Noobie help please!! - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
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post #1 of 8 Old 08-09-2019, 11:20 PM Thread Starter
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Okay so I have a couple of questions. I am relatively new 2 woodworking and usually used basic Woods Pine, Oak, spruce, anything you may find at a hardware store to make things such as chess boards and picture frames. My uncle recently passed away and did a lot of hand-carved pieces with exotic Woods in my aunt gave me a big box full of his scraps and I have no clue what any of them are. I will add a picture if anyone can give me an idea of what they might be that would be great. My next question is she had one piece of I believe Maple burl which was a block about 12in by 9in and it had a wax coating on it. He apparently paid about $80 for it about 25 years ago. She told me she would sell it for $50 to me. But I'm afraid other websites who claimed it must sit for a couple of years and then be cut into smaller pieces and resealed in wax and then sit for another year. I don't want to buy this block of wood, mainly just to make boxes out of, and once I start cutting it have it crumble from not being properly cured or sealed any advice on this. Thanks.
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Last edited by MathiusP; 08-09-2019 at 11:30 PM. Reason: Typos
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post #2 of 8 Old 08-10-2019, 07:55 AM
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What would you like to do with those pieces of wood? Do you have any projects that you would like to make that could use small pieces of wood? When you write that they came in a box it reads like they are very small.

No comment on the burl.

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post #3 of 8 Old 08-10-2019, 10:32 AM
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I'll comment on the burl. The wax coating is common to commercially purchased hardwood. The wax coating limits the rate of moisture exchange, so that the wood dries evenly, with less cracking. The wood is certainly ready to use now, and was ready to use 20 years ago.

@MatiusP did not say how thick the maple burl is. It may have been intended as a bowl blank, but without other information, it is hard to say. It is also hard to say anything about its value. Wood prices vary a lot by where you are, plus so many other intangible qualities of the wood itself. Some people will pay a lot for certain grain patterns and other variations.
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post #4 of 8 Old 08-11-2019, 07:13 AM Thread Starter
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most the pieces are 1/2" or 3/4" thick and range from 8" or 9" squares to 3" wide and 15" long. I'll probably use them for accents on smaller pieces like frames and boxes. Maybe hang on to them until I have a better idea. Alot of good projects for these are most likely out of my skill set for now.
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post #5 of 8 Old 08-11-2019, 07:25 AM Thread Starter
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ya I see that now I meant a 12" x 12" x 9" thick. A bowl blank makes sense. Actually the price was really irrelevant, I was kinda just rambling at that point. I was trying to convey that I was getting it for cheap and didnt want to screw it up. I know NOTHING aboout harwoods like this and I was afraid if I didnt reseal like some other sites suggested it would be cracked and either unusable or hard to use. how would you got about getting that wax coating off? is it something you remove chemically or just trim it off? thanks
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post #6 of 8 Old 08-11-2019, 11:13 AM
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Bowl blanks and turning blanks are often coated with wax. If you are turning a bowl, then the turning tools will remove the wax as you go. Often people turn a bowl to rough shape, then leave it sit on the shelf for a year where it may warp somewhat while it rests and dries thoroughly. After that, they chuck it up again and finish the bowl to its final shape and thinness. After 25 years, I wonder if this step is necessary for your bowl blank.

If you are not going to use the wood for turning, then you can remove the wax through trimming or scraping or whatever. Sandpaper will not work. It will gum up with wax before it does much good. In theory, you could dissolve the wax with a chemical like mineral spirits, but it would be messy and not worth the effort.

A moisture meter will tell you more about the wood's readiness than any amount of text I can write.

Unless the wood is damaged or has visible flaws, $50 is an excellent value for a 12x12x9 maple bowl blank. It may have a hidden flaw on the inside, but that's an aspect of woodworking life that we all share.
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post #7 of 8 Old 08-11-2019, 12:37 PM
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Send the burl to me and I'll tell you what you have!!

Hard to give you any guidance without a picture. But it is safe to say that waxing is common and a good practice. It done to prevent checking by slowing the moisture loss.

$50 could be a steal, or you could be wasting $43. But then again it is from your Uncle and you're probably helping your Aunt. I'd do it just to have the piece and whatever you make stays in the family.
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post #8 of 8 Old 08-12-2019, 11:38 AM
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Most likely the burl is intended for a bowl blank.

Can't help you with the species. The very dark wood could be blackwood. I don't think its ebony.

There are a few websites you can look at exotic wood pics.

Exotic woods lend themselves well to decorative projects like boxes.
I think exotics should be resawn into veneer whenever possible rather than use solid wood, which is wasteful IMO.
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