.  For aesthetics - I wanted the vertical grain on the sides - but just couldn't get it to work.  Not sure if that makes sense but that is as best I can explain it.

      I think I'm following your train of thought here.

      I turn a lot of what is called 'Blue Pine' and this has a lot of sap wood in it and the colors can run from blue-grey, yellow, tan and carmel in the same piece of wood.

      It is almost always necessary to use some type of CA  (cyanoacrylate or superglue).  I turn it roughly to size and then use some thin CA and spread it on the wood.  Turning will now be easier.

      Also - sanding pine is quite a chore - clogs paper instantly - so get it very close to final dimensions with a tool - or buy lots of sandpaper.

      I use drywall sanding screen to rough sand and then I use a sandpaper called Abranet which is an open pored sandpaper and I will sand from 180 - 600 grit before applying a finish.  I'm still on my original set of Abranet after 50-60 blanks ... good stuff.  (Ron Hossack)

        As someone who has bought Abranet from Ron and used it, I can only second his opinion!  Great stuff!  (Steve Yasgur)

      Or use the 3M "Gold" sandpaper.  That stuff hardly ever clogs, and can be clean with a whisk brush, or by knocking the sanding block on the table.  Great stuff!  (Mark Wendt)


Has anyone out there ever used Bubinga wood for reel seat spacers?  I had not seen this wood on any component makers web sites. It is some terrific looking wood.

Also, is 1x1 by 3.5 inches the proper size the wood would need to be cut for spacers.  I need to go see a gentleman with a industrial band saw and want to make sure I get these cut appropriately.  (Tim (Flex the Hex))

    I've made many seats out of Bubinga over the years. The wood turns nicely, but you want to watch out for the dust when sanding it. A lot of these types of wood are dangerous to breath in the dust. May want to wear a mask when sanding it in your lathe.

    Most reel seats are 3.5 inches long, so I usually cut my blanks around 1x1x4 or sometimes even a bit longer.  (Dave LeClair)

      Make sure your tooling is sharp.  High speed steel won't cut it well.  It can be really hard stuff, and can chip out.  Beautiful results, though. (Greg Kuntz)

      I'm with Dave on this one - I've turned reel seat inserts out of a bunch of different exotic hardwoods - cocobolo, pernambuca, rosewood, and quite a few others.  I wear a respirator (the same type used by painters with the changeable filters and such, I think mines made by 3M, but there are plenty of other good ones out there too).  Leave it a little long.  I always cut my inserts about 4" long, and 5/4's per side.  Gives a little extra room to allow for shrinkage if the moisture hasn't stabilized completely in the wood, and if I happen to drill the "center" hole slight off center.  Not that I'd ever do that, no sir, no way...  ;-)  (Mark Wendt)

      One other thing I forgot to mention - these exotic hardwoods can be a real pain the arse to get a finish on, because the wood is so oily.  Been a while since I've played with bubinga, so I don't remember of the top of my head whether that wood is oily or not.  If it is, there are a few different ways to take care of this problem.  One is to use a finish that is designed for oily woods, like teak oil.  You'll have varying degrees of success with this kind of finish, as some of the woods that are oily take this finish quite well, and other woods that it won't harden on at all, or it takes forever to harden.  YMMV.  Another technique is to use thin or medium super glue, applied with a paper towel while the piece is turning in the lathe.  Sand it down after a goodly amount soaks into the wood and hardens, and then just buff and polish it out.  (Mark Wendt)

    You can get away with 3/4 x 3/4 but I would make them at least 4.5 to 5 inches in length. Funny things can happen at the ends when making reel seat spacers and the extra length leaves one the ability to "cutoff" the screw ups. Just ask me how I know.  (Frank Paul)

    I've used Bubinga a couple of rods. The blanks are 7/8 in x 5 in. I turn my blanks on a small wood lathe with standard turning tools properly sharpened. I turn a hosel from the extra length and use in front of the grip in lieu of a winding stop. Nice looking.  (Lee Koeser)


Does anyone know what kind of reel seat wood this is?

