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 HOME WOOD LIBRARY Snakewood Lumber & Scales

Snakewood Lumber

exotic wood- BloodwoodGiven Snakewood lumber's extreme difficulty to acquire it , at least wood that has an amazing figure, ... it is rarely used for anything other then small craft work, particularly for knife scales (handles). Snakewood has a very tight exotic figure, consistent with its name, that works wonderfully on the small surface area of a knife handle.

The Tree:
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 percentage of the wood, and then rarely evenly spread across the entire face of the board. High grade snakewood is very expensive and typically sold by the pound, at least on the wholesale market.

Wood Description:

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...



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theWoodbox.com Jan 2007