Mystery solved

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Project by JuniorJoiner posted 03-27-2009 07:14 AM 2633 views 4 times favorited 9 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Everyone seems to have a piece of wood in their shop they cannot identify. this one was mine.

I found it in the ditch beside my house, obviously dunnage used to sticker some more expensive wares for transport from some other country. extremely heavy and dense, quite waxy, open grained, green when first cut and oxidizes to black. it also has a unique odor when first cut or planed.

I did a bit of research and thought it was heartwood asian ebony, or maybe cabbagebark.

I made a few mallets out of it, and have a three foot piece leftover.

today i finally identified it as south American partridgewood. a woodworker i know who has been using exotics for 35+ years had a piece to compare it to (the smell was the determining factor)

I had never heard of it before, but from how nice it is to work with hand tools. i can see why it is rare.

the mallets i made from it have held up well to everyday use , and the heft makes it a perfect choice for this.

now i will have to keep my eyes open for another mystery piece.

...oh yeah, the handle is a piece of soft maple, shaped with spokeshave only, attached with through mortise and wedge(no glue).

-- Junior -Quality is never an accident-it is the reward for the effort involved.

9 comments so far

View woodspyder's profile


80 posts in 4138 days

#1 posted 03-27-2009 08:47 AM

Nice looking mallet, great find.
Nothing better than free wood.

-- Measure three times, cut twice.

View TheDane's profile


5690 posts in 4171 days

#2 posted 03-27-2009 03:01 PM

Wish I would find some useful lumber in the ditch at my place … all we ever get is cigarette butts and empty beer cans!

Nice work!

-- Gerry -- "I don't plan to ever really grow up ... I'm just going to learn how to act in public!"

View Chris's profile


339 posts in 3865 days

#3 posted 03-27-2009 04:33 PM

Good looking mallet. I’m going to have to spend more time in the gutter after hearing about this…

-- Chris

View a1Jim's profile


117722 posts in 4085 days

#4 posted 03-27-2009 05:07 PM

South American partridgewood thats a new one on me. nice job.


View Karson's profile


35201 posts in 4908 days

#5 posted 03-27-2009 05:16 PM

Nice looking mallet. And some interesting wood. Strange to find it in a ditch. But I’m guessing a bunch of it ends up in the dumpster.

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Appomattox Virginia [email protected]

View AaronK's profile


1508 posts in 3972 days

#6 posted 06-19-2009 03:08 PM

sweet! that handle looks like it must have been a lot of fun!

View degoose's profile


7257 posts in 3862 days

#7 posted 06-24-2009 10:29 PM

People throw away lots of things because they don’t know what it is,

-- Don't drink and use power tools @

View Briguy's profile


21 posts in 3403 days

#8 posted 08-16-2010 05:35 PM

I have a few pieces of something similar…maybe the same. On my construction site one of our subcontractors had brought in skids of 4×4’s and smaller pieces to use as shims when lifting entire overpass spans. Needless to say they required a very high density wood that would not compress. After the work was completed I scavenged the scraps left behind.

View GabrielX's profile


231 posts in 3339 days

#9 posted 09-04-2010 12:19 AM

It would be great to have your craftsmanship skill and my imagination. Handle looks nice for a spokeshave piece. Can’t wait to but one myself. Been needing a wooden-mallet in the shop for some time now… Great piece!

-- GX

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