Vierhout_wood2

It is very good looking.  (Wayne Vierhout)

    I think the wood is what is called called Lace Sheoak by one supplier and it is one of the many attractive Australian woods.  What is called Australian Silkwood or Lacewood can look very similar.  The reel seat insert I made from a Lace Sheoak pen blank from Lee Treeworks looks very much like your photo.  (Tim Anderson)

    Looks a bit like lacewood.  (Chris Carlin)

      Palm?  (Conor McKenna)

    If you send that jpeg to these guys, they will definitely be able to tell you or get you real close.  Hope this helps.  (Bob Brockett)

    I have a piece that looks like that, sent to me from down under, it was referred to as Sheoak. I used it for a knife handle.  (Ron Petley)

      When I was a kid, back in Queensland, in the northern bit of Australia, we would have called that Silky Oak, and it came from a tree called a Sheoak.  This is a different tree from the ones known as sheoaks in other places (almost everything is different in Queensland from what it is in other places, including, I suspect, chromosome counts).  My memory is not what it used to be, but I think it is a member of the Casuarina family.

      Silky oak is used as a cabinet makers' timber of just so-so quality.  It was a lot more popular between the two world wars and just after WW2, than it is now.  I guess it was cheap and easily harvested.

      It is pretty soft wood.  (Peter McKean)

        Having just recieved quite a few pieces of Aussie timber in a pen swap from Banksia, Sandal, Red and Brown Mallee, Ancient Swamp Kauri, Wandoo Burl I would  it certainly looks like what I have labeled here as "WA Sheoak" ... I'll assume that the "WA" stands for Western Australia and don't know if it means that the timber from the eastern side of the continent is of a different variety ...

        For further reading .. Sheoak. (Ron Hossack)

          Ron that mallee should make some great looking pens. I have made reel seats out of both the brown and the red mallee and I really like them. Highly figured and the wood is hard enough that it doesn't need to be stabilized. Aussie rodmaker Nick Taransky favors it as well.  (Will Price)

            I like both the brown and red mallee burls but I'm really interested in turning this new one, Wandoo Burl as it looks to have some spectacular figure.  Not long enough for a reel seat but an excellent candidate for  worthless wood casting.  (Ron Hossack)

      Your memory is good Peter. Casuarina is correct

      The wood was also used in boat building particularly as struts in small row boats.

      Luckily I only grew up in QLD not born there so my chromosome count is 'normal' At least that what the doctors told me. (Nick Kingston)

        I live in south Florida  and we have a tree here we call Australian pine, also called causurina. It

        doesn't make very good lumber because of the way the grain runs. It looks a lot like a type of mahogany. However it isn't a soft wood, in fact it's as hard as a banker's heart. It has a lovely grain when finished. I will cot some small pieces and see how they look and send pictures.  (Phil Crangi)

        You serve to jog my memory a bit more.  You know what kids are - every single thing has a local "kid name", few of which are consistent or right.  But as I say, you refresh my memory - Sheoaks are those wispy looking trees that grow in sandy areas we had thousands of them at home on the farm, growing on sandy ridges.  They are also plentiful on the dune areas adjacent to beaches.

        Silky Oaks, though, are  rather bigger trees, with irregularly shaped leaves, which bear yellow flowers in the spring and summer and are responsible for a host of allergic respiratory conditions due to their high pollen yield.

        Now it is going to take me about a day to sweep out of my brain all the detritus of memory that extracting that one has scraped loose! One such is a large occasional table made from silky oak that my mother had in a sitting room; I remember that she replaced it with something altogether less flashy, and that the last time I saw it was in my stepbrother's shed with paint tins on it.  (Peter McKean)


I'm trying to make good of a sad situation. A heavy snow storm in December took down a section of a Bradford Pear in my yard, which in turn broke some pieces off a shrub with reddish-pink wood. I have cut the limbs up into manageable pieces. I also have a few pieces of cherry limbs. I have 2 questions for those that turn reel seats.

1. Is Bradford Pear considered a hardwood?

2. What do you use to seal the ends of cut pieces to dry without checking for turning?  (Chuck Pickering)

    Paraffin wax is the product of choice for sealing woods.  (Brian Morrow)

    Try Anchor Seal. You can use it on the portions of tree that fell as well and it should keep the tree from dying.  I'm pretty sure you can get it from woodcraft.   (Don Peet)

    Welcome to the damaged Bradford Pear Club.

