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Project Information

This project is not so much to show off the project itself but the wood it's made from.

That wood is snakewood from Surinam. I think that it's the only place it can be found and usually sold
for about $20 per pound.

It's an incredibly hard and closed pore wood with a striking snake like pattern.

I bought a handfull of scraps a long time ago and made this letter opener from a piece. There is no finish on it.
I just sanded it to about 600 grit and then buffed it with a buffing wheel. I did this about 9 years ago and
have used it daily for all that time and it still looks like it did the day I first made it.

It actually holds a good edge.

A fantastic example of a great wood.

For all that are interested in making one here is a template. Just print it out.

Here's a 1:1 PDF File

Gallery

Comments

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930 Posts
Wow the figure is beautiful! It has held its edge all these years, amazing!
 

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9,134 Posts
Great looking Gary. I might have to make a couple.
 

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465 Posts
That is really neat wood. I have never seen anything like it. Those tropical hardwoods are really hard. Great post. Can you buy this at hardwood supplies?
 

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In Loving Memory
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10,409 Posts
Interesting wood Gary. Looks like a lasting design on the letter opener.
 

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198 Posts
Great wood, and you say it has held it's edge all this time! Thanks for posting this project.
 

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Gary,

Interesting project. The wood is gorgeous.

Thanks for the post.
 

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757 Posts
thanks gary , thats some really nice looking wood !
 

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In Loving Memory
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142 Posts
I like the grain. Too hard to carve though. Thanks!
Dave
 

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GREAT example of knowing what to do to bring out the features and attributes of a wood.
The project is simple but what you have done by working the finish naturally is truly amazing. NICE Job.
 

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Gary , how old would that wood have to be before they harvest it?
Can you see the Growth rings on any of it?

Bob
 

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615 Posts
Great use of snakewood, Gary! That stuff is about as expensive and difficult to come by as bog oak!

FYI, a splinter from snakewood can cause an infection in less than four hours. Ask me how I know…
 

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This is a great use for a small but beautiful piece of wood, Gary.
 

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Glad Ethan posted the snakewood warning. Always nice to know these things. I wasn't aware that Cocobolo was an irritant to a large percentage of people. myself included. Great work as always Gary. I have several small strips of a couple exotics I couldn't throw away. I think I'll give this idea a go soon. How well does it work? You mentioned it held a decent edge. . .
 

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Great work Gary and the wood is outstanding. I`ve never seen the wood something like that.
 

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Gary,

That's both beautiful wood and workmanship.

Lee
 

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In Loving Memory
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Thanks for the comments. The wood is hit and miss as far as finding it. If you are interested just search online.

As far as growth rings goes I naver looked, and I have no idea how old the wood was before I got it.

The only tool I used for making this was a stationary belt sander.
 

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That's really nice Gary. It is up to your usual high standards.
 

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Really cool.
 

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wow that wood is beautiful. i can see why they call it snake wood. when you said it had no finish a swear that i almost fell over. great job and thanks for the post.
 
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