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Old 06-22-2011, 12:06 PM
bpknifes bpknifes is offline
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: Cleburne, Tx
Posts: 4
Ebony masaccar bowed after cut

I bought a block of Ebony this past weekend from the woodshop, it was covered in wax coating. I finally got around to cutting off a couple sets of knife scales, only to come back the next day and find that they had bowed like a long bow. I cut the pieces off the end grain, since that was the best looking side to me, was this wrong? I'm trying to straighten them (steamed them, and clampped to straight piece of wood), is there a process I should have done before cutting off the pieces or what? I'm a little nervous about cutting anymore until I find out why they did this. The wood did seem a little damp when cutting them with the bandsaw. Picture below of the endgrain I was to use for the knife scales.

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Old 06-22-2011, 01:23 PM
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Spalted Spalted is offline
Join Date: May 2011
Location: Oxford
Posts: 9
I have got ebony from 3 different sources over the last several months . All of them were sold as "dry" wax coated wood. None of the wood was dry enough when I cut into it. I have scraped all of the excess wax off and put it up to finish drying. I am guessing your wood is not yet dry enough.
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Old 06-22-2011, 04:35 PM
Doug Lester Doug Lester is offline
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If you are buying your wood from people who serve the woodworking hobbiests you will have to pay attention to the dryness of the wood. Wood turners seem to like, or at least not mind, that their wood is a little green. Try to get it at under 10% moisture.


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Old 06-24-2011, 08:05 AM
bpknifes bpknifes is offline
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: Cleburne, Tx
Posts: 4
Well the pieces I cut off have stayed straight after un-clamping them. Starting to wonder if I should change direction of my cuts on this block before I ruin the block and not have the length for knife scales. Is it normal to use the endgrain for knife scales, or should I start cutting with the grain?

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Old 06-24-2011, 11:43 AM
jdware jdware is offline
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Merida, Yucatan Mexico
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you should have better luck cutting with the grain, not across it. The pieces cut across the grain are unstable, lack strength and will also tend to split when cut as thin as knife scales.
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Old 06-25-2011, 08:10 AM
bpknifes bpknifes is offline
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: Cleburne, Tx
Posts: 4
Thanks, I'm going to go ahead and saw a few sets with the grain so they can start drying out if there still wet.

Thanks for the help
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Old 03-15-2013, 01:34 AM
bobasaurus bobasaurus is offline
Join Date: Mar 2013
Location: Colorado
Posts: 35
Let them dry out completely (may take a few weeks), then put/tape/clamp some fairly coarse sandpaper (maybe 100 grit) to a flat surface and flatten the blanks by abrasion. It will take a while, but the end result will be flat without introducing new internal stresses to the wood (like your steam bending will). Then quickly use them before any more humidity changes happen. It would be a good idea to seal the inside of the ebony scales before attaching them to the knife handle, just to keep moisture absorption uniform after you finish the outside too.
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Old 03-15-2013, 01:37 AM
bobasaurus bobasaurus is offline
Join Date: Mar 2013
Location: Colorado
Posts: 35
Also, that is some great-looking ebony. You should send a few slices to me while you're at it. I have a small piece of gaboon ebony that cost a #### fortune just sitting on the shelf, biding its time.
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