Griffin Exotic Wood

This is one of a few patterns possible on highly figured snakewood.

(piratinera guianensis)
All have good figure unless otherwise specified.

Snakewood is an incredibly beautiful wood which originates mostly in Suriname, South America.  The specific gravity is around 1.2, making it one of the worlds hardest woods.  The part sold as snakewood is really the heartwood of the larger tree.  This wood is usually felled with axes and carried on the backs of hard working natives over streams and through snake infested jungle areas.  Each tree felled is monitored, and the government has developed a strict permit process to control harvesting.  Much of the wood has inferior or no figure, but the small amount that has attractive figure is exported.  We sell only figured pieces that have high density of figure unless specifically marked otherwise.  All snakewood has at least minute hairline cracks.  We take the extra step of soaking some pieces in cyanoacrylate to minimize or eliminate any cracking.  Fortunately, if cracks do occur, they can be hidden completely if caught early.  We do not recommend attempting to dry snakewood, as this almost always leads to cracking.  Being dense, the water content is already very low.   To be successful, always have superglue and hardener on hand, cover the piece with plastic completely when not working on it, and seal it completely with a finish that does not allow moisture transmission.  Needless to say, the wood should never be allowed to get overly heated or left in direct sunlight. 

The first time you buy snakewood from us, please read the note above. Thanks!

Grading system: We want to be more specific about what we consider high figure, as we have noted that what we sell as "medium high" figure is at least as good as what most vendors call "high figure".  Some vendors even sell what we call "medium"  or "low" figure as "high figure".
Here is how we determine the rating of figure:
High figure (Gallery grade Plus):This figure is continuous over the whole piece.  The lines aren't far enough apart that we consider the figure to have lapsed in any area.
Medium high figure (Gallery grade): This figure is continuous most everywhere, but there is a lapse somewhere or the figure is a little farther apart than high figure.
Medium figure (Gallery grade minus): There are some lapses in the figure or the lines are spread further apart than usual.
Low figure (turning grade): The figure is sparse and there are gaps in it.


Exotic Wood Chart
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All are excellent figure unless noted otherwise:

Snakewood pen blank 1/2"
Price: $3.50

Snakewood pen blank 5/8 inch square
Price: $7.50 (out of stock temporarily)

Click the photo for the second view. 
Story of why we almost never offer snakewood:  We don't often sell snakewood, due to the fact that we lose quite a bit of money on each piece bigger then a pen blank. This is because when we buy logs (wholesale) for about for lets say $5,000 as an example, cut them up losing very expensive blades (bandsaw blades that cost $90 are too dull to use within 4 hours max, bandsaw blades with carbide that cost about $230 have been destroyed in less then one minute when all the teeth shear off as soon as they hit the wood), add a very unusually large amount of labor and than those logs will produce an average of $3,300 worth of blanks. So in this example we would lose all the labor and about $2500 and then we'd still have to sell them. (this has been figured over a number of logs over years keeping careful records, this is not caused by an unusual situation). I think you can see why we don't normally sell it. But these were left over from a piece of a log many years ago so we wanted to offer them. It is possible to make money on snakewood but you must go to the source in Suriname and buy a large amount of hand picked pieces for what would be about 50% of wholesale prices as a final cost including shipping. Or we can buy logs at wholesale and sell them retail: meaning the losses are passed on to whoever cuts it.

 NOTES: Piece C has been reduced 40% because there is a tight check in one corner. You can see it in picture 2 if you look carefully. It could be filled with superglue, or if turning round you might be able to cut that part off. Snakewood is fragile even when perfectly dried over many years like these pieces are. Do not ever leave them out if: The shop will go below 60% humidity at any time and/or the temp will go above 75 degrees at any time. So in other words, keep them at all times when not working on them in sealed plastic bags with the air pushed out and they must also be kept cool.   Seal checks if they appear very rapidly and they usually are invisible. Finish them very thoroughly to help protect pieces once in use.

All pieces are DRIED completely.
Any pieces not shown below, or that give a red out of stock notice in the shopping cart are already sold.

No surprises: ALL four sides visible in photos:
Click here for a THIRD side view.
Click here for FOURTH side view.
Piece D  Sold

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