Author Topic: The joys of Padauk  (Read 5138 times)

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Offline ear3

  • Posts: 3612
The joys of Padauk
« on: January 05, 2017, 07:24 PM »
I haven't seen that many people working with Padauk on the FOG, so I just thought I'd show an example of something I made a couple of months back to highlight the amazing qualities of this wood. 

I first stumbled across Padauk looking for a suitable substitute for Bloodwood.  Freshly cut Padauk is an orangish or rusty red, which over time fades to a reddish brown.  It is very easy to work with both with hand and power tools (though it has a tendency to leave an orangish residue, especially on hand planes), and it has this distinctive perfumy smell.  It also has one of the most unusual contrasts between the heart and sapwood, where the sapwood (the living portion of the tree closest to the bark) is a creamy white, and in cases where the wood is spalted, the white portion has black and brown shapes running through it almost as if it were a series of coffee stains from an oddly shaped cup. 

So I had some scrap of Padauk left over from a small table I built over the summer, and fortunately, one of the scraps had the sapwood and was long enough so that I could make three continuous pieces of a picture frame (the fourth ended up being taken from another scrap piece).  I built the frame to mount a poster my wife's aunt had given us when we visited her in Maine this past Summer, where the model for the poster was actually my wife's long deceased father, documenting a time in his back to the land hippie days:


The woodworking aspect of the project was to put to use the LN beading tool I picked up when I visited the LN showroom
while we were in Maine


Anyway, the sapwood pattern allowed me to create the effect of a skewed frame within a frame:


The lines weren't perfect as you see in the lower right corner, but I couldn't make them meet any closer because of needing to match the beaded profile on the face of the frame.

Here's a close-up of the sapwood in one of the corners:


The final results with the mounted poster -- I was still getting the hang of the beading tool, and so the miters don't have a gallery/museum level of precision due to slight differences in the distance of the beading from the edge, but I'm still happy with the final results:


So if you can get your hands on some Padauk, I highly recommend it as a way to make even ordinary pieces into something eye-popping.  Now when I buy Padauk, I also try to get a board that includes the sapwood along one of the edges.
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Offline Poindexter

  • Posts: 144
Re: The joys of Padauk
« Reply #1 on: January 05, 2017, 07:54 PM »
Nicely done!  And quite inspiring as I have 4 long chunks of it waiting for me to make a frame out of.  Been saving it for a special "Pinnacle Indian" I grabbed from JVH last year: ...the green, orange and red one.

Offline Peter_C

  • Posts: 728
Re: The joys of Padauk
« Reply #2 on: January 06, 2017, 01:47 AM »
Beautiful work!

The orange color of padauk contrasts excellently with purple heart too, or so I feel.

Offline Gjarman12

  • Posts: 94
Re: The joys of Padauk
« Reply #3 on: January 12, 2017, 06:57 AM »
Hey @Edward A Reno III , it looks great. Did you use anything to finish the padauk? When I've used it, the oils have made it challenging to finish it.

Offline Chris Wong

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  • I make sculptural furniture.
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Re: The joys of Padauk
« Reply #4 on: January 12, 2017, 08:48 AM »
I love the look of padauk, but haven't used it too much. One of my favorite pens is made of padauk and it has an amazing patina. I think the original finish is long gone.
Chris Wong,

The thoughts and ideas expressed here are my own and do not necessarily represent those of  But Dan does say "hello".

Offline deepcreek

  • Posts: 745
    • TimberFire Studio
Re: The joys of Padauk
« Reply #5 on: January 12, 2017, 09:27 AM »
Very nice!
Joe Adams
TimberFire Studio
Houston, Texas

Offline sigmatango

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Re: The joys of Padauk
« Reply #6 on: January 12, 2017, 01:54 PM »
All I have to say about padauk is the smell is amazing...
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Offline Mavrik

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Re: The joys of Padauk
« Reply #7 on: January 12, 2017, 05:35 PM »
I make marimba's.
Padauk is amazing for its resonant qualities and makes excellent marimba bars
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Offline leer

  • Posts: 255
Re: The joys of Padauk
« Reply #8 on: January 13, 2017, 01:06 PM »
Padauk turns nicely. I made these reversible screwdrivers for my sons-in-law a couple years ago for Christmas. These also have maple, walnut, and purple heart in them. 

I told them I better not find out they dropped them or just threw them into a toolbox.  :)
« Last Edit: January 13, 2017, 01:08 PM by leer »