The Society of American Period Furniture Makers

General Discussion => Discuss topics not covered in other categories. => Topic started by: klkirkman on July 13, 2011, 08:02:45 AM

Title: Workability of camphorwood
Post by: klkirkman on July 13, 2011, 08:02:45 AM
I am thinking of using  camphorwood to make drawers in a spice cabinet with many small drawers; the straight grain yellowish wood that was used to build large shipping chests to ship tea and silk from China in 19th Century, not the reddish fish-eyed burl which is much more commonly seen.

Does anyone have experience using this wood, and particularly hand cutting dovetails in it ?

Karl



 
Title: Re: Workability of camphorwood
Post by: dwsantos on July 13, 2011, 03:22:40 PM
I have done repair work on camphorwood campaign chests in the past. Camphorwood lumber is very difficult to find. It is extremely unstable. The smell of the smallest cut of it will drive you out of the shop.

Dan
Title: Re: Workability of camphorwood
Post by: klkirkman on July 14, 2011, 08:32:55 AM
Dan,

Thank you for your reply to my request.

The wood is indeed hard to find; in the end, I could not find any commercially available and had to have it sawn and milled in Australia where it is actually considered an invasive  "trash" tree. The "importing" cost more than the wood.

Your comments about the odor are noted; actually, I was seeking this particular tribute as it serves to kill insects which suits the intended use. Apparently it also helps Sterling silver resist tarnish, and is used for silver chests.

Regarding the matter it of being unstable, your feedback caused me to try to find more about the properties that I had previously. That search led me to an on line wood data base that indicates that it expansion/contraction radially and tangentially with moisture are about the same as tulip poplar which is commonly used as secondary wood for the same purpose. Perhaps I misunderstood the meaning of unstable you had in mind ?

Karl

Karl
Title: Re: Workability of camphorwood
Post by: sbachner on July 14, 2011, 10:36:01 PM
You might check here,

http://www.forums.woodnet.net/ubbthreads/showflat.php?Cat=&Number=5509599&page=0&view=collapsed&sb=5&o= (http://www.forums.woodnet.net/ubbthreads/showflat.php?Cat=&Number=5509599&page=0&view=collapsed&sb=5&o=)
Title: Re: Workability of camphorwood
Post by: Jack Plane on July 15, 2011, 03:46:01 AM
Karl,

I didn't know camphor retarded the tarnishing of silver. Do you have any more information on this please? A silver chest is far off on my horizon.
Title: Re: Workability of camphorwood
Post by: klkirkman on July 15, 2011, 05:31:56 AM
Jack,

Here is one particular link:  http://www.woodmagazine.com/materials-guide/lumber/wood-species-1/camphorwood/

I found many sources that refer to camphor wood ability to deter moths & stop silver tarnish ; try do a google search on "camphor wood silver tarnish" . At one time, the oil was harvested for medicinal purposes.

The problem is that the wood, cinnamomom camphora i believe,  is not readily available in the United States, unlike its more common relative camphor burl which has a striking in appearance and is quite expensive. My plan is to make  a Philadelphia spice chest with the small drawers using actual camphor wood  and the fronts to be cahphor burl. It is native to the Far East, but has spread to Australia where it is a nuisacne tree; apparently it drops a chemical that acts a a defoliant and kills compoetying plant life.

I was unable to locate any in the U.S., but Through contacts in Australia, I was able to find a sawmill that was willing to saw and dry a substantial supply of the wood and ship it to me. Getting the wood here is not for the faint of heart; fumigation, customs, brokers, etc..


Karl

Title: Re: Workability of camphorwood
Post by: Jack Plane on July 16, 2011, 04:27:43 AM
Thank you for the information Karl. I now live in Australia and I encounter camphor here frequently. I'll pay more attention to the next lot.

There seems to be some ambiguity regarding the woods ability to retard tarnishing on silver. One person even mentions silver's ability to absorb the smell from the wood! http://www.smpub.com/ubb/Forum1/HTML/000968.html (http://www.smpub.com/ubb/Forum1/HTML/000968.html)
Title: Re: Workability of camphorwood
Post by: albreed on August 03, 2011, 08:37:44 PM
Regarding camphorwood- Years ago I planed down a camphorwood chest for an antique dealer and the entire building became a sinus clearing event. Very oily and a lot of cross grain-Al