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“Roasting” Birdseye Maple involves gradually heating the wood up to temperatures of greater than 160 degrees celcius in special heat chambers made of stainless steel under anoxic conditions. The heat removes organic compounds from the wood cells, changing both the physical and chemical make-up of the wood. The process is natural and chemical free. It darkens the wood to a beautiful rich chocolatey brown color whilst still showing the gorgeous grain and figure of the underlying wood.
The thermally modified wood is more dimensionally stable, but the process does reduce bending strength and make the wood a little more brittle. This makes it chip a little easier than the un-modified lumber. The brittleness makes it less suitable for intricate cabinetry, but it is still an excellent choice for less intricate items such as floors, tops, panels, cladding etc.
Extra care needs to be taken when finishing thermally modified wood, as the "bone dry" wood has a tendency to "suck in" much of what is given to it. Our in-house woodworking specialist has had excellent results with Osmo PolyX. He suggests a thicker finish will work better.
Gorgeous colors and grain patterns have resulted in the exploitation of this beautiful species for use in production of "Hongmu" furniture. It looks similar in appearance to Kiaat/Muninga, another member of the Pterocarpus genus. We only have a few hundred BF of this endangered species left and don't expect to get any more when it runs out.
As per wood database:
"The¬†extremely low oxygen conditions of the bog protect the wood from normal decay, while the underlying peat provides acidic¬†conditions where iron salts and other minerals react with the tannins in the wood, gradually giving it a distinct¬†dark brown to almost black color."
Pink Ivory remains one of the most elusive, coveted and highly desirable of all the world's many exotic woods. Despite being indigenous to Southern Africa, the wood is rare throughout its home continent. What isn't exported abroad is said to be hoarded by rich, hierarchical families throughout Africa, as the wood is considered to be on the same level of value as diamonds and emeralds.
Its reputation in the US is that of being one of the most elusive, difficult-to-source of all exotic woods, and one of the "holy grail" exotic tonewoods in the eyes of many guitar builders.
In addition to its dazzling colors, texture and overall supremely regal appearance, Pink Ivory possesses great density (3230 lbf, on the Janka Hardness scale), making it well suited for a variety of applications. It is very popular with wood carvers and turners, alike, although it can be difficult to work and has reputation for dulling saw blades.<br><br>The Wood Database lists trees as growing to maturity at heights ranging from 100 - 130 feet, and trunk diameters of 3 to 5 feet. This, however, is inaccurate as trees rarely grow past 35 feet in height with trunks around one foot in diameter. The tree is protected and sustainably maintained in South Africa, only felled after the issuance of very limited permitting by respective state government environmental authorities. Given this, it's little wonder that finding any Pink or Red Ivory beyond small craft-sized pieces has proven a very difficult task in the US.