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The Newbies Arena Are you new to knife making? Here is all the help you will need.

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  #1  
Old 09-16-2016, 10:28 PM
yeuker yeuker is offline
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Which wood for scales

New knife maker here. I have some wood I milled for the scales. Not sure which one to use. What are your opinions. The wood is called purple heart and has black and white mixed in.

https://goo.gl/photos/W4u1js1UGuaLpZeE8
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  #2  
Old 09-16-2016, 10:30 PM
yeuker yeuker is offline
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These are the knives.

https://goo.gl/photos/w9ySxjheA76i9WAe6
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  #3  
Old 09-17-2016, 03:02 AM
Doug Lester Doug Lester is offline
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I've never seen purple heart look so non purple. Are you sure of your source or is there just no heart wood in the slabs? As far as which slabs to use from the blanks that you cut, I'd stay away from the pieces with the broad white stripes in them.

Doug


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  #4  
Old 09-17-2016, 05:29 AM
WNC Goater WNC Goater is offline
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I'm with Doug, that doesn't look like purpleheart to me. Purpleheart usually has a fairly tight, straight grain, and most definately has a purplish color. If you get it hot when sanding it will pull oil out and make dark purple spots. That wood's grain pattern and figure I've never seen in Purpleheart. That doesn't necessarily mean it doesn't exist, just I've never seen it.
That wood has more of a warm, rich brown color and a beautiful figure. It could be any number of types but my first thought is walnut.


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  #5  
Old 09-17-2016, 05:36 AM
WNC Goater WNC Goater is offline
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Went back and looked again. I can't tell for sure but some of the striped pattern looks a bit like sawblade burn. Are they sanded after milling? (I'm using a tablet & photos are small)

Regardless, it is beautiful wood and would make handsome knife scales. If you confirm it is Purpleheart, they should polish up very nice. Purpleheart has a high oil content so dont get carried away trying to get a finishing oil to soak in. Also, wipe down the scales with acetone before epoxying to the blade to remove any surface oil.


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Last edited by WNC Goater; 09-17-2016 at 05:44 AM.
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  #6  
Old 09-17-2016, 08:32 AM
dtec1 dtec1 is offline
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yeh I also tend to agree doesn't look like purple heart to me either. but that doesn't mean it wont make good scales. if it were me I would stay away from the top part of those pieces where it has heavier dark bands that I also think COULD be burn marks (not 100% on that ) but either way the bottom half of those pieces look like a more natural grain I would use that
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Old 09-17-2016, 09:15 AM
dtec1 dtec1 is offline
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WNC I think your right I just went and looked at a old knife I did it was the 2nd hidden tang anyway it was figured walnut and the grain pattern looks almost exactly the same
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  #8  
Old 09-17-2016, 01:11 PM
jimmontg jimmontg is offline
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Purple Heart turns more purple if exposed to sun.

I ordered a 1/4 x3" piece of the wood. I thought it was rosewood as it wasn't purple AT all. Told to go put it in the sun or heat and it did turn purple. Here's the catch after a while it gets darker and become purplish brown. Still looks good. BTW you do not need to seal it just use some nice wax after you buff it and it will look fine. If after a day or two in the sun it doesn't turn purple, then it is a type of rosewood it looks to me to be Honduran Rosewood. Is it heavy and very hard? Then it isn't walnut or maple. You probably have some fresh cut purple heart, that is what it looks like. Take a small piece and put in oven at lowest temp for about half an hour and see. Don't put the whole slab in there as they will warp! Over the space of a week a piece I had went from rosewood to purple heart without the sun. The white part is the living layer near the bark so don't use that as it may not change.

I use gunstock wax with beeswax, carnauba wax and silicone in a solvent suspension. Rub on lightly, let dry, about 5 minutes, and using a soft cloth rub off. Wax seems to slow down color change, seems too. I mostly use exotic woods for my handles and some of them have some weird properties like red Padauk NEEDS screws, glue doesn't stick to it very well. Well epoxy doesn't, maybe the cyanoacrylates super glues do. CA for short. Yes for all the rosewood family woods like purple heart or cocobolo a wipe down with thinner is needed, but the oil still seeps out, you need loveless or corby's. I know where you can get loveless 1/8" if you like small pins, 3/16 too.

