Materials Used in Ornamental Turning - Desert Ironwood

Ornamentally Turned Objects

Desert Ironwood

Desert Ironwood

This is an excellent wood for ornamental turning, though it is less used as it has natural beauty, and the ornamentation could easily become gaudy. I have used it to make shaving brushes and it gave some excellent results.

It is quite hard (Janka hardness = 14,500 N), so expect to resharpen often. That hardness enables it to hold shapes very well.


This wood is hard to find in large pieces, so making a prototype with a less expensive wood is recommended.

Work Holding

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Ornamental Turning Notes

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Finishing this may be necessary to bring out the cuts. If you have parts of the object which use the sap wood (the lighter colored part), consider a sealant that will close up the pores. An object that gets handled often (like a shaving brush) will tend to draw dirt into the pores of the sap wood, giving it dirty lines.

If it is to be handled, I use Tried & True’s Original Wood Finish.

When it is used for items like shaving brushes where it will be around water often, a polyurethane finish might have been considered, but don't go there. It does not work well with this wood and the resulting finish is horrible. Lacquer is a much better choice for this purpose.

Other Notes

More information is in The Wood Database.

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Disclaimer: eMail comments to me at OTBookOfKnowledge @ The process of woodturning involves the use of tools, machinery and materials which could cause injury or be a health hazard unless proper precautions are taken, including the wearing of appropriate protective equipment.