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Exotic Wood Turning Squares Invade Our Warehouse

by Mark Stephens | August 14th, 2009
African exotic wood turning squares: padauk, bubinga, zebrawood, wenge, and sapele

African exotic wood turning squares: padauk, bubinga, zebrawood, wenge, and sapele

They’ve practically taken over in here.  Just within the last week, we’ve had a number of new squares show up demanding some attention. It’s like a turning square convention in our warehouse.  Everywhere you turn . . . there they are.

All kinds of woods, too.

All these beautiful perfectly cut exotic woods are stacked, piled, and ready for good service in your woodworking shop.

Even though we call them turning squares, we’ve been lucky enough to have some crafty woodworkers walk through the doors, see these squares and say, “I can make something cool with those without even using a lathe.”

Now just what do you do with a turning square anyway?  If you need some help or inspiration, here are some goodies:

Small turned boxes made from turning square stock.  by Kevin Bedgood

Small turned boxes made from turning square stock. by Kevin Bedgood

Kevin honed his turning skills by cutting up turning squares to make these small lidded boxes.

Kevin honed his turning skills by cutting up turning squares to make these small lidded boxes.

Ipe letter opener made by Lou Dee - not even turned at all.  Lou cut and carved without using a lathe.

Ipe letter opener made by Lou Dee - not even turned at all. Lou cut and carved without using a lathe.

Let’s check out the latest offerings and some of the projects people have made with them.

Zebrawood

You’ll know exactly why this wood is called what it is when you see these perfectly demarcated lines alternating from dark brown to light tan. Plus, it comes from the

It always looks spectacular with a basic clear finish, and it’ll wow everybody and they’ll ask, “Is that really wood?”  You betcha.

Bubinga turning squaresBubinga

What a fun wood to work with! It machines so cleanly and looks beautiful with a finish.  So beautiful, in fact, that many folks refer to this wood as African Rosewood.  Hint: this one’s also from Africa.

You won’t be sorry for chucking this one on your lathe.  Ever.  It’s awesome stuff.

afrormosiasqs_2Afrormosia

I know, it’s a little cumbersome in the name department. You’ll forget all about it. This wood is kind of an overlooked one, but I think it’s fantastic stuff – the interlocked grain makes cool stripe effect and the color is totally even.  We’ve got boards of this stuff that are just gigantic, thanks to the big African tree that grows strong a tall with few branches.

Afrormosia has superior weathering qualities – much like teak does.  It’s a lighter in color from teak, but beautiful in it’s own right.

irokosqs_1Iroko

This wood grows in popularity with furniture makers.  Iroko carries a subdued beauty with an even color, intricate grain pattern, and little-to-none showy figure. It’s just a straightforward good looking wood that’s nice to work.

Also a fine outdoor wood that sometimes goes by the name African Teak. It’s worth a spin.

Padauk

One of the most vividly colored exotic woods.  And you can kiss that bright orange goodbye after a few weeks of being exposed to light.  What you’ll get, in turn, is a perfect chocolate brown color.  Padauk is also a fun wood to work with — it’s lighter and less dense than, say, bubinga, but machines and carves easily.  It’s a very popular wood.

Finish it with a clear top coat and it’ll look fantastic.

Wenge

Another extraordinary wood with all thanks to wenge’s near black color and peculiar grain pattern. This is a wood that goes over with all kinds of woodworkers because it’s so unique

Go ahead and give this one a try.  You’ll love it.

Sapele

Sort of a mahogany look alike, which means you get a rich reddish color and a solid, great-working wood.  It’s durable and beautiful.

A decent wood for turning, and an even better one for furniture making.

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This entry was posted on Friday, August 14th, 2009 at 4:24 pm and is filed under Featured Specials. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

  • http://www.woodworkerssource.com Mark Stephens

    Jaran, see this page about ripping thin pieces on the table saw: http://woodworkerszone.com/wiki/index.php?title=Ripping_thin_strips_on_a_tablesaw

    That should help you out.

  • jaran

    Wondering if anyone has tips on cutting exotic hardwood wafer thin like 1-2 mm. I just have a table saw.

  • Cher

    Will spray Laquer work on Aromatic Ceder? The pieces are 3.5 x 11 by 1/4″ thick.

    • http://www.woodworkerssource.com Mark Stephens

      Sure, spray lacquer will work just fine.