Sunday, February 26, 2012

The Red

When Entwood Crafts was first founded, we used only one type of wood; poplar. We now use almost 70 different species of wood. This broad range of wood choices opens up a whole new level of creativity. Colors range in almost every color one would need. I find this large selection of woods particularly useful in making intarsia.

American cherry is not the only choice for red wood. In fact there are several species of wood with colorful red hues. So which wood should you use for which project? I’ll briefly talk about some of the red woods that I have used and what I like or dislike about them.

Bloodwood: Bloodwood is one of the few woods that I generally avoid using for the main reason of poor workability. It’s too dense to cut well with a scroll saw. The wood burns and smokes more often than being cut and broken blades become a common occurrence. However, the color is beautiful ranging from a light, faded red in some cases to a dark, rich red in others. I use it mostly in intarsia and only in small quantities. If you’re using a table saw or a band saw the wood is much easier to work with.
Phoenix - Maple & Bloodwood

American Cherry: The most used wood of all 70 species we have. The color of cherry ranges quite a bit from an almost white to a dark brownish red. This color range makes it ideal for a variety of uses. The down fall is that one side of the board can be one color and the other side a completely different color. I also look for cherry with a bit of sapwood for certain projects.

Cairn Terrier - American Cherry
Brazilian Cherry: A great wood for sure. The wood is a very dark red  color and mostly straight grained. It’s a good choice for creating red shadows in intarsia.

Hydra - Brazilian Cherry
Red Heart (chakte kok): Red heart is a wood full of colorful red bursts. The colors differ greatly from a pinkish color to bright and dark red but once oiled, the colors blend some. I use this wood if I want some interesting texture with grain and/or color. Bad thing is the red color fades rather quickly when exposed to air. Keep it out of direct sunlight or your red board will turn grey.

Playful Dragon - Red Heart
African Mahogany: Another red wood with varying shades from very light to very dark. It’s a beautiful wood but in my experience brittle. If you’re cutting anything with narrow sections its best to avoid this wood.

Welsh Dragon - African Mahogany
Genuine Mahogany: This wood is rather hard to find and expensive! It has a rusty, red/brownish color. Another good choice for a weak red. Easy to use.

Bunny - Genuine Mahogany
Padauk: If you want RED you want padauk. The brightest red color I’ve ever seen in wood. The grain is straight for the most part but I’ve used some with gentle swirls and curves. It’s the top choice for red highlights or if a bold color is needed.
Fat Bellied Dragon - Padauk

There are other red woods that I have yet to use. Feel free to share your experiences with red colored wood in the comments below.

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