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Observation of color modification by heat on cocobolo

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Here are findings from taking a piece of cocobolo from a piece I have and putting it in the oven at 350 degrees for an hour (was actually 1 hr, 17 minutes. As I had to take the dog out and he took forever). 

i got the idea of color modification from watching a video by The Snekker Show channel on YouTube from his experimentation using the same technique to purple heart. I did not use as many pieces  or variables as he did. I used 350 degrees at an hour as that seemed to give him his best results for that wood. 

I just used a single piece because cocobolo is super expensive here in San Antonio. The main piece I have was $12.81 +8.25% sales tax. The piece dimensions were 3” x .25” x 40”. That’s $60.00/bdft so making several pieces to experiment with was a no go.  

The idea posited by The Snekker Show is that some of these Highly colored exotic woods with a high oil content is that it is not light or air that is the basis for the color, but rather the oil itself. The application of heat allows the oil in the wood to spread fairly evenly throughout the piece and locks into the wood fibers vastly slowing the normal darkening to the typical browns we are used to seeing after a period of time.  My intrigue on this was heightened when the show displayed a few examples of heat modified Purple Heart that still had intense purple coloration after sitting in the guys shop for periods between 5-12 years. I am planning a project using bloodwood in the near future and am interested in using this technique to maintain the vibrant reds that species is known for.  My piece of bloodwood I have is not at my residence and I have no scrap to experiment with, but I had the piece of cocobolo, which is another colored wood with a high oil content, so that became my test object.  Apples to oranges to bananas I know, but hey all three are desired for their colors. All three have a relatively high oil content. All three are New World species of tree. All three are from areas closer to each other geographically than any other popular exotic woods used in making guitars.  Examples Wenge, Bubinga, and Paduak, Walnut, Ash, and Red Oak. Using any of these in the experiment would truly be using dissimilar lumber to observe. So this experiment is on to something and comparisons can actually be made using an educated hunch. So bear with me.  

The first image is my “control”. It’s the rest of the stick of cocobolo I own. The second set of three photos is the piece prior to baking. The next set of three are post oven. And the final two are after the modified piece is sanded from 320 grit sandpaper through 4000 grit abrasive mesh then had two light applications of Howard’s Feed and Wax with a final hand buff. 










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None of the images had any photogragimmickery done aside from simple cropping. They were all taken inside under the whitest light I have in the house (Kitchen). 

The baked piece I am going to leave out and displayed but kept from actual sunlight as much as possible. After a period of time I will take three more images to show any changes to the color. Health, or Projectguitardotcom longevity willing. 

Here is the piece on a wall shelf where you can compare it to other colors


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