LOG BLOG #3: REDHEART
I have made no secret of my love for the next wood in this series, Redheart. It is wonderful. It is striking to the eye, feels amazing in the hand, and sculpts like a dream. Despite this, it is not one of our bigger sellers, probably due to its higher price tag. Because of this fact, I have made it my personal mission to put a piece of Redheart in the hands of every gamer in the world!
This is not an accurate representation of the Redheart tree.
Redheart is often called Chakte-Kok. In the Mayan language, Chakte means red. Redheart trees grow primarily in Mexico, Guatemala, and Belize. They are medium sized, growing to a maximum height of 70’ and possessing generally small diameters that are rarely larger than 18”. A common distinguisher for the price of lumber is the average size of the tree. A smaller tree, like Redheart, produces less wide, usable lumber. Even though governments have worked to keep this tree highly sustainable, the price hasn’t decreased due to the smaller size of its lumber.
Another factor keeping the price of Redheart higher is that the tree produces a large amount of sapwood. Most woods are sought after because of the attributes of their heartwood and Redheart is no exception. Having higher amounts of sapwood again reduces the amount of usable lumber. Sapwood is the outer, generally lighter colored wood between the harder heartwood and the bark. Sometimes sapwood can add a nice artistic contrast when used for making a product but most products contain exclusively heartwood.
WILL MY REDHEART CHANGE COLOR LIKE AN UNDINE
Simple answer is yes. More complex answer is yes, but you will be able to control it somewhat. Freshly surfaced Redheart can be very bright, almost like a watermelon red. After it is worked, we apply 3 coats of a polyurethane-based finish that we refer to as Dog Might Varnish (or DMV if you are into the whole brevity thing). These applications result in the deep, warm red you see in the pics on this blog. That color will change to a deeper, brownish red if you leave any Redheart product exposed to sunlight for a long period of time. The DMV will protect it somewhat but no commonly used wood finishes will protect wood 100%. If you keep your precious Redheart away from strong light, it will retain its initial color for years. This is important when purchasing wooden products from any manufacturer. Always ask them what finish they use on their products. You are after a film-building finish, like the mighty DMV. A simple rub in oil finish or wax offers very little resistance for the wood. I would avoid that product. If they don’t apply a finish at all, run for the hills.
IS REDHEART FULL OF MAGICAL PROPERTIES?
The druids believed that humanity descended from the trees. They believed that we are, in effect, one and the same. Because of this, they went to great lengths to determine all the magical properties of the wood around them. Those that believe in this way of thinking believe that Redheart trees are full of bright and carefree energy; an excellent wood choice for those wishing to focus on the here and now rather than dwelling on the past or future events. It allows someone to set aside their fears and move their life in a positive direction and aid them in finding their personal truth. I am not one to judge anyone else’s belief systems. All I can say is that ever since I commandeered the Redheart Dragon Tray used for the pics in our Kickstarter project, my life has been amazing. Can’t say for certain if it is because of the Tray but it does look gorgeous hanging on my wall.
This is mine and you can't have it cuz it's magical.
THOUGHTS FROM A WOODWORKER
If I were to write a book about Redheart, the first paragraph would look very similar to the opening paragraph of Lolita by Nabokov. In other words, I love it. The color is amazing - even after it ages. I believe it looks better after a year or two. It develops a deeper red in spots and gets brighter in others. The hand feel of Redheart is fantastic. It is silky smooth yet solid. Unlike our foreman, Puzz Longbeard, it is a delight to work with. It sands easily, sculpts like butter, and takes an incredible finish. While it might not be the best wood for making hardwood floors, it is amazing for the accessories that we create.
You can have this, but it is going to be about a year before it gets to you.
Sources: A bunch of pages from the innertubes and the only book I will ever read, The Wood Bible. For full disclosure, I also read the first paragraph of Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov.
A Redheart Dragon Sheath with just a touch of sapwood.