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Help me with my wood.

KyleNarzt

New Member
Jan 20, 2016
8
6
3
36
Tamarindo, Costa Rica
Hey all,

First post on this forum, so it's nice to meet you all. Now that that is out of the way...

I'm living in Costa Rica. It is nearly impossible to get spearfishing equipment down here. There are no stores which sell guns. Ryan Bombard, who is a well known charter operator out of Nosara (by my research) and Riffe dealer has not responded to any of my attempted communications. I am now looking to another local Spearo from this board to build me a gun. We have hashed out design details of what I'm looking for. Now the interesting part. WOOD.

Being that this is Costa Rica, there are many MANY exciting options for material for constructing my gun. Teak being the starting point, and becoming gradually more and more exotic from there. Some alternatives which we have been discussing are Goncalo Alves (Called Ronron locally)
http://www.wood-database.com/lumber-identification/hardwoods/goncalo-alves/
up to and including the moderately crazy but highly intriguing option of building the gun stock out of cocobolo
http://www.wood-database.com/lumber-identification/hardwoods/cocobolo/

Both seem to exhibit excellent characteristics for building a solid durable stock. My one minor concern about the cocobolo option is the density (specific gravity of 1.10 at 12%MC). By my rudimentary calculations, this means that the stock will not float, with or without a shaft, and will "weigh" about a pound before adding trigger mech, rigging, etc. when underwater. I'm not super experienced with this, and my thought is that having a float line rigged should alleviate any concerns about losing my gun with an accidental slip. Pros would be that it would have significant mass (less recoil), ridiculous strength (and resistance to dents, dings, and general beatings), and be simply stunning (not that the fish care).

The Ronron (tigerwood) will also look amazing, be harder and denser than teak, but have a slight float before shaft, rigging, and similar considerations.

So if you had the opportunity to work with some more exotic hardwoods, or go for the standard teak which is still a great option, what would you do and why?
 

Mr. X

Forum Mentor
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Jul 14, 2005
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Moving to Handmade Spearguns area of forum (temporary link left in original location & permanent link in regional area).

Re. buoyancy
Did you see this: http://www.wood-database.com/wood-articles/specific-gravity/ ?
And did you consider that things are more buoyant in saltwater than in freshwater?

Chambering:
One option would be to hollow out chambers in the wood and either leave them full of air or fill them with some kind of foam or balsa wood.

In the past (70s/80s?), I believe Gibson guitars sometimes lightened the mahogany backs on some of their guitars by drilling large round areas out and filling the holes with balsa wood (a very light, rather soft hardwood, Gibson described it as a "tone wood"). Apparently the density of mahogany (& probably woods in general) varies a lot, depending on the silica content. Prior to this, some mahogany was so dense it was deemed only suitable for making mallets! The holes were discovered by guitarists going through airport x-ray scanners noticing the "Swiss cheese" of holes.

Later, Gibson offered a model (the Elegant), at a premium price, which was weight reduced with empty chambers by design - & everybody was happy again :) ; they now offer several more chambered options: the Axcess & the 2014 models.

http://www.gibson.com/News-Lifestyle/Features/en-us/Lighten-Your-Les-Paul-Load.aspx
http://www.guitarplayer.com/miscellaneous/1139/whats-the-big-deal-about-chambered-guitars/23183

Our World - Our air
Bear in mind if you are looking for someone abroad to build your gun, that they might not have ready access to exotic woods. Many exotic hardwoods are now endangered and some are protected for that reason. Many are illegally forested from "the lungs of the World" :( - very bad karma!
 
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KyleNarzt

New Member
Jan 20, 2016
8
6
3
36
Tamarindo, Costa Rica
Thanks for the reply Mr. X. I did consider the higher specific gravity of water (I'm not an engineer, but the fellow who will be building my gun is, and the calculations I did had him wondering if I was an engineer as well), and considered the 12% MC specific gravity to be a fairly realistic number, considering that although kiln dried wood is likely not available, this region is exceptionally dry and hot. It has not rained here since November, and will probably not until April or May.

