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Snakewood: thrilling wood!


Anyone who has ever dealt with snakewood knows the challenge that this wood presents: It is probably the most expensive and difficult wood to work with because of its unpredictable characteristics.
A log that looks beautiful from the outside can turn into an expensive disaster after the first cut, usually through the heart of the log in the middle: It is never possible to predict whether the mottling that is visible from the outside, which the wood must have, can also be found on the inside. If you were lucky and the fine grain is also found inside, it is far from certain that the distribution of the specks is also reasonably uniform. Often there are very nicely grained areas that are next to almost no grained parts at all, and that greatly detracts from the appeal.
And then there's the matter of the legendary cracks: snakewood is particularly prone to cracking due to its extreme density and hardness (it weighs about 1300 kg/m3), and it's a real art to make the cuts so that these cracks don't affect the finished product. Since the price is so exorbitantly high, offcuts and waste must be avoided as much as possible.
The log shown here is one half of a whole log weighing over 100 kilos, and although someone was in Suriname to inspect the log, the first cut was not made until after the purchase, which is a high risk.
In this case, however, all was well and this particularly thick trunk exceeded my expectations: I haven't had a log of snakewood that is so beautifully and evenly grained with few cracks (yet) in certainly 10 years, but that can still change at any time during its further drying.

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