Honduran Rosewood - an often overlooked infill material
I am very fortunate to have a good supply of very old Honduran Rosewood. A few lucky pieces are burls. Honduran Rosewood (Dalbergia Stevensonii) is a fairly common true Rosewood, but can vary greatly in quality. My favourite Honduran Rosewood is dark purple and red, tight grained and has those telltale (old growth) black streaks. I have seen some really poor Honduran Rosewood that has lost most of its color - almost like it has been bleached.
This plane came out of a wonderful chunk of wood that had extensive burl over the entire outside surface.
As you move away from the outside the burl decreased, so I did my best to keep as close to the surface as possible.
As you can see - it is well worth the extra effort. I am always amazed at how rough and cruddy a piece of old wood can look but lurking 1/8" under is some of the most stunning material.
This particular piece of Honduran Rosewood will yield a few more burl sets like this one and a number of sets with great color and tight grain (think A5 and/or A1 panel plane).
In other, completely unrelated news, I would like to thank everyone for your well wishes with regards to my recent finger injury. It has been healing quite well, and this past weekend I experienced the benefits of “fishing therapy”. The plane I was working on when I injured myself is just about completed - I will be filing the mouth later today. It did take some mental preparation to return to work and to return to the plane - but the repair and the rest of the plane came together perfectly.
I also wanted to mention the recent passing of Bob Baker. I had a chance to meet Bob several years ago at an event hosted by Popular Woodworking. It was the first and only time I met him, but he certainly left quite an impression... on all of us. I was looking forward to meeting him and seeing his work in person. His work exceeded all my expectations. He had managed to craft beautiful planes with unparalleled precision, while managing to keep the “human” element that is so often missing in such precise work. He has no equal.
Kari Hultman, Ron Hock and Popular Woodworking all had wonderful tributes to him.