Need help with a very hard wood project - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
 
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post #1 of 18 Old 02-26-2012, 06:02 PM Thread Starter
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Need help with a very hard wood project

OK guys I have a piece of old growth Hawthorn.. this stuff is like iron.. is it feasible to make a rondel handle for a short medieval archer's axe or should I just give up and use easy carving red ebony like this one I made?
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post #2 of 18 Old 02-26-2012, 06:35 PM Thread Starter
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BTW it has air dried for 18 years in my stack and it truly is like iron. It was the biggest base of a Hawthorn I harvested from a 5 acre clearing project and can make several handles but if you guys tell it's too hard to work into a rondel I will save it for a more simple project

Also what tools would be best to make it? I did the red ebony by hand with no power tools from a square rod piece so I could experience what my ancestors did. The initial working into a round was with an old huge bastard file

Last edited by Mr Woody; 02-26-2012 at 06:37 PM.
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post #3 of 18 Old 02-26-2012, 07:00 PM
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Hawthorne turns ok if you've got a lathe and some sharp tools. Not too sure about carving those grooves though.

That bowl was perfect right up until that last cut...
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post #4 of 18 Old 02-26-2012, 07:18 PM Thread Starter
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Hawthorne turns ok if you've got a lathe and some sharp tools. Not too sure about carving those grooves though.
The grooves are my concern.,. I want a rondel piece or I have to recourse to red ebony which carves like butter
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post #5 of 18 Old 02-26-2012, 07:35 PM
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I've never done anything than turn it, so I can't give any more feedback.

That bowl was perfect right up until that last cut...
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post #6 of 18 Old 02-26-2012, 10:05 PM Thread Starter
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I've never done anything than turn it, so I can't give any more feedback.
I hope to do a piece like the red ebony but have never tried it
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post #7 of 18 Old 02-26-2012, 10:38 PM
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If you have a lathe - that would be good. If not, try to find somebody who does and would like to help you. That being said, any good sharp tool will cut any hard wood. A spoke shave is an old time tool that can transform square stock into round stock. You could even take a common bench chisel, cut into the corners and quickly make a rough octagonal rod. More gently cuts can transform that shape into a more rounded piece. Patience will get you close enough and lots of patience will get you close enough to finish the round. As for the groove - carving tools with lots of patience. First, draw a thin spiral line and cut along it. Using lots of patience, cut that groove deeper and wider. To help you draw that groove, use masking tape to protect the uncut wood and draw your line on an edge.

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post #8 of 18 Old 02-28-2012, 08:13 PM
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Need help with a very hard wood project

Woody
Take it to a CNC shop. They can cut it round and router out the spirals.
Lacking that, look at the article in the front page at Sawmill Creek http://www.sawmillcreek.org/
regards
Joe

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post #9 of 18 Old 02-29-2012, 10:45 AM
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If the axe will be anything other than a wall decoration, you may have other considerations

I've made martial arts weapons from woods like Teak that were very hard, but unfortunately also brittle. They shattered and splintered and the flying pieces were sharp and dangerous. Hardness is not always your friend.
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post #10 of 18 Old 02-29-2012, 11:45 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BernieL View Post
If you have a lathe - that would be good. If not, try to find somebody who does and would like to help you. That being said, any good sharp tool will cut any hard wood. A spoke shave is an old time tool that can transform square stock into round stock. You could even take a common bench chisel, cut into the corners and quickly make a rough octagonal rod. More gently cuts can transform that shape into a more rounded piece. Patience will get you close enough and lots of patience will get you close enough to finish the round. As for the groove - carving tools with lots of patience. First, draw a thin spiral line and cut along it. Using lots of patience, cut that groove deeper and wider. To help you draw that groove, use masking tape to protect the uncut wood and draw your line on an edge.
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Woody
Take it to a CNC shop. They can cut it round and router out the spirals.
Lacking that, look at the article in the front page at Sawmill Creek http://www.sawmillcreek.org/
regards
Joe
I think you guys are misunderstanding him. From what I understand he made the piece in the picture so he knows how to do it. He is worried that the Hawthorne might be to hard to work properly. He used hand tools for the one in the picture and was wondering if power tools might make it easier because of how hard the Hawthorn is. While a CNC machine will probably work I get the feeling he wants to make this himself not bring it somewhere and pay someone. If I'm wrong about that then by all means.

I have to admit I wasn't sure what rondel handle was so I googled it.
Is this similar to what you want to make?



If so. The first thing I would do is test carve a small edge and see how it works. Make sure your tools are sharp. Only you can physically see how it cuts and decide if it is workable. If you decide you can work it but would like a little help with power tools a Lathe would help get it close then use hand tools to finish it off. That's if a lathe is available to you.

I hope this was helpful because if not. I got nothing else to offer.

Last edited by rrbrown; 02-29-2012 at 11:46 AM. Reason: typo as usual
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post #11 of 18 Old 02-29-2012, 12:11 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks to all and yes JJBrown that is exactly what I want.. I did the ebony handle by piloting the grooves with a hacksaw blade and then using the sharp end of a triangular file.. I do not think that file will work on the piece of hawthorn and yes I do want to do it myself. The Piece is just a section of the base of a hawthorn trunk.. maybe 4 inches thick

I am soon to buy a lathe
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post #12 of 18 Old 02-29-2012, 03:20 PM
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I agree with rrbrown. The only real way to know is to make some test cuts. If it's too hard to cut like you want then, well, you'll know it's too hard to cut. You have the wood in hand so try it out. Various samples of the same wood species can have different densities so it's hard for us to know for sure.
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post #13 of 18 Old 03-03-2012, 11:09 AM Thread Starter
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This is the base of the trunk of a hawthorn.. I am sure I can make things like knife scales and smooth sword/dagger handles but the rondel work is what I am unsure of.. it has been curing in my storage for 15 + years and IMO it is the hardest wood I have ever set a chainsaw to.. I did not even seal the ends and it did not crack. That is why I would like to use it for an Archers Hatchet handle

If not then I guess it's honeylocust because I have a lot of that as windfall
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post #14 of 18 Old 03-13-2012, 10:32 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cliff View Post
If the axe will be anything other than a wall decoration, you may have other considerations

I've made martial arts weapons from woods like Teak that were very hard, but unfortunately also brittle. They shattered and splintered and the flying pieces were sharp and dangerous. Hardness is not always your friend.
Hawthorn has to be the toughest wood I ever cut with a chainsaw.. it's truly resilient and hard
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post #15 of 18 Old 03-13-2012, 01:03 PM
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Hawthorn has to be the toughest wood I ever cut with a chainsaw.. it's truly resilient and hard
I don't think I have ever even seen a piece of hawthorn.

It's a shrub isn't it? Used in Europe for hedgerows?

Last edited by Cliff; 03-13-2012 at 01:06 PM.
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post #16 of 18 Old 03-13-2012, 02:20 PM Thread Starter
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I don't think I have ever even seen a piece of hawthorn.

It's a shrub isn't it? Used in Europe for hedgerows?
Yes but this came from a stand of 2.5 acres of heavy growth I cleared for a fellow.. it was the biggest trunk piece I could find. BTW birds love hawthorn berries!

I will try to post pics

Last edited by Mr Woody; 03-13-2012 at 11:51 PM.
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post #17 of 18 Old 03-13-2012, 02:22 PM Thread Starter
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post #18 of 18 Old 03-13-2012, 02:23 PM Thread Starter
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End cut.. you can see how hard the chainsaw had to work to cut it

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