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Showing content with the highest reputation since 04/27/2018 in Blog Entries

  1. 4 points
    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. 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. 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. 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. 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.
  2. 1 point
    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. GENERAL INFO 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.