    Pear wood is indeed a hardwood by definition and is like other fruit woods often prized as a wood to turn and as a decorative wood inlay.  Preserve it by painting both ends with paraffin wax dissolved in some paint thinner (use a vegetable peeler to get thin shreds of wax for rapid solution) or put on the melted paraffin wax directly.  Paint or varnish will also do if you get a good heavy coat.

    Now, unless you want to collect more wood from this beautiful tree, have it seriously pruned about every two to three years back to the shape it was two or three years ago.  Do this in the summer or just after bloom and it will put out buds which will flower in the next Spring.  This is a pyramidal tree with long central branches and in the wind and snow the leverage is just too much.  I prune mine to a ball shape, so I have shorter branches in the top and I get a beautiful cotton candy ball of bloom in the Spring.  (Dave Burley)

    I got some Bradford Pear the same way several years ago.  It is a beautiful turning wood with a fine, tight, smooth grain.  It does not have a lot of "character" but accepts stains well.  I've used it to make tool handles and various nick-nacks.

    The only problem I've had with it is that some of the larger branches that I left outside to air dry, after several years, became infested with bugs and dry rot (a fungus) which ruined the wood.  I had little problem with checking while drying, although painting the ends with wax is a good precaution.  I would suggest spraying the bark with a insecticide and a fungicide (rose spray should work) before putting it in storage to dry.  Drying rate is 1 year per inch of thickness.  (Paul Gruver)

      I'd suggest getting the bark off if possible.  All kinds of "critters" hide under bark.  (Neil Savage)

    Not sure about #1, but for #2 you can seal the ends with wax.  (Mark Wendt)

    Nothing works better than a good thick coat of latex paint. It seems to work best if old and thick.  (Frank Schlicht)


I just finished drying some wood inserts in a small toaster oven. Worked pretty good. Took several loads to dry about fifty. This batch was for practice, and they're for sale. I have a bunch more to cut up. These are from an old, huge Elm tree, grown in Montgomery County in Missouri, on my father in law's farm. It's been mostly dead for a long time. Part of it was still alive. The electric company thought it should come down. It has wicked a lot of moisture from the ground and was pretty wet. The ones I cut up this time is pretty much straight grain, some is wavy. I think it has a really nice color that would look good on a cane rod. Some that I have will have a more wavy grain pattern, because they're crotch pieces. I just wanted to do a trial run on cutting and drying pieces for reel seat inserts and pots for friction turkey calls. I also will have a couple burls that need to dry a little before I cut them up. I'm hoping to pay for the new band saw I  bought for cutting wood!LOL

I also found a really big burl on a Black Oak tree that's dying, been hit by lightening. Also, another is on a Walnut (I think), I don't know trees that don't have leaves! LOL

If anyone is interested, contact me off list, please. I'll have more as I cut more.  (David Dziadosz)


Has anyone ever used Rosewood for reel seat inserts?  I keep thinking that Rosewood may be too heavy and cause a balance problem.

Any Help would be appreciated.  (Tom Peters)

    The answer is yes, at least one of the woods that is called "rosewood."  I drill out my inserts to 3/8", so they are relatively thin walled and not very heavy no matter what wood I use.  (Tim Anderson)

    For longer, heavier, rods I think a bit of extra weight in the reel seat can actually help to balance out the rod, bringing the center of gravity closer to the grip.  (Steve Dugmore)

    For the 80% of my reel seats  I use woods of the Dalbergia family - Rosewood Rosewood is a compact wood perfect for turning. No cracks, no splitting.

    Heavy, but not too heavy, in my opinion.

    You can polishing the wood and arriving to a glass effect.

