Lignum vitae

I just bought a few b.f. of shorts from Lee Valley's warehouse sale.
The wood seems covered with wax, though now that I read a bit on the internet it appears this may actually be oil from the wood...or not.
Can I plane this wood on my [DW 734]? will the surface wax/oil gum up my knives?
It looks like it may only be good for turning - or can I dress it and use it as an accent with other woods (maple or birch)?
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On Sun, 24 Feb 2008 21:24:57 GMT, "Graham Gilbert"

Howdy,
It is likely that the material you see is wax... (that is, not from the wood.)
I have often seen pieces that were dipped in wax for a few inches on each end to decrease the chance of checking. I would guess that Lee Valley, or their supplier, just went wild with the wax.
It would certainly seem to me that you could dress it and use it in any way you might want, though I personally have not used it that way.
All the best,
--
Kenneth

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Bowl blanks are often dipped in wax.
--
FF

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On Sun, 24 Feb 2008 21:24:57 GMT, "Graham Gilbert"

It *is* covered in wax. This is to prevent splits and checking.
Sure, go ahead and plane it. I got a small piece once and it planed just fine. Definitely pay attention to grain direction or you'll get plenty of tear out.
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Graham Gilbert wrote:

The middle box here http://www.flickr.com/photos/39383723@N00/336793880/in/set-72157594445381450/ is lignum vitae. Planes fine--do a _lot_ of it and you'll dull steel knives but a short or three should be no problem. While it's oily, it's not _that_ oily, what you see on the surface is wax. The natural oil is a pretty good lubricant which is why the Navy uses it for the shaft bearings on aircraft carriers. You can use it as an accent, but I'd advise using an epoxy rather than a PVA glue, and bond the surfaces fresh-cut.
Stuff will polish to a near-mirror finish using just its natural oil.
--
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--John
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Graham Gilbert wrote:

As others said (more or less), it is wood: use it like any other wood. It is the world's *heaviest* wood though. Also, don't be surprised if it turns sky blue when you finish it. Or a bilious green. The color is only temporary and after a day or two it will change to a nice brown.
--

dadiOH
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