Wenge Wood Tamper...Branching Out A Bit

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carolinachurchwarden

Preferred Member
May 9, 2018
1,682
14
Raleigh, NC
Not tired of my Zebra or Walnut wood yet, but I decided to make a few other offerings for the TAPS pipe expo coming up in a couple of weeks. Went to my local Klingspor's this afternoon and picked up some blocks of Wenge, Cocobolo, and Granadillo wood. I wanted some Ebony, but they'd just had a sale last weekend and were sold out, so I went with this.
The first one I decided to cut and shape was the Wenge, which in my opinion, looks like a darker version of Zebra wood and is quite beautiful.
I love when I'm finished shaping and start fine sanding, working my way up through about 4000 grit micro mesh and buffing. You can really see how it polishes to a near mirror finish.

Next up will either be some Cocobolo or Rosewood. Thinking Rosewood.

 

mikethompson

Preferred Member
Jun 26, 2016
4,223
426
Excellent work as always Matt. Maybe I will try my hand at making a tamper to go with my rack.

 

carolinachurchwarden

Preferred Member
May 9, 2018
1,682
14
Raleigh, NC
Thanks fellas! This one was great to work with, but damn, Wenge is a very hard wood. Took me twice the time to make this one that it has for my last few Zebra or Walnut tampers. Maybe it's the grain.

 

carolinachurchwarden

Preferred Member
May 9, 2018
1,682
14
Raleigh, NC
To remove the bulk of the material, I use a Dremel with a carving head like this:

Then I switch over to the sanding tubes to shape and cut channels, grooves, etc. Then I switch over to files to do any fine shaping I want to do, since sometimes the Dremel cuts too fast and can remove too much material by accident. Then it's down to 150 and 220 grit sandpaper and make sure it's all nice and smooth and exactly how I want it to look before I hit it with the micro mesh and finally the polishing head. That's about it. I had to buy the cutting head above after I was going through way too many sanding tubes on the harder woods. It was taking two or three just to get it down to shape.

 

carolinachurchwarden

Preferred Member
May 9, 2018
1,682
14
Raleigh, NC
Ever try purpleheart?
I've considered it a few times, but I discovered that it can lose its purple color over time, especially with sun exposure. I've heard some people say that it will turn brown to the point you can't even tell it was once purple. I was going to use it to make an end grain cutting board when I found that out, so since then I haven't really wanted to use it. I'd hate to make one and watch it slowly fade away. It would be beautiful at first though.

 

acidpox

Senior Member
Nov 18, 2018
360
68
I've also heard that, I have a bend wood purpleheart mug I got at a renaissance fair about 4 years ago, and I will say it has gotten darker but it's still very purple, time will tell.

 

carolinachurchwarden

Preferred Member
May 9, 2018
1,682
14
Raleigh, NC
Well, who knows, maybe I'll buy a piece one day and give it a shot. Most of the pieces I buy aren't really huge anyways. Typically they're about 1" x 1" x 12" long and I usually cut them in half to get two out of one, so it likely wouldn't cost that much to experiment with it and see.

 

mtwaller

Preferred Member
Nov 21, 2018
512
192
30
Atlanta, GA
I drool over modern custom guitars a lot, and as such I LOVE Wenge. What a gorgeous piece of wood to work with. Great craftsmanship, as always! All around top notch.