#89: Bloodwood

Bird number: 122
Date: December 1, 2012
Wood: Bloodwood (Brosimum paraense)
Source: Woodcraft

A friend gave me a piece of Purpleheart a few years ago. I showed it to somebody else, who swore that it was Bloodwood rather than Purpleheart. Having now worked with Bloodwood, I can’t imagine how that guy confused the two. They are wildly different in color and in working properties. Bloodwood is red to reddish-brown, with white or yellow streaks. It’s also somewhat harder than Purpleheart, which is purple to brown in color.

It’s interesting to note that the wood’s dust has been reported by some to cause thirst or salivation, and occasionally nausea. I don’t recall experiencing those symptoms, but I did notice some itching on my hands when I first started sanding this figure. Enough so that I put it down and intended to put on rubber gloves before working with it any more. I didn’t do that, but also didn’t experience any more irritation. So I think the itching was coincidental.

I rather like the way it turned out.

The wood is hard, with an average dried weight of 1,195 kg/m3, meaning that it doesn’t float in water. I had to be a little careful with the Foredom to avoid burning the wood. Sanding took a little longer, as you would expect with this harder wood.

The wood is durable, strong, and hard, and takes a very fine finish. It’s a popular wood for turned objects, trim and accents, as well as larger structural elements in furniture.