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Exotic wood & bezel



I’m a little confused if your thinking of setting wood into wood
bezels or metal? However I have had some experience using different
hardwood and carving beads for rings and pendants the like. I got my
hardwoods from lee valley, and from a company call black forest wood
company, both have websites and you can order online from them. I
started with pen blanks for turning fancy pens but you can get much
bigger pieces. I’m sure there are lots of other places though.

There are some things to take into consideration when using
hardwoods as any other material, there are some safety precautions to
take because of the dust and oils they give off. Search google or
whatever and enter the name of the wood +health risks. Some woods
will cause breathing problems, others are carcinogenic and what have
you, there will be charts telling you the characteristics and
possible risk and precautions to take with these things.

What I used to shape the wood was a carving knife, and my dremel
with diamond burrs to shape them and then I sanded them with fine
grit and then polished them with a little wax. I also wore a mask,
eye protection and kept my work area clean with a vacume/extraction.

To keep the colour in some of the woods I heard using armour-all
works wonders as does oils. Depending on how they are mounted you
will have to consider the finish and how much skin contact it will
have, as certain things off gas or might cause skin problems if not
treated right. I used olive oil on my rings because they end up
getting washed with your hands, then you can just reapply more later.
With that as long as the piece is cleaned and replenished there
shouldn’t be any issue with the oil going rancid I would think.

Anyways I hope this gives you some that will help you
conceive your pieces.

Best of luck,


I use wood, Nowegian "stonebirch" with silver in bezels. And
plumtree and cherrywood. These are very hard. The patterns and
colors are amazing. 

Wood is changing size depending on humidity if you dont protect it
with something really hard or something that goes all into the wood.
Its not easy if the wood is hard and old.

If you bezel them in larger pieces, you must pin/stick/glue them
with a couple of holes into the wood, through the bezel, because of
the change of size, its alive. If you only glue it, it will loosen
from metal over time.

Its not easy to make it jewellry quality surface, it requires lot of
sanding, and some sort of oil or wax. Or shellac, it makes a hard
surface, but may be not what you are out for. There are special
sanding papers made for woodcutters that are great.

Pipemakers have their own wax, it works for polishing. Use an old
wool sock for the last finish…OR if you are able to get it, real
untreated wool from sheep. Beezwax gives spots when splashed with
water or sunshine.

A sami man that use to make intarsia with wood teached me to throw
pieces into a closed jar of best quality vegetarian oil after they
are almost finished and sanded to the best, and let them lie there
until he wants them. They can stay for years. If you do, take them
out some days before you will use them, and let them lie in natural
cotton till they have given away some of the oil. Polish with wool.




You’ve had several good suggestions and it is a good project! About
10 years ago one of my wife’s cousins in South Carolina was marrying
(a bit late in life) so I made a broach for her gift. It was a wood
heart about 1 1/4 inch across in a yellow gold bezel. The wood was
Carolina Cherry Burl–a very striking piece that I’ve heard about on
many occasions since then.

I sliced a piece of the burl about 1/8 inch thick, sawed and sanded
it to shape with a slight bevel to the edge. The finish worked very
nicely. I used Varithane Diamond (it’s a variation of the
water-based floor finishes), several coats built up thickness quickly
and allowed me to sand and polish a perfect surface.

I left the back open with just a 4mm bridge across to support the
pin findings.

My wife loved it-but she didn’t get one, an oversight on my part
because she certainly deserves one.

Take the allergy potentials of exotic woods VERY SERIOUSLY, I am
extremely sensitive to cocobolo! One of these days I’ll try to post
the simple device I made to work on such things with total dust

Go with it!
Dr. Mac