Friday, November 16, 2012

Olive Wood Revisited

Have I mentioned that I like working with Olive Wood? If you read this blog regularly I guess you know that I have mentioned that a few times. Well, maybe more than a few times. Recently I've had the pleasure of completing two planes that feature Olive Wood.

One of these planes was a version of the new Winter Panel plane. This plane featured a stark contrast of the blonde olive wood against a plane body of steel with an aged patina and brass that also had a patina finish applied. During the process of making this plane I didn't really know how this would all work together but once it was completed I have to say I was absolutely smitten.

I think the color of the brass relates to the Olive enough to draw all the elements together. But Olive wood really has to be touched to be truly appreciated. This wood is naturally a bit oily and I think that's the reason it works well with a shellac finish. It almost provides it's own polishing lubrication and the feel once it is refined is something that has to be experienced to be fully appreciated.

The other wonderful characteristic of this material is the way it changes color with age. The color transition doesn't occur as drastically as you would see in rosewood which can change color in a matter of days once exposed to air and light, however the color change does occur at a more rapid rate as compared to a wood like cherry. The picture above shows just how much the color change can occur in approximately a year.

The other plane that I've recently completed is a stainless 912-50S Smoothing plane.(See Below) This tote and knob came from what could possibly be the best piece of Olive I've had the pleasure to work. Curl figure along with contrasting dark striping. Another notable thing about Olive is the curl figure gets more intense as the color darkens. The first piece of olive that I used to make plane parts did not really show any evidence of curl but once it aged curl began to show up all thru the tote and knob.

There is a lot of curl already showing in the wooden bits of this latest plane. I can't even imagine how it will look once it's aged and looking it's best.

Of course there wouldn't be much point in making a plane of this nature that didn't have performance value to match it's looks, so I've attached a video of the Winter Panel plane in action. This video is available in HD so the best viewing is obtained by selecting this quality option.


An old saying from India,

Everything will be okay in the end, if it’s not okay then it’s not the end”


  1. Lovely work, what's the wood you plane in these videos?

  2. Quarter sawn curly cherry with the face of the curl coming straight up into the quarter sawn edge.