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#7: Bolivian Rosewood (or, you're welcome Barb, now get off my back)

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Konas

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So, right off the bat, I have a confession to make. I am a liar. A terrible, terrible liar. Bolivian Rosewood is not a ‘True’ Rosewood at all. In my defense, I didn’t name it. But more on that later….

GENERAL INFO

Native to tropical South America, Bolivian Rosewood is common to Brazil and, surprise, Bolivia where it prefers the drier areas of the forest. It is a medium size tree typically around 60 - 65 feet tall, though exceptional specimens can reach 100 feet with diameters approaching 5 feet. The bark of the tree is quite striking, showing high contrasting areas of white and a darker grey.

 

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Bolivian Rosewood is most often used in the music industry because of its breathtaking appearance and superb tonal qualities. Test this on any Dog Might product made of it by singing directly to the item then holding it to your ear, like a seashell.

 

 

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A ROSE (WOOD) BY ANY OTHER NAME…

Like the Orange Roughy fish, which used to be called Slimehead, industries often change the name of a species to increase sales. Bolivian Rosewood is actually from a tree named Pau Ferro. True Rosewoods come from the Genus Dalbergia and Pau Ferro is in the genus Libidibia, which means it is not a true Rosewood. Libidibia is an amazing word to say over and over. Try it. Now. You will thank me.

So why the name change, you ask. Was Bolivian Rosewood once called Slimewood? No, the name change is due to it almost identical properties to true Rosewoods. It’s working properties, graining, and luster mirror those other Rosewoods. Even professional musicians can’t tell the difference in tonal qulaities of Pau Ferro and Rosewoods. Another reason for the change is that many Rosewoods have worked their way onto the CITES endangered list and are no longer available. But fear not, Pau Ferro is not in danger. I would also like to point out that I used the word 'Rosewood' in this paragraph 5 times. Well, now its 6.

THE ROSEWOOD DEFENSE

Spiritualists believe that Bolivian Rosewood symbolizes love, healing, change, creativity and, most importantly, blocking unwanted forces. When the zombie apocalypse inevitably arrives, be sure to have some of this fine wood around.

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THOUGHTS FROM A WOODWORKER

We when first started this little venture, using Bolivian Rosewood was a far-off dream. It is roughly 6 times costlier than the domestic woods we had been using. Now, we use a butt ton of it and it is truly glorious. Looking back, I am glad that we could afford it only after we became more experienced because, much like or Foreman Puzz Longbeard, it is a challenge to work with. It is oily. Very oily. It doesn’t like glue or finishes. The first time we used it, in our Adventure Case Kickstarter, I finished it with our old Poly based Dog Might Varnish. It was a little tacky but we went ahead and took pics for the campaign anyway. Fast forward to a week later, that damn box was still tacky. I am guessing that it is still tacky today, years later. The natural oils in the wood reacted with our old finish and stopped it from drying, ever. So, we would use a ‘dry coat’ on all Bolivian Rosewood from that point on. That meant soaking it in our varnish, then wiping it off, effectively using it as a sealant but resulting in a low gloss finish that didn’t match the rest of our products. I tried Shellac. It worked but, like our Head of Ops, Zoe, it is a pain in the butt to work with.

 

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Yeah, this is the one. Still wet 3 years later.

Once we moved to our new location, we installed the new spray booth and switched to an industrial strength Catalyzed Lacquer finish. Our first Dragon Sheath made in Rosewood went into finishing, we all held our collective breath. An hour later…voila…gorgeous finish and completely dry to the touch. Glory, Glory, Hallelujah!!!!!

Bolivian Rosewood is also very hard, coming in at 1960 on the Janka scale. The wood has a high amount of silica which makes it very tough on tools, requiring new blades often after cutting. It is heavy, making it hard on the body. Want to have a good, hard day’s work, try resawing 8/4 Bolivian Rosewood on the bandsaw for a few hours. Your body will not be pleased. Lumberjack juice helps.

So, why the hell do we use this godforsaken wood, you ask. Because it is simply one of the most luxurious woods in the world. The color is warm and rich, ranging from reddish orange to dark violet brown. The grain is organic, curving softly through each piece in strong black lines. It feels amazing in the hand when finished. It is solid and strong but the surface is buttery soft, like the bum of a newborn. The luster, even before finishing, is incredible. It is consistent, beautiful, and, like a fine Scotch, only gets better with age.

