examples of the way in which bloodwood darkens over time. The first two pics are of a bowl separated in time by about 12 years. The finish is three thick coats of brushed-on polyurethane with a UV blocker but over time the wood still darkened, as you see. Both pics were taken in bright light. Looked at today in normal light, the bowl is VERY dark, but discernably red. The very bottom of the bowl, which was never exposed to light, is basically unchanged. The second set of pics is of the bottom of a different bowl that is shown over a span of about 10 years. It had the same finish and as you can see, the wood turned and extremely dark brown with little hint of red.
plank, closeup, and end grain. I bought this piece because of the knotholes that make the grain more swirly than is normal for this species. The color on the end-grain is more purple than is present in the wood. The end is rough-cut and clearly shows the saw marks, which I point out just so you won't think there's some kind of ray pattern in the wood. The end grain shot a couple of pics down from here shows the actual smooth end that is typical of the species.
another plank (and closeup) that was cut from the same long plank as the one directly above
2 different planks from 2 different vendors, and a set of small sticks from yet another vendor. The colors in these are accurate but somehow seem just slightly more rich than the actual wood, although once any kind of finishing agent is applied the wood will look even more rich than this, as you can see from the bowl at the bottom of the page. As you can see, there is considerable consistency from piece to piece.
I had some questions about this piece and I took these extra pics as part of the discussion. The first is a 21x end grain closeup and the 2nd is a 12x face grain closeup. The end grain pic is better focused than the 12x one directly above, but I forgot to do color correction, so the color is considerably too dark.
a couple of small planks that look just a little more faded in the pic than the wood really looks.
plank --- the dark color of this plank compared to, for example, the ones directly above, is correct and shows some of the color range of this species.
closeup of the plank directly above. The darker color of the distance shot is correct --- the brighter color of this closeup is an artifact of the bright light and my inability to get full color correction on this pic.
two planks --- my color correction caused these to look more faded than the wood really is --- these planks are a strong vibrant blood red even darker than the one directly below
plank with very accurate color
plank with a more variagated color than is usually the case for bloodwood (see the "cacique" piece just down a little from here).
plank and end grain --- this is a smaller piece of the larger plank directly above and the color of the face surface pic is too light.
end grain closeup of the piece directly above
These are all from a plank that I bought about 1985 as "cacique", before I know anything about exotic woods, and I did not know it was bloodwood. It was only recently that I became aware that it is bloodwood and coincidentally happened to purchase some bloodwood planks that have a similar appearance, which is more variagated than the more normal uniform red color of bloodwood. One of the recently purchased planks is shown directly above this section.
small piece with end grain and side grain --- colors are accurate except for the side grains having just a shade too much violet/purple.
plank and end grain of a piece that was cut from the same large plank as the sample above, but this one has been oiled. As you can see, the oil darkens the color somewhat, but not enormously. The orange stripe running through the middle sample really adds a lot to the beauty of the piece. The side-on pic shows the color accurately but the end grain pic is not color corrected and is too dark and does not show the orange stipe well at all.
end grain closeup from the piece directly above --- this butt end has been very fine sanded (even though some of the coarser sanding marks were not fully sanded out) and so the pores have filled with fine dust. This butt end feels like glass to the touch --- this is a very dense wood.
plank that almost doesn't look like bloodwood --- in fact, when I first saw it, I though it was ribbon stripe mahogany, but it's too red and to heavy for that and the dealer who sold it to me is reliable, so I believe it is bloodwood.
both sides of a particularly interesting striped plank with what appears to be white stain
closeup of the plank directly above --- very bright direct light makes the closeup appear lighter in color than the distance shots. The distance shots are more accurate in color.
small planks with stiping
plank --- it looks better in reality than it does in this pic
plank chosen for it's light crotch area
veneer and closeup
veneer and closeup --- the closeup pic shows the wood as slightly lighter than it really is.
three veneer sheets with enlargements available.
plank with wet and dry sections
planks with particularly unlikely colors
planks showing the striping that can sometimes occur in bloodwood
planks with a light color that is outside of my experience for this wood, but could be correct --- could be a weak color heartwood section next to sapwood.
turning sticks with a brown color that is outside my experience with this species.
bookmatched pair with a very unlikely (but not totally impossible) irridescent orange color
a "strawberry colored" blood wood plank and closeup. I believe the "strawberry" designation is purely descriptive and not indicative of a particular species
veneer --- some of this looks much more brown than I am accustomed to seeing in bloodwood, but that could be because the veneer takes on an aged look much more quickly than planks. I know that effect to be the case with bocote, for example, so it could be true here as well. As you can see up at the top of this page, the bloodwood veneer that I have is a deep blood red, but as I write this that veneer is newly arrived and I don't yet know whether or not it will turn brown with age; according to the research I've done (see the Fact Sheet), most reports say it should not age to brown but one report says it will.
veneer sheet and closeup
turning block with spalted sapwood
this one is from the BogusColorVendor. On this particular piece, the wood itself is very red, so their normal massive overcorrection towards the red isn't as obvious as in many of their woods. See tulipwood or pink ivory for more obvious examples of their work. Bloodwood doesn't tend to be the really bright red they show here.
this bowl seems lighter to me than is normal for bloodwood; contrast it with my bowl at the bottom of this page.
very nice fancy bowl of bloodwood (it was listed as satine)
bloodwood humidor which, like the bowl directly above, seems to me to be a lot lighter than any bloodwood I've experienced, but hey what do I know?
very nice jewlery box made from curly bloodwood, which the correspondent who sent the pics (Eric Schulz, whom I thank) says he has not seen before or since. I have not run across any curly bloodwood myself, nor have I found pics on the web of any, so I'd agree w/ Eric that it is rare. The enlargements show the curl better.
Correspondant James Parker tells me he used to work in a lumber yard and has seen thousands of board feet of blood wood and only one single plank of all that was curly.
a bloodwood bowl, 6.5" in diameter and 3" high, turned from a single block and finished in polyurethane (several coats, with UV blocker). I love this bowl, not because it's anything anyone else would consider particularly special, but because it's the very first bowl I ever turned. It's thick (the whole thing is as thick as the rim) and somewhat clunky because I didn't trust myself or the wood enough to try to make it any thiner. No color correction was done or needed; this is exactly what it looks like, although in anything but a bright ambient light, it looks somewhat darker. As you can see in the comparison shots at the very top of this page, it is now noticibly darker than when it was first finished in the non-UV-blocker polyurethane. The bottom of the bowl, which is NOT exposed to light, is noticibly lighter than the top and looks almost unchanged in color.
bowls by Bryan Nelson (NelsonWood). Bryan fine-polishes his bowls with 1200 or even higher grit sandpaper while they are spinning at high speed on the lathe and then finishes them there with a friction polish of his own devising, thus achieving a shine and color vibrancy that is beautiful to behold, although these bowls are definitely brighter than any redwood I have experienced. The first is about 6" across, the second 4", and the third 8".