I will purchase any old lignum balls that are 4 3/4" and bigger. Please contact me.
The timber used to turn each pin is not loads of small off cuts glued together but a single piece of solid Sycamore (Acer pseudoplatanus) which is part of the maple family or Beech (Fagus sylvatica). The wood is locally sourced by English sawmills. There is no importing of this wood making its use very economical. I try my best to pick the closest grained material possible as this is the best quality wood and should last longer. The pins turned from it will be clean with practically no knots and certainly no splits. The colour of the sycamore may not be the classic creamy to off white as this is only the sapwood. There may be some bits with coloured heartwood as you can see in the picture which can vary from pale to dark brown but as this does not affect the function of the pins in any way and I will not discriminate just because of aesthetics. Beech is usually a pinkish pale brown. When it comes to manufacturing pins I readily take a practical approach by not polishing or varnishing too much something that is going to be beaten to within an inch of its life night after night. All my pins are sanded smooth and finished with a single coat of Danish oil just like the set seen here.
A set of 12"x5" Gloucester's in Sycamore and a set of 5 1/2" Argentine lignum vitae balls.
Lignum Vitae (Guaiacum officinale) is from Central America and has long been the traditional timber used, however this is now very rare and expensive so only use it when I can find an inexpensive source. I usually use Argentine Lignum (Bulnesia sarmientoi), also called Palo Santo or Verawood from Argentina and Paraguay. This has long been used as a substitute for the true lignum and has the same properties like weight, density and hardness but it is usually lighter in colour. It is in the same family as lignum (Zygophyllaceae) it’s just a different genus. When it’s freshly turned it is an olive brown that will turn green with exposure to U.V. light. More importantly Lignum Vitae is an endangered species and the timber industry needs to give it a rest to let its growth recover over the next hundred years or so. I do not want to fuel the fire of illegal logging which sadly still goes on by purchasing more of this already rare wood. Argentine lignum is currently more plentiful as it is only “conservation dependant” and not “endangered” like real lignum is. The stock I buy is responsibly harvested and legally imported specifically for making skittle balls as it’s only cut from branch material leaving the tree to continue growing.
Part of the process going from a cylinder to ball blank.
Lignum Vitae going from freshly turned olive brown to a beautiful dark green when exposed to light.