I have an acquaintance who will be traveling from Brazil to the US in a
couple of weeks. Is it still legal to import a small quantity of Brazilian
I'd like to make some new parts for my collection of planes. Any thoughts
on the "best' way to produce totes and knobs that are "exact" replacements?
They are not all that expensive to buy but it might be fun to make some. I
guess I could use about 20 sets right now.
Yes, I could do a Google search (tm), but this is both a legal question and
a subjective question. Neither is best served by Google.
Thanks for your input.
Well, OK. But check out http://www.cites.org /
Found that through Google.
It may help.
Dalbergia nigra, the Brazilian rosewood, does have trade restrictions,
but...couldn't locate exactly what restrictions. There are related,
non-endanger species. Useful Woods of the World lists 8 dalbergia. Probably the
closest related is cocobolo in terms of distance is (dalbergia retusa).
Dalbergia stevensonii is hard to find outside Belize, but...I think it's
prettier than many of the others, if you can find it. For a non-rosewood form,
check out dalbergia decipularis, tulipwood. From Brazil, gorgeous,
straw-coolored background with varicolored streaks of pink, rose and maybe some
violet, with some stretches of yellow. It would make some very unusual totes
Given all that, the stuff is probably going to be expensive, even in Brazil,
but probably nowhere near what it costs here.
Suggestion: check with U.S. Customs as to restrictions on bringing some in.
Those are the guys who will give you a hard time if you bring it in illegally,
so they certainly should be able to tell you whether or not it is legal, and,
if so, in what quantities and with what paperwork.
Good luck. Pop up some photos when you get your new handles done.
"In the final choice a soldier's pack is not so heavy as a prisoner's chains."
Dwight D. Eisenhower
Brazilian Rosewood (Dalbergia nigra) appears in CITES Appendix 1, which
pretty much means it isn't going to be an option for importation. I'm don't
think I'm willing to do the amount of paperwork it would take to import a
board or two. (I'm extrapolating from my knowledge of importing bird
I think I'll look around for some "used" Rosewood for a bit and then move on
to the other options. I'll research dalbergia decipularis too. I'm not
experienced at "exotic wood," but the options at the local woodcraft vary
from around $8 to $13/bf so I doubt I'll be going that route either.
Perhaps I'll make a few from various species and make a subjective choice.
Santa is bringing me a few plane books and is pretty excited after using the
LN 60-1/2 at Woodcraft last weekend. I think she just thinks they look
cool, but that is ok too. I told her I only have a few dozen old Stanley's
and she suggested I purchase a few more.
Anyway, thanks for the responses.
Nor UseNet. Call the US Customs Bureau. If they say it is OK try
to get that from them in writing.
It is better to work through a competent lawyer.
Don't take chances, violations can result in jail time.
as far as I know yes. Plus is it really the real thing? it's hard to find it in
good shape. myself cocobolo looks nicer.I thought brazilian rosewood was not too
colorful just dark smells great but it is terrible in the lungs. I made a couple
of infills from it. but old dark cocobolo is nicer I think.
Knight-Toolworks & Custom Planes
Custom made wooden planes at reasonable prices
Don't try to import Brazilian Rosewood.
Just for fun I tried to chase this one down.
Brazilian Rosewood (Dalbergia nigra) is listed on CITES appendix 1, making
it almost impossible to import. Interestingly, it is in the legume family.
On a positive note, I determined that it is the only Dalbergia with
Here is some interesting info on the properties of the wood.
I called US Customs who sent me to USDA. Of course USDA didn't have a real
answer on the specific species in question, but they did say that there is
really no duty on lumber for personal use (< $2K). The fee would be "around
$5 or $10." She then said that if the Fish and Wildlife Service would let
it in, so would they.
Continuing my armchair journey, I called US Fish and Wildlife. Agent was
very helpful and we finally found the species listed in the bad book.
So to import Brazilian Rosewood you would have to have a permit from the
country of origin, a permit from the country of destination, and pay a small
fee. The permits are generally reserved for scientific use or "something
that would help the species recover in the wild."
Now for the unexpected part:
I told the guy I was restoring some old Stanley planes. I was surprised
when he started asking questions. Turns out he has some very old Swedish
carpentry tools that he tried to restore with poor results. I didn't catch
what acid he used but it gave the characteristic gray metal color. He
specifically mentioned chisels. I gave him the down and dirty version of
electrolysis derusting and a brief intro to Scary Sharp(tm). The info
seemed to make his day.
He suggested Hickory and Walnut as alternatives to Rosewood and wondered
aloud what Chinese Rosewood might actually be. Said he sees a lot of that
coming through. Also mentioned that he had antique literature touting
Eucalyptus for tool handles. He thinks there are around 400 species of
Eucalyptus, but only around 40 that are suitable for tool handles.
Apparently some rich guy named Sutro planted the wrong species all around
the hills of San Francisco:).
I'll keep contemplating the perfect wood to make my own set of trademark
handles. I have recently considered Mesquite after seeing some of the
gorgeous items in ABPW. I have also thought about Maple, Beech, Laminate,
Cocobolo, and a few that have been mentioned in this thread. I can't
remember what wood the black stained handles (type 17, etc) were made from.
Your thoughts welcome.
PS. Anyone want to trade my old planes for your old planes?
I can't answer either of your question, but I had a similar plan once
and just found it to be too much of a PITA. Unless your acquaintance
wants to kill at least a day finding somewhere to buy the stuff, ship it
home or pack an extra suitcase, etc then it probably isn't a realistic
Larry C in Auburn WA
This is probably an urban legand, but I heard of someone who bought
something else and had it crated in some fancy wood. Paid a small duty
on the object, and got a lot of nice lumber past the customs folks
without any hassle. I suspect they are on to this dodge, so I wouldn't
recommend trying it.
I don't know if it's illegal to import but there is some of it
available in the US, Martin Guitar Co., and Taylor Guitars, have
stocks of Brazillian Rosewood. They may have some scrap pieces w/
gnarly grain (not usefull for guitar backs and sides) that they
possibly be willing to sell. Be aware that this might cost you a
small fortune (a set of good Brazillian Rosewood back and sides for a
guitar cost $3K or more)
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