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African wood


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So one of the many things my dad brought me was some roughly 3x3 posts that were used as shipping pallets. They were from Africa, I'm wondering if anyone would know what kind of wood it may be. I'll go take a few pictures and put them up shortly. I'm thinking of trying to use it as hammer handles. He said it wasn't dried, so it was cut right before being sent and has since air dried, so it's not compromised from being kiln dried.



There's a few pictures of two different pieces.

I'm extremely bad at knowing what a tree is, so I'm not having any luck identifying with pictures of different types of wood online.

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Hi Pr3ssure,

If I look to the structure of the wood it looks like interlocked wood grain with crossing fibres like many long growing African trees have (to many sorts to define your  3x3 posts). It have not the long diagonal wood grain like ash or beech you normally use for many kind of handles. Ash or beech will act like a spring and absorb the shock of the hammer beats to your wrist. Interlock wood grain is very decorative ones polished and furnished but will not absorb shocks.   

There is another thing you have an eye on. If the wood ones used for packaging and transportation and came by shipping from Africa it must be compliant to the IPPC regulations and should be debarked  and heat treaded or gas treaded by Methyl bromide (!). They do/require this to avoid migration of agriculture quarantine pests, termites, funguses and plant diseases. See links below.

In your case -the posts are debarked and stored/air kiln for quit a long time that eventual leftovers of MB are long gone, but reconsider the use of the wood for hammer handles.

Ware gloves during working on the wood because my experience after working with Wenge, Mahony en Azobe (fantastic wood with interlocked wood grain) result very often in annoying little infections on my hands caused by wood splinters.

Have a good WE, and fun with your exotic wood source.

Hans (The ‘Work safety pope’)




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A big +1 on the use of gloves when working that wood. Don't forget to wear good quality respirator suited to the tasks also-most of the African hardwoods are at the very least irritants-a few much worse for you than that. Cut a small piece, polish it and see what sort of chatoyance if any is present. You may be pleasantly surprised!

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Mr. Pr3ssure,

I suggest that you stick with a wood that is shock resistant for handles. Good examples are ash or hickory. A small billet (piece) of which would not cost much. Especially if you craft the handle yourself. (there are a number of threads on this site that discuss making good handles). Mr. Frosty makes a wonderful handle. Check it out. Your wood can be used for other purposes, or traded.

Check this reference for toxic woods. (including those woods that cause infectious micro-splinters & skin irritant oils). 


Azobe = Ekki wood is a beautiful wood but it has an interlocking grain, which poorly absorbs shock. (which causes repetitive strain injury, Which you do not want). 



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On ‎25‎/‎11‎/‎2017 at 10:50 PM, JHCC said:

Many tropical hardwoods also contain volatile resins that protect the tree from insect attack. Some of these can cause severe irritation and allergic reactions in humans, so wear a decent dust mask as well as those gloves. 

That is so true. I have been turning tropical timbers for years and some of them are really toxic, notably red cedar, black bean and rain tree. As a young foolish fellow I never worried about respirators and stuff and just put up with the chest complaints, sore throats and nosebleeds. Much wiser these days!

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