is such a neat, exotic wood that it is used extensively in veneers,
decorative boxes and ornaments, intarsia, plywood, and turning,
in fact in any craft project, where you would like a rather exotic
wood appearance without having to deal with a really hard wood.
It makes great scales on an intarsia or carved fish. It lays fairly
flat so it is easy to use as a veneer on novelty boxes. It is soft
enough to carve small ornaments.
The Tree: Cardwellia sublimes,robusta
The common name for this tree grown in Australia is "silky oak"
of which there are maybe 25+ species included in the family. They
go by many names: Australian Silky-oak, Northern Silky-oak, Queensland
Silky-oak, bulloak,selena, louro faia. The most common is a tall,
straight tree with heights of 100ft and trunk diameter of up to
48". It has become a popular ornamental tree, in parks across Australia
and even in the southern US and other tropic zones. It has beautiful
yellow-orange flowers in the spring.
Lacewood, possesses one of the most unique grain patterns of all
the exotics, and is most easily recognized by its large rays. (looks
like the cross sections of a whole bunch of cell under the microscope).
The rays can be as small as 1/4" square and I've seen some
as large as 1" long... Each piece can be quite different. but
either way, to get this unique figure lacewood must be quartersawn,
or the wood becomes somewhat boring and you miss the exotic appearance
of the large "cell pattern".
The grain is relatively straight or at least on every board I have
seen and easily cut both with and across the board. The wood is
light reddish-brown and quite course in texture.
Be careful when working with it as the sawdust can cause skin irritation
or respiratory problem. This is especially true if the wood is green.
Lacewood accepts a good finish, and sands relatively easily, but
sometimes you can still feel the rays like in curly wood, thus best
advised to use a sanding block to level any surface uniformly.
I've never tried to stain it, so if any of you out there are one
up one me,..... let me know and I'll post an answer.
It has good workability but a reduced cutting angle, may help, when
planing. The rays, on quartersawn lacewood may tend to tear out.
Use sharp cutters and a reduced angle of about 20 degrees.
A wide belt sander works even better, but most of us do not have
access to such a beast. I'm told it has good bending properties
but must admit I have never tested that particular characteristics