Desert ironwood No.4
This is the first time I have ever had the pleasure of working with Desert ironwood - and I have to say - it was really, really cool stuff to work with! This was also one of the rare occasions where I used supplied wood from the customer. Which brings up an aspect of planemaking that is by far the most challenging... finding appropriately dry wood. This wood prompted the purchase of a moisture meter specifically designed for exotic woods. I will be writing about the meter in another entry - but the quick answer is this ironwood had a moisture content of 7%.
The wood itself is extremely dense - with a specific gravity of 1.20. To put that into perspective, pure water is 1.0 - so this stuff will sink. Here is a site that has technical information for most of the domestic and tropical woods.
Working with Desert ironwood reminded me of working with African Blackwood and Honduran Rosewood. It planes well - but will wear an edge quickly, works beautifully with rasps & files and can be sanded and polished to a stunning finish. A little stinky to work with though.
This plane has bronze sides, a 2" wide, high carbon steel iron and a bed angle of 52.5 degrees.