Turning Archive 2007

Subject:
You can actually turn black palm, right?

Dave Belser
>I happened on a small length of what I assume is black palm, it has beautiful black straws that run through a brown matrix. You see black dots when you look at the end grain. I believe that I have seen it turned on occasion.

So here we go, cut a 4" length of the 2x2" stick and chuck it up. It doesn't look like it will be easy but should be pretty when done. Pick up a gouge and try some rough cuts - the "straws" start splintering out everywhere. Gee I guess I should have expected that. OK, lets get it close to round, sharpen all of the tools and try some light cuts. Looking better for a bit and then little chunks of black splinters pop out. I can't seem to make one full light cut with out ripping out one of those little black straws!

Boy is this stuff ornery! way worse than the dry Fir I tried.

I suppose I could pull the individual black straws out and do tiny spindle turnings with them :)

Having never seen the stuff before, I suspect that the piece that I have might just be dry beyond turnability. I did try soaking the little piece in thinned lacquer and it helped a bit but the lacquer didn't really penetrate the wood that much.

Is there some trick to it (besides good technique and sharp tools) that I'm not aware of? Is it any easier to turn when green?

- Dave

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