Regarding chambering, I did consider it, but do not like the prospect of compromising the strength of the piece by creating large voids in it. I could see using this method to 'balance' if the muzzle feels heavy, or needs a little tweaking, but that would be it.

Regarding availability, as these woods grow locally, they are available (in small quantities) to local woodworkers.

I would rather see a piece of local hardwood turned into a speargun for me than see it turned (literally) into a bowl for a tourist. Offcuts from my piece would be used as accent inlays, veneers, and laminates on future projects, rather than being a pile of dust and shavings on a shop floor beneath a lathe. These woods will contine to be harvested, and at least we can try to apply the same principles of 'respecing the catch' by putting them to efficient use rather than being wasteful.

Thanks again. Hoping to hear more opinions on the matter.
 
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KyleNarzt

New Member
Jan 20, 2016
8
6
3
36
Tamarindo, Costa Rica
image.jpg
Ended up with a 52" length solid blank of very nice looking cocobolo (roughly milled in picture, cleaned up beautifully apparently)... took a small cut of it for a swim today, and it is very close to neutral buoyancy in the pacific... Really looking forward to having this built!
 
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KyleNarzt

New Member
Jan 20, 2016
8
6
3
36
Tamarindo, Costa Rica
Finished results... very pleased with how it all turned out. I fully expect the builder to post up a build thread in the next few days. Just going to throw a reference out there for him now, Stephen (username 'steveojones') was great to work with on this, and this is a one-of-a-kind gun I'm proud to own. Considering the lack of availability of spearguns here in Costa Rica, I'd say this was a huge HUGE win to get a custom gun built from top quality parts, exotic wood, AND in a reasonable time frame (of special importance to those of us who have been in Costa Rica for a while and understand /expect 'Tico time').

2016-02-25 18.47.21.jpg


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2016-02-25 18.51.25.jpg
 

Mr. X

Forum Mentor
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Looks great. Have you had a chance to use it yet?

Perhaps these questions are more appropriate for steveojones's thread:
Which trigger mech did you use? How long is it (spear/barrel)?
What did you use to finish the surface of the wood, it looks quite matt/waxy/oily, with Cocobolo I half expected a hi-gloss highly figured finish like this:

- but a flatter finish is perhaps more appropriate for hunting/fishing. :D
 
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KyleNarzt

New Member
Jan 20, 2016
8
6
3
36
Tamarindo, Costa Rica
Looks great. Have you had a chance to use it yet?

Perhaps these questions are more appropriate for steveojones's thread:
Which trigger mech did you use? How long is it (spear/barrel)?
What did you use to finish the surface of the wood, it looks quite matt/waxy/oily, with Cocobolo I half expected a hi-gloss highly figured finish like this:

- but a flatter finish is perhaps more appropriate for hunting/fishing. :D
Thanks. Due to a poorly timed tattoo, I'm out of the water until next week.

Neptonics Reverse Mech trigger. 52" blank with a 48" pull. 60" X 8mm shaft. Finished with a penetrating oil on about 300grit sanding. Could be sanded to a gloss, but I quite like the matte/satin finish and it feels great in person.

The grain is quite figured, but in very deep red hues, and the contours / finish / photography are all doing their respective parts to hide it.
 
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Mr. X

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I like oil finishes too. Danish oil is supposed to be pretty good. Tung bean oil too. I often use raw linseed or edible walnut oil. Danish, Tung, linseed & walnut oils are special, they are drying oils, which polymerize as they dry.
 

foxfish

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Nice gun!
Wood is my passion, I love to use unusual woods, I love to use unusual cuts of wood.. quarter sawn, flat sawn diagonally sawn & laminates of different cuts. I build guitars, guns, furniture didgeridoos & many other objects of desirer :)
Just because someone says you cant use such a wood or such a wood wont work is just encouragement for me to use such a wood!
There is always a way, I don't really see much point in using what everyone else uses if you want a custom build then you already want something different.
 
