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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2019
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    Default Wood smells like machine oil...

    Hi. I'm a hobbyist woodworker and am new to the forum. I like to use recycled wood in my projects where possible for the sake of the environment as well as expense. I've just come across something strange though. I have salvaged a piece of Australian Blackwood (I assume) from a dumped kitchen cupboard door. Not only does it feel sticky and oily when cut and sanded but smells like sewing machine oil. What the...??? I know some woods are naturally oilier than others and I know drying and non-drying oils are both used as wood finishes and undercoats (I use them myself) but this goes ALL the way through the wood and smells like machine oil. Is vacuum impregnating wood with machine oil a thing??? On the other hand, I've never used blackwood before. Does it just co-incidentally smell like machine oil? The door's original finish was intact when I found it so I know it isn't just something that has seeped in. Anyone's advice who knows anything about what might be going on with this weird wood would be greatly appreciated.

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
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    Default

    Doesn't sound like any Blackwood I've seen before, a picture of it would help a lot.

    There are treatments that impregnate timber with preservatives, but I think it's unlikely to be that as it's generally only used for construction timber, not for furniture timber.

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
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    Oberon, NSW
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    Default

    Doesn't sound like Blackwood to me, either.

    Although I wouldn't describe the smell as 'like machine oil,' it sounds to me as though you've managed to score yourself a nice piece of Teak or similar...
    I may be weird, but I'm saving up to become eccentric.

    - Andy Mc (AKA "Ghost who posts." )

  5. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2019
    Location
    Sydney, Australia
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    Default

    Hi thanks to both of you for your responses.

    Quote Originally Posted by elanjacobs View Post
    Doesn't sound like any Blackwood I've seen before, a picture of it would help a lot.
    In response to your request for images:

    End Grain View:End Grain View.jpg
    Plain Sawn Side: Plain Sawn Side.jpg
    Quarter Sawn Side:Quarter Sawn Side.jpg
    With Original Finish:With Original Finish.jpg

    Do these help at all to ID it at all? I can take better images if needs be.

  6. #5
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    I think Skew might be on the money with Teak. I haven't done much work with it before so I'm not confident enough to say that it is, but it's definitely not Blackwood.

  7. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2019
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    Sydney, Australia
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    Default

    Thanks. You just saved me from throwing it out!! What a waste THAT would have been! It's really a very nice wood but I thought it might be toxic. (Yes, I know many if not all woods are toxic... but you know what I mean). I guess the strange smell and the tallowy oiliness make sense then... I would not have thought it normal to have treated the wood for a kitchen cupboard door with anything but wood finishing products but I just had not had the good fortune to stumble across such a type of wood before. All makes more sense now. Thankyou for your input. Greatly appreciated.

  8. #7
    Join Date
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    Rockhampton QLD
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    Welcome to the forum.

  9. #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2019
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    Default

    Thankyou, old1955.

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