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arthuritus 02-08-2012 04:16 PM

Heat resistant wood for tools
Hi all,

I'm having some troubles with the wooden handles on my tools (particularly the ash rake which doubles as a log-mover-rounderer) catching alight. I have a short metal sleeve to take the brunt of the heat but the wood chars/catches fire at both ends still.

Theres a few things I'm pondering that people might be able to help with:

1. Does soaking in water prevent charring without making the wood split?
2. Is there some heat resistant and non toxic varnish type stuff to use?
3. Are there better woods to use? I think my handle at the moment is pine. I also live in New Zealand so a lot of the North American woods are extremely pricey here.
4. Should I switch to an all metal handle for my ash rake thingy?

Thanks in advance

TropicalCoasting 02-08-2012 09:32 PM

Re: Heat resistant wood for tools
I dont know if you can get Australian Timbers in NZ but here is the list of the most fire proof.

An independent study conducted for the National Timber Development Council rated various timbers as follows:

Best performers
(classified for construction purposes as 'Fire-Retardant-Treated' timbers)

Merbau (Kwila)
Red Ironbark
River Red Gum
Silver Top Ash
Spotted Gum

Not so good performers

Forest Red Gum
Yellow Stringybark

Poorest performers in the test sample

Hoop Pine
Mountain Ash
Ironwood fire resistance & timber fire ratings

Les 02-08-2012 09:35 PM

Re: Heat resistant wood for tools
Why wouldn't you use metal? EMT pipe is dirt cheap and very easy to work with. It doesn't rust and obviously it can't burn.

arthuritus 02-09-2012 12:48 AM

Re: Heat resistant wood for tools
Well my ash rake just burnt through tonight so I'm thinking I'll try to bash fit the irregular shape of the hoe into some metal pipe, maybe emt like Les suggested. I prefer wood because I am not very skilled and its easier for me to get a respectable finish with wood compared to metal.

@ Doug and TropicalCoasting, all of the suppliers I've found with a google search so far only describe their product as 'hardwood' unless its a NZ native. I guess tomorrow's job will be trying to find the nz equivalent of what Tropical posted above (couldn't find it just now), or clearing up some of the ambiguity of the generic hardwood descriptions. It would seem from tropicals post that not all hardwoods are created equal as far as fire resistance is concerned.

Awesome build by the way Doug, I was looking at that a couple of weeks ago and I was very impressed even at the quality of the disposables you made, like the wooden arch support and plinth for base slab etc. Not to mention the oven itself. Or the food that comes out of it.

So yeah, tomorrow will be a trip to the scrap metal yard and some time on the phone learning about wood = )

arthuritus 02-09-2012 03:37 PM

Re: Heat resistant wood for tools
I managed to find a company not far from me that could do 30mm kwila for $11 per meter. I'm very happy because I would have been willing to pay more and drive further for inferior wood.
Now I need to find a source of tung oil, it seems to be one of those things that is ridiculously expensive when you're not buying by the truckload.

arthuritus 02-09-2012 05:05 PM

Re: Heat resistant wood for tools
Ok, I will consider using another type of oil if I can't find any at a reasonable price. I'll ask the guys I'm picking the dowel up from next week about where to buy tung from, they should be able to help me.
Also, do you use pure/unmodified oil (apparently 'honey-like consistency') or a blend?

Dmendo 02-09-2012 06:49 PM

Re: Heat resistant wood for tools
Hi all.
It's curious but when reading this thread this morning for first time i wondered if it was possible to find out any kind of "fireproof" wood. Casually (collateral effects of the WFO virus wich keep me searching strange readings), tonight i'm reading an ancient roman architecture book written by Vitruvius (1st. centrury BC). In his second book tells about a fortress (Larigno) build with a strange wood that "the divine Caesar" was unable to attack firing it as it seemed to be unburnable. That was made of Larch that grew in the river Po surroundings and the Adriatic sea area proximity. He says that this amazing wood is inmune to the attack by woodworm and moth and is so heavy that it don't floats in water.
Maybe is the kind of wood that a good pizza oven tool deserves... :)

Regarding varnishes: there are epoxi varnishes (food grade) that holds heat very well, as I remember around 350șC, but not the long time direct flame. Although I remember how hard was to burn out the painted holding hooks in a epoxi steel painting facility.
By the way, if anybody interested in the book there is an english translation free pdf:
Ten Books on Architecture by Vitruvius - Free eBook
The tale appears in the page 45

arthuritus 02-09-2012 10:13 PM

Re: Heat resistant wood for tools
In Japan, they used to protect their timber from fire by setting it on fire.

arthuritus 02-09-2012 10:37 PM

Re: Heat resistant wood for tools
The connection being, charring it makes it black and fire resistant. I wonder if thats what the guys did to make their fortress. I don't know of any European woods being naturally black.

TropicalCoasting 02-09-2012 11:51 PM

Re: Heat resistant wood for tools
you could try borax
I know they put it in minced newspapers they blow into your ceiling for insulation

How to Fireproof With Borax |

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