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Experienses with snakewood

May 15, 1999
I find snakewood very beautifull and I'm going to make a knife with handle i this wood. But I´ve heard i´ts rather difficult to work with. Anybody got any experienses they wnat to share with me? Thanks.

Steen - We found that Snakewood has a tendency to easily crack when going from humid to dry areas. They cracked around pins, lanyard holes or areas where shrinkage was around something that would not shrink. We could not solve this problem and eliminated Snakewood from the line-up many years ago. Hope this helps.
snakewood has a very unusual grain structure, and the way it has to be cut to look good adds to the problem..bottom line... it cracks...cracks...and cracks some more....let it dry for a long time...put super glue all over it before you stick it on, after you get it almost done...and again when its finished....and maybe it wont crack on you...but i doubt it...
Steen: One more tip: Keep your holes for pins, thong tube, etc. well in from the edge of the knife. Don't force any of the pins thru a tight hole-open them up until the fit is a slip-fit. Avoid heat from buffing, and grind only with brand new belts. OK, that was more than one tip!

RJ Martin
Praying lots helps, too.
I have experiences like the rest of you. Lovely Wood but really prone to checking. I agree with supergluing before and after grinding, each time you expose a new surface want's to check. also very expensive for quality wood. does not seem to care how cured it is. Have used pieces 9 to ten years old and still checks. All you can do is repair checks as they arise.
Dave Ellis, ABS, Mastersmith
Boy am I glad that I passed on trying to work with snakewood. Being a newbie I don't need the headache of fighting with a handle material just to watch it crack.
I must just be lucky, I have never had a problem with it! I do like Tom does with the super glue. Of cource we have dry air here in Monatana so that may help. Still havent had any customer complaints though.....BTW Tom, I will get with you and do a trade real soon.

I'll preface this by saying that I'm not a knifemaker, and I'm almost sure that the advice offered by those above will be better than this, but I guess I'll offer a suggestion anyway.

Have you considered stabilizing the wood? I know that this service is offered by K&G Supplies, (Knife & Gun) and I'm sure they're not the only ones. I think you can find them on the International Knife Directory.

For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Romans 6:23

I also do some wood turning (lathe) work. Wood turners frequently work with spalted wood, burls, difficult woods like snakewood,
and polychromatic turning where multiple block of differing woods are glued-up and turned. Turners use PEG (Poly Ethylene Glycol) soaks to stabilize these dificult
woods permanently. Very large (VW bug sized) burls are soaked for a year or more. Something the size of knife scales or handles shoud stabilize in a couple of weeks.
Do knifemakers use PEG or has this trick not
crossed over?