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Sandalwood


Guest ford hallam

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Guest ford hallam

Hello all,

 

This is a question for the woodies :) , this metal-basher is looking for a reliable supplier of some top grade sandalwood, both in terms of scent and density. Does anyone know of where I might be able to get hold of a couple of 2 inch square, 4inch long billets? Any help would be gratefully received.

 

Thanks, Ford

 

p.s. I seem to remember a link somewhere to a specialist wood supplier in Japan, I got the impression they dealt with this sort of exotic and high grade wood.

 

p.p.s; ok, I've found that store, but are there any dealers in the US? here's the link to the Japanese shop; click here.

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I don't recall seeing at the local woodworker's store. I've looked at two wood/hardwood on line wood dealers, and did not see it. Eisenbrand and Gilmer. I did not go page to page on Gilmer's web site, looked instead at the Stock list. I did look a the new wood and some other pages. Makes me want to do more than carve itty bitty pieces of wood! Yum!

 

If you can only get a large piece of wood, I'd buy in on a modest portion of the bigger chunk just to see what it is like for carving.

 

*I saw some Turkish boxwood half logs still available on the Gilmer site. Laos and So. American boxwood at Eisenbrand's site.

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I purchased some sandalwood from Hexhamshire Hardwoods in the UK a number of years ago- they might be a lead.

 

Hagwood

Whitley Chapel

Hexham

Northumberland

NE47 0HB

 

tel: 01434 673 528

 

The piece I had was quite large, but a little bit burled and not consistent in grain. Perhaps it's all like this- perhaps not.

I remember them telling me that there were many grades out there - probably different varieties too.

 

-Doug

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Aloha Ford,

 

I might be able to lay my hands on some iliahi (Santalum ellipticum). Wikipedia notes it as high quality, although I have never seen other species. A couple of things to note:

1) the essential oil that gives the scent is volatile; I have found that over time, scent fades somewhat and you have to give it a little scrape.

2) oils are concentrated near the base and in the roots. That might explain why Doug's piece was burly. (Doug, I'd be interested in knowing for how long that piece put out a strong scent.) I would be getting trunk material.

 

For those history buffs out there, the story of iliahi is a sad one. Hawaii was discovered as a source in the late 1700's. As trade to China increased dramatically, the alii (chiefs) forced the people to abandon their lo'i (taro fields) and fishponds. Large pits were dug in the shape of ships' hulls in the hills to fill to gauge cargo size. Those pits exist to this day as a reminder of those dark times. The people began to pull out seedlings to "save" succeeding generations. Naio (Myoporum sandwicense) or bastard sandalwood, was substituted, but being inferior, ended the trade. As the trees became scarce, memories faded. Replanting efforts for alternate species of Santalum occurred in the 1920's. The original Santalum ell. has made a quiet comeback in remote groves, but people still refrain from talking about it. There are currently 9 known species/varieties in the wild... and naio is still out there.

 

Ford, PM me your requirements and where it needs to go. I'll see what I can find.:)

 

KC

 

p.s. - It is a wonderful carving material. :)

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Guest ford hallam

Aloha Karl,

 

thanks for the info, your native species sounds really special. :) I'm was thinking about using some relatively plain wood to use to turn up kagamibuta bowls. The idea of taking the metal lid off and getting a hint of the scent appeals to me. I'll pm you. Thanks again

 

cheers, Ford

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Guest ford hallam

Hi Phil,

 

thanks for that contact, I'll add it to my growing list of specialist suppliers :) . I'm not in the US though, I'm way over here at the bottom of Africa, in Cape Town. B) The US isn't big enough for me :):) .

 

thanks again and cheers, Ford

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Guest ford hallam

Hi Dick,

 

as far as kagamibuta bowls go I think it's pretty much a matter of what works. Many antique pieces I've seen appear to be almost mass produced with no real connection to the inset piece. There are notable exceptions of course, where the "bowl" is extensively carved or is shaped to represent something.

 

I frequently fit a metal rim in the bowl to act as a frame, this is not very common on old pieces at all.

 

What I would say is that the bowl can be designed in such a way that it does add significantly to the whole piece aesthetically, rather than just being a bit of wood to hold the "important bit". The qualities of form, weight and texture on the bowl bring a lot to the "encounter", when the piece is in the hand. In this respect the bowl, in my opinion, has a very important role to play in conveying something of the makers intent. The inset piece, in my case metalwork, can't rely on the same qualities of expression.

