Bloodwood Problems

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Forum topic by Nick_R posted 09-29-2012 08:45 PM 5304 views 0 times favorited 10 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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154 posts in 2691 days

09-29-2012 08:45 PM

Topic tags/keywords: question resource tip bloodwood splinter warp cup twist satine

I need help with building a flag display case out of bloodwood. I love the wth the wood looks and the weight it gives to projects, but I think I made a mistake choosing this wood for a project like this.

I started with a piece of 1” x 10” x 48” piece of board. It looked flat and straight so I figured I could resaw it then use the pieces I needed..

So I cut it down to 1/4 inch planks and the wood twisted. Not too badly but still unexpected. As I worked with the wood I found it easily splinters and cracks and does seem to warp more and more.

I don’t know what I did wrong and maybe this is the characteristics of this particular species.. It was very expensive but I was willing to pay (Woodcraft) for the finish look. I have used bloodwood for turning projects and never had a problem.

Any advice or similar experiences out there?


-- Hope for the best but plan for the worst.

10 replies so far

View fussy's profile


980 posts in 3593 days

#1 posted 09-29-2012 10:44 PM


Looks like you got a piece that was improperly dried. I have used bloodwood quite a bit and find it easy to work and stable. A lot of really hard woods are a little brittle and can splinter, so I don’t know if you did anything wrong or not. You do need to pay attention to grain direction, and if using nails or screws, you should pre-drill. What were you doing to splinter or crack it?

As I said, I have found it easy to use and a pleasure to work. As to expensive, you bought it at woodcraft!!
Try here— They’re in Griffin, Ga. Not too far from you, have good stock, shipping is quite reasonable and it’s only $5.00/bd.ft. !!!!. I have bought from them and shipping to KY. was cheaper than I imagined. Look them up. Nice people.


-- Steve in KY. 44 years so far with my lovely bride. Think I'll keep her.

View Nick_R's profile


154 posts in 2691 days

#2 posted 09-29-2012 11:02 PM

Thanks for the reply Steve. I will buy from your link from now on. Woodcraft charges 14.50 a board foot and they dint care how twisted the board is. I actually went back and bought another small board to make the bottom.. Same thing happened.

I did predrill before using screws, but the wood made a cracking noise when I started tightening.

I am so dis hearted right now..I just want to make it look decent.

Any tip for sanding and finish? I was going to use 150 grit then spray laquer

-- Hope for the best but plan for the worst.

View Danpaddles's profile


576 posts in 2854 days

#3 posted 09-30-2012 01:25 AM

I’ve had it twist on me when I cut it thin. I should qualify that by saying- I am not for sure I have blood wood here. A friend gave me a bunch of exotic heavy reddish wood, I’ve tried to match it up to samples, and looked at photos online until blue in face. Best I can say, SOME of that stack is bloodwood. Some is bubinga.

-- Dan V. in Indy

View TrBlu's profile


386 posts in 3168 days

#4 posted 09-30-2012 11:14 AM

The problem you describe sound like the wood was dried too quickly and cooked.

One way to prove you have Bloodwood is mix some of the saw dust in water. Bloodwood will turn the water red. If you dip a white cloth in it, it will dye the cloth. The dust and oils in Bloodwood are used in making some commercial dyes.

If you are using Bloodwood for a flag case, I strongly suggest you line the surfaces that will contact the flag. Bloodwood is acidic. Over time the acids will damage the flag. A thin strip of maple between the flag a Bloodwood would add some protection. It might also add an interesting contrast of color.

-- The more I work with wood the more I recognize only God can make something as beautiful as a tree. I hope my humble attempts at this craft do justice by His masterpiece. -- Tim

View Howie's profile


2656 posts in 3465 days

#5 posted 09-30-2012 11:32 AM

Checking out their prices I see they are really good compared to Tampa area. I think the shipping would probably be on the pricey side though.

-- Life is good.

View BHolcombe's profile


180 posts in 2618 days

#6 posted 09-30-2012 02:50 PM

Is bloodwood veneer over plywood out of the question? 1/4” solid wood usually gives me trouble if it is a very wide board.

For box tops or case backs I only use veneer over Baltic birch ply. A hard lesson learned was that you can never be certain what environment this will wind up in, case backs in solid wood are trouble.