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Mr. X

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...Just because someone says you cant use such a wood or such a wood wont work is just encouragement for me to use such a wood!
There is always a way, I don't really see much point in using what everyone else uses if you want a custom build then you already want something different.
:) I was surprised to find the fast growing antisocial hybrid of the hedgerow Leylandii is actually decent wood. Even some quite unpromising, gnarly looking base sections have worked for me. Dry, the wood is almost uniformly white (which looks good) but oiled it becomes yellow & a little red.

Do you use pallet wood sometimes? I've been told all manner of woods turn up in pallets - probably the heavier duty variety used for things like tiles & bricks.
 
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KyleNarzt

New Member
Jan 20, 2016
8
6
3
36
Tamarindo, Costa Rica
Have been getting out pretty regularly lately. Lots of trigger fish, a tiny little baby Pargo (marksmanship award it was so small) that I misjudged and speared based on silhouette alone, and today a nice sized parrotfish that made excellent ceviche.

This gun is crazy accurate, with no noticable muzzle flip (extra mass?). Have hit all my targets dead on. Just behind the gills on the parrotfish today (was moving FAST). When I choose a fish, the gun doen't let me down. My only misses with the gun so far have been shots into schools of fish where I did not single out a fish to aim for - my own inexperience to blame for that.
image.jpg


Also got a nice sized pargo last week on rod and reel. Went out for a half day with my step dad and got tired of reeling in skipjack so we did some bottom fishing with a hunk of skipjack as bait.
image.jpg
 
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Mr. X

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Foxfish, are there any common British woods that are particularly good/bad for making a speargun.
I'm wondering if oak might be good - lots of tannin, traditionally used in ship building, strong & hard (once dry) but quite dense.
 

doyenofcastle

Well-Known Member
Oct 30, 2012
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UAE
Is that to help counteract any tendency of the wood to bend under different conditions?
I think Proper Dry +laminated or leave your lumber for long time till it reach the proper moisture content otherwise crack or wrap of the stock after sometimes in service
BTW if u glue lamination and u found out high moisture what to do
Leave it till dry and risk of cracks or seal the wet with epoxy to not allow any from scape ?

Sent from my SM-A320F using Tapatalk
 

foxfish

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Yes lots of English wood is suitable, Beach, Oak, Chestnut, Cherry, far to many to list.
As doyenofcastle, points out, well prepared and seasoned wood, is the important part.
How the wood has been cut & stored will make a lot of difference to the quality & usability.
Quarter sawn wood is premier but far more expensive than flat sawn.
I try to use all locale wood for all of my projects, I have quite a large stock of well seasoned quarter sawn, local hard wood and softwood.
 
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doyenofcastle

Well-Known Member
Oct 30, 2012
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UAE
Yes lots of English wood is suitable, Beach, Oak, Chestnut, Cherry, far to many to list.
As doyenofcastle, points out, well prepared and seasoned wood, is the important part.
How the wood has been cut & stored will make a lot of difference to the quality & usability.
Quarter sawn wood is premier but far more expensive than flat sawn.
I try to use all locale wood for all of my projects, I have quite a large stock of well seasoned quarter sawn, local hard wood and softwood.
what to do if u found out your wood after shaping it still have extra moisture?
 

foxfish

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I air dry all my wood for 2 years min, but wood will absorb moisture if it is exposed to it.
If you use three or more laminates glued up with apposing grain, then the chances of moisture effecting the piece in a negative way is unlikely.
However wood will move around, guitars make good examples of how wood is effected by humidity. If you are playing on wet cold day the guitar will need retuning compared to a dry hot day.
In fact the tuning can go off by moving from one room to another in the same house.
I don't think you can really prevent slight movement, just limit it.
 
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