 

If you think about the main variables in the shape of the bowl they'd be the total height, the diameter, the width of the rim and the curve of the back. That's a vast range of possible permutations. Getting the balance "right" for your particular piece is quite a delicate matter. And lets not forget ( like almost did :) ) the little hole in the base of the bowl, how big, will it be lined and if so with what?, or will it flow from the form of the bowl itself?

 

One trick I have developed almost instinctively over the years is that if you are trying to emulate something of the delicacy of older Japanese work, then reduce what you thought were the "correct" dimensions, by 10%. I say this half in jest but I think you'll get my meaning. B)

 

anyway, I'm not sure I've clarified much :)

 

regards, Ford

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Ditto to what Ford said. I view at the bowl as the frame for a 3D painting - adds to the wholeness of the experience. I think it pays to dress up the bowl with cord hole lining - I like ivory or antler, but whatever makes a nice contrast works for me. I never thought about a different rim material, and am not sure how I would have gone about it at the time I was making kagamibuta.

 

I have a small metal cutting lathe that I find really helps making the bowl. I first turn the cord hole liner to size (just a small cylinder, maybe 1/4 inch in diameter). Then, turn up the blank for the lid to outside diameter and thickness. I make these first so I can check for fit as I'm making the cord hole and rim lip in the bowl. I then mount up and round up the bowl material to outside dimensions, face the front (rim) surface square, then drill the cord hole to size of the cord inlay. Since I usually used ivory, I didn't bother with drilling a hole in the liner, just carved the hole after gluing it in and trimming flush on both sides.

 

I then determined the depth of the inside of the bowl (based on overall bowl thickness and thickness of the back wall), and bored a cylindrical hole to that depth and the inside dimension of the rim. Remember the lid needs to sit on the bottom of this rim, so the inside diameter is less than than the diameter of the lid. Then bore in the width of the lid diameter. I like using the metal cutting lathe here because the mechanics of the lathe make all this finicky fitting and measuring pretty easy. Then I procede to the hand turning for the inside and outside profile of the bowl.

 

PS Don't forget that wood/antler/ivory moves, so the 1/10,000th of an inch tolerances you can achieve here with the metal lathe are actually a BAD idea! Otherwise you'll end up sanding your close fits so you can get the stuck lid in and out. Don't ask me how I know this!...

 

PPS Also don't forget there is a means of attaching the cord to the back (inside the kagamibuta) of the lid. Don't ask me how I know this, either!...

 

post-11-1183051030.jpg

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Hi Ford and Tom,

Thank you both for the information. It will really help. I'm not very good with machines. Almost everything that I do is with a jewelers saw and a file. Turning something is a very new thing for me. Which is interesting since my father was a furniture maker.

Thanks again,

Dick

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This piece is not a kagami buta, but has two fitted parts with a means for attachment inside the lid. This two part netsuke uses the character within the grain of the wood to suggest the imagery. In the flowing grain of the Macassar Ebony netsuke, the darker grain was subtly carved to enhance the subjects of the piece: the reflection of a bird, perhaps a heron, and a fish, the ripple and flow of the lighter wood became slowly moving water.

 

Dimensions:

1.75 x .6 inches

4.4 x 1.5 cm

1997

 

300_1.jpg

 

300_4.jpg

 

300_2.jpg

 

300_3.jpg

 

I did the round shape and fitted pieces all by hand. Ten years ago. I still don't have a lathe, but it would be very handy for such work.

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If you get a lathe Dick, would you write about learning to use it, under Tools & Technical? I hanker for a lathe, but stay away from it, 'cause I might like it too much :P!

 

Yes, lathes are like every other aspect of what we do - as addictive as cigarettes. You start looking for ways to use turnings in your work so you can have an excuse to play with the lathe... ;)

 

Dick, you might want to take a look at Sherline lathes and mills. Nice small (but pretty stiff) metalworking equipment, should be just right for your size of metal fabrication. Here's a link:

 

Sheline Lathes and Mills

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(The next edition of Fine Woodworking will have a piece of mine in the Reader's Gallery and maybe on the web too! It is printing soon.)

 

I know what throwing pots is like, and that is why I fear taking a first step with turning! Throwing is such a great activity! I just don't want to glaze and sell thousands of pots anymore, and like carving a whole lot better!

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