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Tasmanian Blackwood

Today I have been processing some Tasmanian Blackwood.  This wood came from a friend's property in Havelock North.

Blackwood is some form of Acacia, which is itself one of the trees in the Fabaceae family of plants.  These plant are the nitrogen fixing legumes of the world. Peas, lupins and gorse are examples.  [The trees of this family  are reknowned for very dense heartwood.]

Here are three views of a pipe made of gorse.

Note the pretty patterns in the wood.  What you won't see is how hard and dense the wood is, but you might see the amount of filling I have done to fill the holes in the wood.

Here are some fotos of the blackwood I was given.


See the large amount of dark heartwood.  This is what gives blackwood its name and value. 

Now a foto of the log on the saw.

The saw has to be quite large to get through a log that size.  The teeth are an inch part. [1 inch is about 2 cm]

Here is a foto of the billets cut from the logs I've sawn today.

Here is a foto of a couple of billets in more detail.

See the dark swirls in the wood.  This is valued by makers of fine furniture.  It is quite good in pipes too.

I was also given a piece of gum.  It was a circle of wood cut from a large trunk.  Quite "green", meaning freshly cut.  However it was only about 20cm thick.  For a pipe I need 32cm.  Here are fotos of how I made billets 32 cm long out of billets 20cm long.

You can see two wedges of wood on the saw bench. End to end they are 20cm.

In this foto you can see the wood laid out again.  The distance end to end of the pair is now 32 cm.

In this foto you can see two pieces glued together and clamped.

Not easy clamping these two pieces as the tend to slide against each other and loosen the clamps.

Here is a foto of three finished pieces.  They will need to dry for six months.  I will be hoping the don't split like gum often does.  If so, they will be thrown into the fire.


Not all pipes are turned from dark hard wood.  Here is a foto of a pipe turned from a tree growing in the neighbours hedge.  I suggested to the workmen that they could dump the wood on my lawn instead of paying to dump it at the tip.  I have a lot of firewood and kindling as a result.

See how nice and white the pipe is!  I have added two burn marks.  This is done by rotating the wood in the lathe at top speed and tightening a piece of string around the place you want a burn mark.  Very pretty!!

Finally a foto of the lathe with some Rimu in it. .. Only partly finished. .. I still have to sand it and polish it.  In front is a blank of the same wood ready for turning. 

The RImu is recycled.  It comes form an old building where the framing is all Rimu.  You can see where I have repaired a nail hole.

I hope you enjoyed these fotos of the pipe makers workshop.  

Cheers Chris the Pipemaker. 

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