    Only a negative aspect: rosewood can produce allergic reactions. 70% of the world population is more or less allergic to the Dalbergia dust. So, protect yourself.  (Marco Giardina)

      I will confirm what Marco said.  There are many great varieties of rosewood and many of them will make you sicker than a dog!!! Not only the rosewood families, but many burl woods will do this.  Just wear a simple dust mask to make life easier.  I use one turning any of the rosewoods, Junipers, Thuya, Amboyna, etc.  (Bob Nunley)

        Actually it's a good idea to wear a dust mask for any turning or sanding operation.  The fine dust can get in your lungs and cause problems even if you're not allergic to the wood and/or resins.  (Neil Savage)

    There are about a dozen different "true" rose woods, among which are: Brazilian Rosewood (endangered); East Indian Rosewood; African Kingwood; Cocobolo; and, Tulipwood. Most, if not all, of these have been used as reel seat inserts; with Cocobolo being at the head of the list today. Steve makes an excellent point in his response about additional weight at the reel seat end being beneficial is valid. (As a sidebar, Pfleuger reels were designed to have split shot added to the inside of the arbor for just this purpose.)  (Frank Schlicht)

    My rod building buddy placed over 1 oz. of lead in the wood filler of his Para 14. The dang thing was still way tip heavy.  (Dave Wallace)


I had a peach tree in my yard die last summer about the time a thread on how to spalt wood was in progress here. Since the tree was mostly on the ground, instead of cutting it up, I decided to let nature work on it for a while.

Before I cut it up to see if any spalting took place, I thought I would see if anyone has used peach wood for reel seats. If so, does it need to be stabilized before turning on a lathe or is peach hard enough to work without stabilization?  (Will Price)

    Most fruit woods have excellent turning characteristics.  I've not turned peach, but it is a close relative of cherry, which I have turned, and plum, which I've worked in other projects.  Look for interesting grain, get as close to the heart as you can (better colors, more dense), cut it into 1” x 1” x 6" billets and dry thoroughly.  I have baked small pieces of cherry in the oven for several hours at 180f to drive out all the moisture.  Boring the center hole first will help in drying, and may help resist checking.  (Paul Gruver)

      Baking at low temps work just like kiln drying.

      DON'T drill first; the wood will contract/shrink unevenly due to grain density and your bore hole will warp out of cylindrical; don't ask me how I know ;)  (Chris Obuchowski)

    FYI - anyone thinking of cutting up large pieces of wood for reel seats, wood that is NOT Burl or of an otherwise complex and interesting grain pattern, should really consider crosscutting or quarter-sawing the wood into blanks.  This will highlight the end grain pattern and even very uniform woods like maple and fir end up making beautiful seats.  (Chris Obuchowski)

    Hazarding a guess here regarding your Peach wood. I also think, from my working with Crab apple and Plum from my yard, your Peach would be a finely grained and relatively hard, dense fruit wood to work with. You wouldn't need to use any stabilizer provided you cut your blanks into 1" x 1" x 4" (or a bit longer) pieces and allowed them to dry slowly and away from direct sunlight.

    They'll bend a bit as the stresses settle and hopefully won't crack too much if dried slowly in a warm room for some time. I'd give them a year with the ends waxed for sealing as soon as you cut them. Moisture enters/leaves wood a full 10 times faster via that end grain and cracks begin quickly, which only grow.

    I've done some of that Crabapple and some Plum and have had really good luck using this method but that was in other woodworking duties long before my fly fishing took hold. Plum is some truly fine wood, with it's reds and purples and if I recall pear and peach each have subtle,  fine characteristics of their own.

    Good luck with this and please don't let that ol' Mother Nature get to spoiling your log before you can give it some care yourself.

    Embarrassing and long story short regarding the spalting of sugar maple..... Many seasons back I took a couple of (cough, cough) Hard Maple (Sugar Maple) logs out of the woods that had been cut by the farmer. W/O thinking to test them (hard/soft trees) and knowing how one can induce beautiful maple spalting by stacking freshly sawn planks directly atop one another w/o spacers between them for drying, and leaving them stacked for a year or so...I waited...patiently.

    A year later I unstacked 'em, thinking of all that beautiful, hard maple spalted stock in front of me. I found a lot of so-so-dried, punky SOFT maple boards that reminded me of sh!tty cardboard!

    (I've never told anyone this before............*Grins*)

    Good luck. Your stuff should be really nice.  (Jeremy Gubbins)


I have asked at a few online forums & read quite a few woodworking forums and find I have conflicting info on turning ebony. Some swear blind it will crack, if not almost immediately then eventually. Others have reminded that clarinets and other wood instruments  have been successfully made with ebony etc etc. So what do I make of that besides there being more to it.