Last edited by jimmontg; 09-17-2016 at 01:41 PM. Reason: Clarification
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Old 09-17-2016, 01:47 PM
jimmontg jimmontg is offline
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Yep, looking at the blown up pics, it is either Honduran rosewood or purple heart and I doubt the folks that sent it to you made that big of a mistake. Give them a call on Monday, they'll tell you what I did above.

Last edited by jimmontg; 09-17-2016 at 02:06 PM.
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  #10  
Old 09-20-2016, 03:56 AM
Neil McCauley Neil McCauley is offline
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If you really are new to this you might want to go with a softer hardwood like Walnut or Cherry. I just did a bunch of Walnut scales and it's fun to work with, sanding with 150-200 grits you can really see it being shaped.
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  #11  
Old 09-20-2016, 07:37 AM
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Andrew Garrett Andrew Garrett is offline
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My first thought was Koa, but looking at the way the light is bouncing off the grain in the first pic (left side of image), my money is on Walnut--looks like a lot of rifle stocks I've seen.

Nonetheless, it's great wood.

Every now and then, the labels I put on wood will fall off, and I'll forget what it was. I still use it. I know it is knife appropriate, or I wouldn't buy it, so I have been known to put it on the table as a 'mystery' wood. That works out great because lookers at the show all have their opinion as to the wood species. It starts a conversation (like this one) and the knife gets attention and usually sells.

Cool blades too!


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  #12  
Old 10-17-2016, 01:23 PM
yeuker yeuker is offline
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Thanks everyone - What to finish the scales with

Hey Everyone,

Sorry to wake up an old post, but it related to the same wood and same scales. I believe its purple heart but that's to be debated :-). In any case, the scales are glued up and I am finishing them this week. Once I have them just as I want, what should I finish them with? I.e. Wax? Oil? What type? I'd appreciate any advice you can give to your experience.

Thanks,

Cory
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  #13  
Old 10-17-2016, 01:36 PM
yeuker yeuker is offline
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I think I may have found my own answer on a different thread on this forum. Does this sound pretty resonable:
"
I use a file to profile then hand sand down to 400 grit.
Apply tung oil...leave it on for 10 - 15 min. then wipe off with a clean rag across the grain, dry for a few hours in my "hot box", smooth up with 0000 steel wool. I do this three or four times until all the pores and grain is filled. I then do a "wet" sand with used 400grit using tung oil as the wetting agent. Again wipe clean across grain. After completely drying for 24hrs. +/- , I polish with brown kraft paper (grocery bag) and then apply 2 or 3 coats of wax to finish. I have used my heat gun to bring out the purple but direct sunlight will do a gentler job even through the finish.
"
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  #14  
Old 10-17-2016, 03:10 PM
jimmontg jimmontg is offline
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Did they turn purple Yeuker? Wax and oil is fine, I use gunstock wax and some use Tru Oil as long as it gets you there in the end. I've never used Tung oil and can't speak to that.
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  #15  
Old 10-18-2016, 09:14 AM
yeuker yeuker is offline
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Great question on the purple

Good question. The wood when I drill it comes out a deep red/purple but on the outside, especially when coarse sanding or filing turns brown. It is very oily, and when I sand it quickly and with higher grits darkens up. Using something like a belt sander causes very dark marks and could not be used. I think after I get into finer grits (still using 100 on the shaping) the grain will really come out. Googling 'purple heart turns brown', sounds pretty common. I'm going to leave it in the sun for a few days and see :-).

My uncle is a pretty serious wood worker and purchased the wood rough cut in Costa Rica or Panama (can't remember which). If he says its purple heart, I'm going to go with it. In either case, it makes for beautiful scales. Here is a picture as of 1AM. As you can see with the coarse sanding the wood becomes completely brown but I can assure you it is purple on the inside :-).

https://goo.gl/photos/Ryk6aHLHwGpLXTwS9

Worth noting the wood is substantially harder than anything I have ever seen or worked with. Even with a steel file, it takes work to shape. Really quite awesome and fun to work with. I'm going to do another night of sanding and profiling and then coat it with tung oil, then wax.
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back, blanks, fixed blade, guns, heat, hidden, hidden tang, hot, knife, knives, made, make, new knife maker, old knife, pattern, rosewood, sanding, scale, scales, small, tang, walnut, wax, white, wood


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