I have four orders– three of them are disgracefully old. I decided to concentrate, and cut them during this Waxing moon.
I get so nervous, because the wood is expensive to purchase, and I feel that each of these wands must show my very best efforts. I guess I feel that way about all of my work, but Rosewood does show my efforts. Uncompromisingly, in some cases. It was a very sensorial adventure.
This is a hard wood, with a very smooth and dense grain. It cuts like butter– Difficult, pissy, arrogant butter. It polishes itself. If I keep my tools sharp enough, I hardly need to touch it with sandpaper. It rarely lets the tools chip into it, but a wrong move can sweep the tip of a chisel across a once-perfect surface in a heartbeat– as it did to me twice this afternoon, causing me to finally stop in frustration. An email to a woodturning mentor helped, and a magnifying glass showed me where the flaw was in my sharpened tool!
This wood has a distinctive scent when it’s being cut. Sometimes I think fine pipe-tobacco is the nearest description, but I have no real words for it. It is irritating to the mucous membranes, and at the same time, seductively warm, spicy, astringent.
Rosewood changes color, beginning the moment it is cut. I suppose that several coats of a water-based, UV-protectant polyurethane might stop the oxidation– but nothing else, to my knowledge, will. The wood begins quite varicoloured, with browns that are speckled nearly black, softer sand tones, ivory. Sometimes there will be violently orange streaks, sometimes subtle pinks– which might be where Rosewood got its name from. These colours don’t last long. You can amost watch it happening, and certainly, coming back to a piece after half-an-hour will make a visible difference in the color– eventually, your wood will be that glorious burnt-wine with black grain barely visible in the darkness– I have even had some pieces that turned an unrelieved black, like ebony.
…I have no final words for this post! *grin*