Have any of you blokes turned ebony for reel seat inserts? If so, how did you find it? Has it been successful as a reel seat? Does it take kindly to water, etc etc.  (Boris Gaspar)

    Has it been successful as a reel seat? Does it take kindly to water, etc etc.

    I have had both experiences. I had one small board that was hard, and worked about like maple, and another that was brittle and would fall apart if you tried to work it. I thought the brittle board might have been partially rotted, then dried, but I'm not sure of that. I did get a couple seats out of one area of the bad board, and they were fine. If you can saw the stuff into a reel seat blank, and drill the center hole without blowing the stuff up, you will probably be fine. Be aware that the dust is toxic to some people, including me, apparently. I liked the look of the stuff, but quickly decided it was an expensive headache.  (Tom Smithwick)

    I have 2 reel seats turned from ebony & they are fine.  Also the chanter for my bagpipes & the practice chanter I use are both made from ebony & they are a lot thinner walled than reel seats.  Water does not affect the chanters & actually probably makes them sound better.  (Bret Reiter)

    I have asked at a few online forums & read quite a few woodworking forums and find I have conflicting info on turning ebony. Some swear blind it will crack, if not almost immediately then eventually.

    There is a saying among pen turners and ebony.  'It's not if it is going to crack but when'.

    I can't speak about a reel seat BUT, every pen I have made out of ebony has cracked.  None right away but over time ...

    This could be because the thickness is so small on a pen as compared to a reel seat so there may not be the problem.

    On the BL5 inserts that I use I turn to 0.665 and I normally use 3/8" for the bore that would leave a thickness of 0.290.    I think I'd use a smaller bore and leave the wood thicker. This is one of the nicest woods to turn ... I think I'll make a reel seat as a test bed and see what happens.  (Ron Hossack)

    I have made same reel seat using ebony without any problem of cracking. Of course seasoned ebony. It has a tendency to want to split only in large pieces, not in a 4" round reel seat. Ebony is very easy and comfortable to turning. Dense and strong. You can have a really nice polish like glass. Usually I buy my woods from eBay. If you want a black reel seat - any way ebony is not only black - you can also consider the possibility to use Blackwood Dalbergia Melanoxylon. A little more rare and expensive then ebony, but firs class wood. Very stable.  (Marco Giardina)

    Thanks for all the replies. Marco, thanks for the 'blackwood' suggestion also. Bret, I hadn't thought of bagpipes and the moisture they must accumulate over time.

    Nice to have access to all your experiences.  I will have a go at making a few inserts and see. I'll let you know how it goes.

    Peter, unfortunately  I'm not going to be able to make it this year. I could if it was in Sydney! Must work on that sometime...  (Boris Gaspar)


Was in wood insert building mood. Got a whole pile of blanks and got them done. Then I decided to start on some of my own wood stockpile. Got some 1" planks of Zebra and Rosewood [I think].

Sawed the planks to blank stage with a jig saw. Too lazy to set up the table saw for a small job. Clamped the plank to the Shopmate and got to work. I'm left handed.

About 2 hours later, the area under the signet ring on my right hand started to itch like crazy. Took the ring off and the finger was bright red. Looked like it had burned. Later, the top  my right forearm started is itch as well. There were small red spots all down the top of it to the wrist. About 2 hours later  the top  my left foot really started to itch. I was wearing sandals in the shop.

And the worst part. Just after the sawing, the previously drank coffee needed draining so guess what else got saw dusted.

I had a allergic reaction to the saw dust.  The saw dust went through my long sleeved shirt and my sock burning area skin area that it touched. Each area effected took from 1>3 weeks to heal. The hands were not effected except for the finger where the ring captured the saw dust.

I know that Rosewood isn't all the great to breathe, but I'd never heard or read about touch.

Just another day in the rod shop.  (Don Anderson)

    It was most likely the Zebrawood (Zebrano) not the Rosewood.  (Larry Swearingen)

      The wood toxicity chart I have lists Rosewood as being twice as potent as Zebrawood.  (Al Baldauski)

        If my feeble memory serves, there are several different kinds of "rosewood," African, Brazilian, etc. and they probably don't all have the same toxicity?   (Neil Savage)

          The so called "Rosewood" - true Rosewood - are woods of genus Dalbergia. The wood is not toxic, but it is allergenic. That is bad: toxicity can be eliminated from the organism, allergic sensibility is more difficult to remove.

