Exotic Wood Issues

Article - June 21, 2007

This week’s question comes from Josh. He writes:
Hey Wisperer. I am working with a bunch of exotic hardwoods. Are there any gluing or finishing hazards to avoid that you know of or have heard of. For example: When gluing X clean the glue surface with acetone, or if gluing X use this type of glue, or Finishes do not adhere well to X because of its high oil content and the amount of minerals in the wood. These are things I would like to learn before some type of failure can occur. If you know of someone working with these on a regular basis I would appreciate the contact. Thank-you.

And here was my reply:

“Hey Josh. There are a number of woods out there that can cause finishing and gluing problems. Teak, rosewood, cocobolo, bloodwood, and padauk, just to name a few. Unfortunately there is no single place that I know of where you can find this information. Nor is their anyone in particular (that I know of) who specializes in these issues. Just remember that most answers are just a Google away. If you want to know what most people do to finish cocobolo, just search for finishing cocobolo. And if the wood is tricky to finish, then you should probably assume that its a safe bet to wipe the joints with acetone as well. Most oily woods should have no problem with regular wood glue if you wipe with acetone first. And most of these problem woods will do best with a mineral spirits, acetone, or lacquer thinner rub down just prior to finishing. And its usually a good idea to seal them with dewaxed shellac first, before moving on to your topcoat of choice.”

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