Snakewood lumber's extreme difficulty to acquire it is rarely used
for anything other then small craft work, particularly for knife
handles. snakewood has a very tight exotic figure that works wonderfully
on the small surface area of a knife handle.
Snakewood is a truly exotic species, and probably one of the most
difficult species to find. It grows irratically in South America
Typically, it is a very small tree, and only show the wonderful
figure in a small quantity of the wood, and then rarely evenly spread
across the entire face of the board.
The jagged black blotches do resemble the skin of a snake, thus getting
its name. The background wood is quite orange, with a very tight grain,
and a moderate amount of black, irregularly shaped "leopard" spots.
The tight grain of the wood makes finishing relatively easy with
traditional lacquers, although I have known some knife makers that
have stabilized this wood in a small vacuum chamber to prevent minor
absorption of body oils from constant usage... this tends to extend
the life of the finish.
Cuts and turns like a hard maple, with a clean fine texture. Snakewood
lumber needs industrial sandpaper, and a bit of patience to work
up the grits if you wish to get that really silky finish...