Gary, I've used a lot of bloodwood in my bowls and find it a very good wood to work with, with the single exception that like all really hard woods it can be a problem when you put it next to a more moderate-strength wood because sanding, particularly on the lathe, will have a lot more affect on the softer wood than it does on the bloodwood.
I'v been using it for years in my jewelry boxes.Your right,that stuff is like iron.Makes a beautifull finish,but DO NOT run it thru a drum sander any more than you have to, as it will burn the paper in a heartbeat.Turned a small bowl once and it came out real nice.Also watch working with it as it will produce some VERY sharp splinters, OUCH.
I had completely forgotten about it until I saw woodsman mention that he had done a bowl of it, but the first bowl I ever turned was bloodwood. I didn't even start on pine or other scraps to play with, I just jumped right in with an exotic. I THOUGHT it was a bit difficult to turn and was afraid a lot of woods would be like that. I was happy to find that I had started with a much tougher one than average. I was also using cheap tools which didn't help.
The bowl is a bit clunky because I didn't trust the wood or myself enough to try for a thinner wall.
Just for grins, I took it down from its shelf and did a new pic and, as you can see, the red is still there but it has darkened more than I remembered. I haven't even looked at this bowl in several years, so much of the darkening may have happened since the last time I paid it any attention. It has several thick coats of UV-protecting polyurethane. I think its about 12 years old, but I'm not really sure, and it has been exposed to indirect sunlight for all that time.
During considerably less time and with the same finish and with equal exposure to indirect sunlight, I have had osage orange go from brilliant yellow to a nice, but much darker, brownish gold, and I've had some padauk (although not all) go from bright orangish red to a deep brownish red (and some even to a reddish brown), so this one didn't fare too badly.
The colors in both the old and new pics are very accurate.
Here is some blood wood laminated to Birdseye maple. I did not have any trouble shaping the wood or sanding it to be compatible with the maple. By the way those are some great pics of blood wood as well as the bowls. Where did you buy pieces that large? One more thing I have noticed that purple heart will turn colors after being turned on a lathe from purple to a greenish brown and back to purple once it is allowed to oxidize in air, even after 4 coats of lacquer it will still turn back to purple.
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