View EPJartisan's profile


1122 posts in 3667 days

#7 posted 09-30-2012 10:18 PM

Bloodwood.. another of my favs.. I LOVE the way it smells while working it.

Okay: bloodwood is a relatively new species, given the evolutionary history of trees. It does not produce oils like most other tropical woods as it is not a wet soil growing species.. it is an acidic soil dweller. In the forest succession.. it is a “nurse” tree and in the same family as mulberry trees, but can become monodominant and crowd out shade intolerant species. It seems to be a tree that is switching from utilizing vascular tracheid cells in favor of forming short vessels and lots of axial Parenchyma cells which spread out like wings and then interlock to form a open mesh of cells …. supported by thick walled and elongated fibers. It does allow for crystal growth within their parenchyma cells, which is why it also dulls tools. What this means is that the wood is very brittle and heavy and prone to checking and twisting during the drying process. Thus I agree the wood was improperly dried. Most bloodwood is farmed and licensed harvested, because the species is easily climate affected and several endangered monkey species (e.g. Brown Titi) live off this tree … eating it’s leaves, bark and fruit.

The dye from the wood is not dangerous.. BUT inhaling the wood dust is very very bad for MEN’s reproductive organs. The wood is filled with active palodesangrens agents… that bind to the DHT receptor sending more testosterone into the arms of aromatase, leading to an increase in estrogen and effectively causing temporary impotence and sterilization. Use caution if you are a family man.

As for working it. I have had a board twist only once, i put it down for almost year and all the movement was out and it was fine from them on. As for veneers glue can easily squeeze through the open cells, so I had to use an epoxy.. west system because it blends well with varnish coats… DO NOT use alcohol as it will stain the wood darker permanently… acetone will make the fibers way to soft and easily dissolve any glue you might have used prior… causing bubbles and splits. I may never use bloodwood veneer again.. what a complete PITA. but it looks so awesome! This is my Lily flower table

Mostly I just carve and turn bloodwood or use it for accents and details. BUT more importantly… where did you get 1” thick stock? I have been asking for it everywhere and searching every website and all I can find is 4/4 (roughly 13/16”). I have been told it is how they mill it before shipping out of central America.

-- " 'Truth' is like a beautiful flower, unique to each plant and to the season it blossoms ... 'Fact' is the root and leaf, allowing the plant grow and bloom again."

View Nick_R's profile


154 posts in 2691 days

#8 posted 09-30-2012 10:40 PM

Hi Eric…

Awesome answer.. I love knowing all that info.. Of course I wear a mask, but it is cheap and I don’t wear it all the time.. Good advice, I will always wear it now.. I do have a high speed fan running in my shop to an open garage door.. I hope that did the trick…

The wood is beautiful, But I think from now on I will use it only for turning and accents. Very difficult to use and all my tools are DULL.. yikes.

As far as the the one inch.. It was sold as such from Woodcraft.. It was (stupid me) an “off” piece that I bought to save a few bucks….

I appreciate your time and response

-- Hope for the best but plan for the worst.

View fussy's profile


980 posts in 3593 days

#9 posted 10-01-2012 06:08 AM


Sorry to be so slow, but I haven’t been on the ‘puter until now. When you pre-drill, make sure you right size drill, and be SURE to COUNTERSINK the holes. If you don’t, the taper on the screw head will split the wood. Bloodwood sands beautifully. I usually go to 320 and just wax it. That deepens the color a little and is about all bloodwood needs. It’s hard and durable.

Don’t give up on it. Next time you resaw it, leave it a little thick so you can plane out any twist. It’s a very stable wood once dried properly and I think you got an improperly dried piece. At $14.50 Woodcrap soaked you. Try the Woodyard. His shipping is very reasonable.


-- Steve in KY. 44 years so far with my lovely bride. Think I'll keep her.

View Siklopz's profile


1 post in 2450 days

#10 posted 03-06-2013 08:42 AM

i was looking into the stability of bloodwood a while ago on the mandolin cafe builder’s forums. i’ve been looking for a cheaper, more sustainable alternative to ebony for fingerboards, etc. james condino, who worked for breedlove early in his career, mentioned that bloodwood must be weighted down when cut thin or it will twist in minutes.

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