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Hoarded Treasures Exposed Vol 4

9 years ago

It’s time for another installment of Hoarded Treasures Exposed! This month I am pulling another beautiful piece from the wood turning pile. Often called the woodturner’s gold, Amboyna Burl or Pterocarpus Indicus, is hard to equal for color and figure. This wood grows in southeast Asia with the most ocurrances in Cambodia and Myanmar. I stumbled onto a great deal on ebay again for a small lot this specie. So far I have turned a few pens, some bottle stoppers, and a kaleidescope out of it. This is the last piece I have left and measures 2 by 3 by 8″.

Amboyna is great for turning. It has a pleasant aroma when you turn although I am sure that the dust is not good for you to breath like most tropical exotics. Not that any wood dust is good to breath, but I recommend a respirator when working with this stuff. Like any burl you need to be careful when working with it because of the wild grain patterns it can be unpredictable under the tools. Take light cuts and enjoy the constantly changing appearance of the wood as you shape it. In several instances I have been surprised as different colors appear on the surface when I have it spinning on the lathe. I made a pen out of this once that as I was turning the nib end, suddenly a yellow streak appeared near the middle of the blank. It was completely isolated and different from everything around it. Pure magic!


In my experience the highly figured woods look better when used sparingly. As you can see by these above shots there is a lot going on here and to use large amounts of it may be overkill. I have saved this particular block for last because of it’s larger dimensions, there may be uses for it beyond simple turnings. I could see some veneer cuts from this or even a small box made from it. Whatever I do, I would want to make sure I don’t lose the overall effect of all this swirling grain.

So let me hear your thoughts. What should I do with this treasure exposed from the vault of wood hedonism?

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