          80% of the population in the word is allergic to genus Dalbergia. The more allergenic wood of the genus is Cocobolo Dalbergia Retusa. In general the allergic reaction is produced by the inhaling of the  dust, but same people can have allergic reactions also by dust contact with the skin.

          Use carefully this type of woods: like all allergenic products, in the time, the following reactions can be progressively more serious. In general tropical woods  - and not only tropical - can create health problems, but the Dalbergia  dust are on the top of the list.  (Marco Giardina)

        And of course some woods called "rosewood" are not.  A god reminder to have an efficient dust collector and wear a face mask.  (Dave Burley)

        I wasn't aware of any Allergy Documentation as it applies to various wood species.  I was just going by personal experience as a custom furniture maker, retired.

        I have worked with a lot of the "Rosewoods" myself and in larger shops and never was aware of any allergic reactions from them from breathable dust or skin contact.   BTW I love the smell of fresh turned East Indian Rosewood.

        Walnut too. I used to turn bowls in my spare time.

        However it seemed that when ever we had a Zebrawood job everyone in the shop would get some sort of reaction.

        Myself, I always got a "stuffy nose reaction" to Honduran Mahogany. I couldn't stand to work in a hot shop with a respirator on and the little  dust  masks  were  just  useless so......   That's one of the reasons I got into CAD drafting in the early 90's, to get out of a dusty shop environment. Bamboo dust doesn't seem to bother me now though. (Larry Swearingen)

          Here is one of several web sites that have allergy/toxicity data on wood species.

          It seems most wood can produce allergic reactions to one degree or another and of course it depends on the person too.

          The only wood I've worked that cause some problem was black walnut.  I didn't react to it but the dust was sure bitter in my mouth.  (Al Baldauski)

    That's almost as bad as chopping up jalapenos and habaneros for chili and not washing one's hands before using the toilet...  (Mark Wendt)

      I've done that !!!!  :(  (Al Baldauski)

        It's an...  interesting sensation.  (Mark Wendt)

          Yeah, I think that's how the Mexican hat dance started.  The hat was used to hide the irritation :>)  (Al Baldauski)

            Could be where the "AAAAAIIIIIIYYYYYYEEEEAAAA" scream originated too.  (Mark Wendt)

    My first guess is the rosewood ... any rosewood especially Cocobolo causes the reaction you describe ... never had a problem with Zebrawood but two fellows I know ended up in the hospital because of allergic reaction to rosewood ... I think I had uploaded a list of toxic woods to this site.  (Ron Hossack)

    The recovery is complete. I've used Zebra for years w/o incident but the web site posted shows a possibility of increased sensitivity to the wood. Before Al posted the web site, I made a shim for my wife's fish tank feeder out of a scrap of zebra. No troubles.

    I guess that landfill is the place for the rosewood.  (Don Anderson)

    I can't remember who had the allergic reaction to some wood this week but here is some info on  the rosewood family and some of the woods that can cause it.

    Rosewood Family.  (Ron Hossack)


I have just purchased a block of Redwood burl and was just wondering if some of you have worked with this wood.  My questions are is it a problem to turn and how should I cut it up for reel seats-with the grain or against the grain.

Any help would be appreciated.  (Tom Peters)

    If the pieces that you have purchased is a true burl, you don't have the problem: Burl is without regular grain, but it have an incoherent and random pattern. If you see a regular pattern of the fibers, it is wood and not burl. In this case I personally suggest a cut and turn against the grain.  (Marco Giardina)

    Redwood burl can be a bit finicky at times.  Sometimes it turns real nice, other times, it can be a real bear.  Using CA glue on it will help the times when you want to pull your hair out.

    You can also use the CA to glue back the hair you've pulled out...

    Being burl, there's no real definitive grain pattern.  Slice the burl hump in half, and look at the wood.  Sometimes looking at some of the internal patterns makes it a little easier to decide on how you want to cut it up.  I had a walnut burl hump that I had to slice in half before I decided how and which way I wanted to cut.  (Mark Wendt)


 

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