Making a Commision - Part 6 - Choice of Woods


While the blades were merrily rumbling in the tumbler I have done other things, although I did not stop working on these knives completely – I took some time to choose pieces of wood for the handles and the stands. To pick eight proper pieces was not so easy. Not that I do not have enough material to choose from (in fact, I have more than I can reasonably use), but in this specific case I want sets to be made from a single piece of wood so they had to have at least 40x50x300 mm. After some time I ended up with the following. It can still happen that I will have to change some of them – a piece of wood can hide unpleasant surprises inside, plus something can always go awry.

The first piece is for the customer. It is a piece of cherry, possibly from the same tree as the template set, although I am not completely sure. Initially, I wanted to use another piece, that was definitively from the same tree, but it turned out to be unusable.

The second piece is probably an apricot. The wood is similar to cherry, with small pores and visible annual rings, just a bit darker and with a reddish tint. Just like the cherry piece, this one is from a tree that died and dried standing up, so it has big cracks that need to be filled with epoxy.

The third piece is cut from a pollarded willow. A beautiful combination of creamy white sapwood and light brown heartwood. The wavy fiber pattern should lead to some interesting effects after being stabilized with resin.

The fourth piece is lilac. Extremely hard and dense wood with tiny pores and a beautiful combination of creamy white sapwood and brown heartwood with lilac-colored streaks. A piece of lilac wood this big is not easy to come by, btw.

The fifth piece is apple wood. It is spalted (damaged by a fungus) and that has created some interesting patterns. Nothing excessive, just some contrasting light stripes. Half of the piece is healthy wood and that should create some interesting contrast, similar to one set already on sale.

The sixth piece is healthy apple wood. It is a hardwood with tiny pores and not very visible growth rings but this particular piece has a nice contrast between heartwood and sapwood, with a nice dark stripe. It will get significantly darker when infused with resin.

The seventh piece is juniper, one of the most beautiful woods I have in stock. A beautiful contrast between creamy white sapwood and reddish-brown heartwood and with a lot of tiny knots adding character. It is a relatively soft wood that soaks up resin well but the pores are small and it can take a good polish. There is a bushcraft knife with its handle from juniper wood in the shop.

The eighth and last piece is from the root of an oak. It is strongly damaged by fungus and wood borers, which have created some nice patterns in it. I cannot, of course, see inside, so I do not know how the end result will look. Out of all the pieces, this one is the biggest unknown.

And with that, I have chosen. As I said already, I might have to change something although I hope not.

The next week I will write about what happened to the blades after they were taken out of the tumbler.