 

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Hey, I know that skirmish box! :D

Wow - I knew about the hardness of the wood, didn't know about the oil nature of it though.  Very interesting @Konas.  I'm glad you found a solution for it because I love the look and feel of BoRo.

BoRo is definitely among my favorite woods you use (along with redheart, bubinga and bocote).

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Hey I know that sheath!  The mystical properties must work since I haven't heard from either sister since I got my first piece of BoRo.

Note: Not even BoRo can cure what ails my singing.

Thanks for the blog @Konas.  Though you know I wouldn't have given you so much grief if you hadn't said you'd do it next until that trouble maker Eric suggested you do it last.

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Note: I don't think lumberjack juice and band saw should ever be used in the same sentence (except for here).

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2 hours ago, Barb Bliss said:

Hey I know that sheath!  The mystical properties must work since I haven't heard from either sister since I got my first piece of BoRo.

Note: Not even BoRo can cure what ails my singing.

Thanks for the blog @Konas.  Though you know I wouldn't have given you so much grief if you hadn't said you'd do it next until that trouble maker Eric suggested you do it last.

Who, innocent little ‘ole me?  No trouble here!!

Great Log Blog, @Konas.  It hits that sweet spot of balancing hilarity and fun wood facts. 

While not directly related to a specific log, I’d love for you to do an entry on the way the woods transform from rough cut to finished.  Do you have a guess where the interesting grain patterns will be lurking within? Is it just Viking luck striking a swirly pot of bocote gold in there?  How do veteran Ent hunters such as yourselves maximize the beauty and know what product to hunt?

 

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Pao

Posted (edited)

This was amazing! Thanks for putting it together. I backed a Bolivian Rosewood hero sleeve in the KS a while back simply because I loved the look. I'm now even more pumped to one day hold it in my hands!

Incidentally.. I love the whole series! Might I cast a vote to do Bocote next?

Edit: First post! This will be the beginning of a glorious disas.., uh, future. Yes yes.

Edited by Pao
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6 hours ago, Pao said:

This was amazing! Thanks for putting it together. I backed a Bolivian Rosewood hero sleeve in the KS a while back simply because I loved the look. I'm now even more pumped to one day hold it in my hands!

Incidentally.. I love the whole series! Might I cast a vote to do Bocote next?

Edit: First post! This will be the beginning of a glorious disas.., uh, future. Yes yes.

Yaaaaay you came over! Welcome to the dark side we have tri tip! (Arianna from KS comments here.) Lolol casting votes is very much reasonable and you’ll have a pumpkin/pickle in agreement most likely. 😂

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Many thanks, Arianna 😄 I'd have been here sooner but things got rather hectic.. well, and admittedly, navigating the forums on my phone gets a little complicated since there's so many sections that I never know where to look 🤯 I hope I'll get the hang of it eventually!

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13 hours ago, Pao said:

This was amazing! Thanks for putting it together. I backed a Bolivian Rosewood hero sleeve in the KS a while back simply because I loved the look. I'm now even more pumped to one day hold it in my hands!

Incidentally.. I love the whole series! Might I cast a vote to do Bocote next?

Edit: First post! This will be the beginning of a glorious disas.., uh, future. Yes yes.

I second the Bocote vote

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On 5/26/2018 at 4:04 AM, Pao said:

This was amazing! Thanks for putting it together. I backed a Bolivian Rosewood hero sleeve in the KS a while back simply because I loved the look. I'm now even more pumped to one day hold it in my hands!

Incidentally.. I love the whole series! Might I cast a vote to do Bocote next?

Edit: First post! This will be the beginning of a glorious disas.., uh, future. Yes yes.

*awakes in the middle of the night*

Did somebody say bocote? 

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On 5/26/2018 at 5:36 PM, Peter Pickle said:

I second the Bocote vote

@Konas, I don't think you should "enable their addiction".  😉

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Now I know why Barb is in love with Rosewood. Its an awesome wood. Almost as good as my precious leopardwood. 

I wouldn't mind owning an item or two...or three in Rosewood. 

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