Properties of stabilized wood

Discussion in 'Hammer & Tongs' started by RedFury, Dec 7, 2019.

  1. RedFury

    RedFury Gold Member Gold Member

    303
    Jun 17, 2015
    Here we go. I have used all sorts of wood for all sorts of things for years but only in the last couple of weeks have used a piece of stabilized mango for a handle on a chef's knife. Thank you, Ben Greenberg of providing this piece. I'm very impressed with it. Now i'm making Sayas or wood sheaths for this and several other chef's knives. I'm making the saya from magnolia. The internet says magnolia is the traditional wood used for this in Japan and that's very cool because magnolia has been sort of a signature wood for me on many projects over the past 40 years. The saya is turning out VERY nice. It got me thinking about wood sheaths for other fixed blade knives. I don't want to learn leather work and I already am pretty good with wood. I just saw a boot knife by Bone over on the Custom Forum with a rosewood sheath and that really got me going.

    What if I used stabilized wood for a sheath? It would certainly be water proof. Would it be stronger and less likely to crack? Could I safely work it down thinner than I would dare to go with natural wood? I have Magnolia that has been drying in the attic for ten years that I could ship off to K&G or somebody.
     
  2. Stacy E. Apelt - Bladesmith

    Stacy E. Apelt - Bladesmith ilmarinen - MODERATOR Moderator Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Aug 20, 2004
    Stabilized wood is usually stronger and less crack resistant. I would not describe it as "water proof", because water can still get in it. The water just won't be absorbed.

    The wood used in Japan is ho wood (Magnolia hypoleuca). It is a tree in the magnolia family, but all magnolia isn't ho. IIRC, Ben at Greenberg Woods has the difference in his wood data base.
    Most any straight grain and tight pattern wood will work. If you have magnolia wood available, then that is a good choice. In the USA magnolia is either Southern Magnolia (Magnolia Grandiflora) or Cucumber ( tree, not vegetable - Magnolia acuminata). Magnolia has very good gluing properties and does not split in thin sections. This is why it is a preferred saya material.

    The wood for a saya should be on the softer side and not scratch the blades. Stabilizing is not usually needed, but won't usually be any problem..
     
  3. RedFury

    RedFury Gold Member Gold Member

    303
    Jun 17, 2015
    Thanks Stacy I have Magnolia Grandiflora. I have three Saya completed and I’m quite happy with them.
    I played with some scraps of stabilized mango and my first reaction is that it is brittle. I think I’m better just choosing wood with grain that is pretty straight and pretty dense. B4883F28-795C-4ABE-82F5-5FA9B864DBA0.jpeg
     
  4. Stacy E. Apelt - Bladesmith

    Stacy E. Apelt - Bladesmith ilmarinen - MODERATOR Moderator Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Aug 20, 2004
    I have stabilized some American Holly that I cut 35 years ago. I found the 6" round section in my stash of carving/turning wood where it has sat since I cut it around 1985. It is wonderfully white.
     

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