Bird number: 112
Date: October 19, 2012
Wood: Marblewood (Marmaroxylon racemosum)
Source: Woodcraft Store
Wood donations to the 100 Birds project have dwindled and I’m having some trouble finding local species to carve, so I’ve resorted to picking up samples at Woodcraft when I’m in the area. I picked up this Marblewood at the same time I bought the Ebony.
There are at least nineteen species of wood referred to as “Marblewood.” The two most commonly available are Diospyros marmorata, an Ebony that is native to Southeast Asia, and Marmaroxylon racemosum, which is native to South America. Apparently, the two woods are visually indistinguishable. I was told that the sample I have is from South America.
The wood is hard, with a specific gravity of 0.99, meaning that it almost doesn’t float. I didn’t even try to carve it with a knife. Surprisingly, I found it harder to carve than Ebony, which is slightly more dense. Also surprisingly, it seemed like hand sanding the Marblewood was easier than hand sanding Ebony.
Whatever its working properties, it certainly makes a beautiful bird figure.
I had some difficulty finding information about this wood. There is very little about it other than the Wood Database entry. Others have said that it’s a very rare and expensive wood. I don’t know how rare it is, but it wasn’t very expensive in comparison to most of the other woods in the store.
Wood turners love the stuff, and friends of mine who make pens say that it’s extremely popular. Pens turned from Marblewood sell out faster than pens made from most other types of wood. The wood is also used for veneer, cabinetry, fine furniture, and flooring. The last surprises me. As I said, the stuff isn’t hugely expensive, but an entire floor of the stuff would be pretty pricey. Sure would make for a nice floor, though.
Me, I’ll stick with carving it. I won’t go buy another piece, but I won’t turn it down if somebody offers.