Exotic

My introduction to the world of exotic woods began early. I had to stack and sort through piles of different woods at my mentor’s studio. Of course, Warburton would never be my master, and I’d never become his apprentice. But he took mentorship seriously while treating me a bit like an apprentice. So when I was in Baltimore, I’d go off to his studio and work as directed.
Sometimes this meant moving and stacking woods that he used, that I never imagined existed. Afrormosia, Agba. Iroko, Lacewood, Genipapo, and Satinwood. Some made me itch, others made me sneeze, and a few gave me a rash where they rubbed on my arm. Warburton’s generosity turned this into a lesson on wood toxicity that I’ve never forgotten. Trees deposit materials into their wood to stabilize structures, resist rot, fire, and insects.

We admire these woods because the added compounds affect the look and feel of the wood. But many of these are toxic to us, to one degree or another. For example, Pink Ivory wood can be very poisonous. A barrier coat of varnish is needed to seal it. Mahogany and teak woods commonly used in furniture have irritating qualities when sanded.

Finishing can be tricky as well. Varnishing teak successfully requires some prep work. It’s an oily wood, and the oils make it hard for finishes to adhere to the surface of the wood. The trick to avoiding a botched job is to wipe the surface off first, with alcohol or acetone. This technique only takes a minute but differentiates between finishes that endure or fail.

Most of my current work is in native North American species that are not commonly known for irritating toxicity: cherry, pine, ash, and maple. The added benefit of these is that most are sustainably harvested and available locally. So, for example, much of my cherry comes to me covered in bark and moss directly from the local woods.

However, just because they are generally accepted as safe doesn’t mean I get a free pass. Dust from cutting and sanding is an inhalation hazard in the woodshop, no matter how non-toxic the material is.

3 Replies to “Exotic”

    1. Many of the tropical hardwoods are not what you’d want to use for a spoon, bowl, or cutting board. They are lovely but can be problematic. For things relating to food, I always advise cherry, maple, ash, birch, or bamboo.

      Like

Comments are closed.

The Renaissance Mathematicus

Just another WordPress.com weblog

Sammi Cox

Author Aspiring

Stephen Fielding Images

Views of the natural environment & climate change

Family Matters

I'm Victoria Stuart, a poet committed to love's transmission.

Zombie Flamingos

A journey into bloggerdom

Charlie Sheldon's STORIES MADE US HUMAN

STORIES ABOUT THE MOUNTAINS, THE SEA, AND ANCIENT TRUTH

My Two Bits

My thoughts and ideas about life, cats, and whatever else I think about

WEGGIEBOY'S BLOG

Andy and I miss Dougy

Jalsails's Blog

Spontaneous Connections During Tidal Times

Pensieri Parole e Poesie

Sono una donna libera. Nel mio blog farete un viaggio lungo e profondo nei pensieri della mente del cuore e dell anima.

....on pets and prisoners.....

food for the body; food for the soul

Louis N. Carreras, Woodcarver Fine Hand Carved Accessories

Handcarved Accessories For Modern Living

Piper's Adventures

Mississippi life culture lifestyles inspiration

Mister Bump

My "bump" was in 2016 when, aged 48, I suffered a stroke. This blog charts my recovery. (Header clipart licensed by pngguru.com.)

Mindlovemisery's Menagerie

A dose of fetish. Good friends. An incomparable muse.

MY ENDURING BONES

Adventures in Creative Writing by A.M. Moscoso

%d bloggers like this: