Making a Mexican Rosewood (Bocote) thumbstick handle.

I wanted to make a thumbstick handle from a rather pretty piece of Mexican Rosewood or Bocote as I usually call it.

I'd made one from American Walnut the day before to try out the process and was happy to go ahead with a much more expensive piece of wood.

It looked a bit ordinary but cutting the sides off to make a rectangular blank revealed what it was like inside, lovely.

I marked it out to the shape I wanted and drilled a small hole all the way through. This would allow me to centre it when I put it on the lathe to turn the thumb rest.

Drawing it out like this helps you get a picture of the final shape but it will always be down to what happens on the lathe in the end.

Putting a piece of timber in the lathe like this is not recommended and is not for the faint hearted! But it does save a lot of hand shaping in the end.Being a very hard wood I have put it in the lathe and hammered it onto the drive centre to make sure it grips well.I cut the waste off to save a lot of work and began to turn it into the shape I wanted.

I turned the spigot for the brass ferrule first the turned the rest of it to get the edges rounded and comfortable. In the lathe like this you can actually get a good hold on it and see how it's evolving.At this point you can also make sure the ferrule fits before taking it out of the lathe after giving it a careful sanding.

It will now need to go on the bandsaw to cut the middle out. This is a difficult process as I had to draw in the lines by eye before committing myself to the first cut. Once it's done it's done.

Cutting done, from now on it's about sanding and scraping.

One of my favourite tools is the stanley knife, not for cutting but for scraping and shaping. The blade needs to be razor sharp and will plane off "angel hair" shavings allowing you to slowly take away all of the harsh edges before sanding.

 When I was satisfied with the shape it was time for sanding to get it "bone smooth".

Putting it on a display stick shows it off quite well.

Then a coat of shellac sealer to bring the grain out to it's full splendour.

From a sawn blank to finished handle.

I hope you've enjoyed reading about how I made it. It will be on a stick soon.