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wrg813

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Apr 21, 2008
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29
Location
Roswell, Georgia
I have been trying to find some snakewood for a decent price considering the horror stories I have heard about cracking. I was in my local Woodcraft last weekend and glanced at a grabbag of blanks. Right on top was what looked like a snakewood blank. I asked my sales guy who I usually work with and he said "Wow, wish I had seen that". Purchased the grabbag for $13.50 and found 3 more blanks suitable for any size pen. With all that said and also reading all the "snakewood threads recently, I just finished drilling the shortest blank for a Sierra pen to try. No cracks yet.
I'll cut to the chase. I normally use epoxy to glue my tubes. Would there be a different recommendation for the snakewood? Thanks for reading and feedback.

Will
 
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Randy_

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Nov 29, 2004
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I have a theory that using a slightly over-sized hole and a flexible adhesive might reduce the stresses in the wood blank. I've got some SW blanks on the shelf right now drying out a little more before I do any milling so I haven't tested the theory, yet. I plan to use silicone caulk as my adhesive.
 

CaptG

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Jan 3, 2007
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Otsego, Mi, USA.
I have never heard of using silicone caulk for the adhesive. What benefits do you get from that?
My thoughts would be the silicone would act like a shock absorber and take some of the stress away from the snakewood. Sound idea. Randy, let us know how it works out.
 

Texatdurango

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Apr 23, 2007
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Show Low, Arizona
I used epoxy on mine.

My thought on the caulking is that if a blank is going to crack because it was over heated and the cell structure is all stressed and just waiting to respond by cracking that a flexible adhesive on the inside will do nothing to stop what is set in motion.

Interesting idea but I don't think it will matter... just my opinion. From all accounts, heat is what is causing the damage that is responsible for the cracking. Either the heat from drilling and or heat from turning are the culprits so if that heat can be eliminated, so will the cracking issue.

I think it's important to remember that this wood is hard and I can't help but wonder if many folks end up "scraping" the blanks regardless how sharp their tools are, and end up overheating the blanks even after taking great care to not heat up during drilling.
 

wrg813

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Apr 21, 2008
Messages
29
Location
Roswell, Georgia
I think it's important to remember that this wood is hard and I can't help but wonder if many folks end up "scraping" the blanks regardless how sharp their tools are, and end up overheating the blanks even after taking great care to not heat up during drilling.
Interesting. I will probably epoxy as I normally would, but your comment on scraping makes me wonder if the same care should be taken in turning as in drilling. Drilling = 1/4 to a 1/2 inch at a time. Turning = 2-3 passes/cuts at a time. I may be way off here, but thank you all for your input and comments. Will post the pen when finished. Cracked or not.

Will
 

Randy_

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Nov 29, 2004
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.....My thought on the caulking is that if a blank is going to crack because it was over heated and the cell structure is all stressed and just waiting to respond by cracking that a flexible adhesive on the inside will do nothing to stop what is set in motion.

Interesting idea but I don't think it will matter... just my opinion. From all accounts, heat is what is causing the damage that is responsible for the cracking. Either the heat from drilling and or heat from turning are the culprits so if that heat can be eliminated, so will the cracking issue.....
I completely agree with George that "IF" heating is the culprit, then using a flexible adhesive like silicone caulk probably won't do much good. What I am not so sure about is the supposition that heat is the sole cause for the cracking. As I said earlier this is a pure theory at this point in time as I am still waiting for my blanks to dry to my satisfaction.

That being acknowledged, I wonder if there are more factors involved with the cracking of snakewood than just the issue of over-heating during the fabrication process.

I have done extensive reading on snakewood and one common recurring theme is that snakewood likes to shrink as it ages......more than a lot of woods!! I can accept the heat explanation for a pen that cracks during the crafting process or within a few days or weeks. What is harder to accept is that over-heating during the crafting process is the root cause for a pen that cracks 6 months or a year after it was built and there any number of reports of such happenings.


Snakewood is well known for being a very oily wood and one might reasonably assume that is takes longer to fully season that many other types of wood. Carrying that idea a step further, should some pens be crafted out of blanks that were not fully dry, one could speculate that as the blank continued to give up moisture, they might continue to shrink, incrementally, as well and might crack at some much later date if they they are hard glued to tubes in tight holes.

Conversely, if the tube fit is originally loose and the gap is filled with a flexible glue, there might be enough flex available to the wood barrel to allow it to move without cracking.


This is a theory......nothing more and nothing less. Can't say whether it is right or wrong or somewhere in between. But I'm going to make up a few pens to see what happens. Might learn something new......or might not??

Will just have to wait and see.
 
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