Hard does not begin to describe this wood. When I first tried to machine Marblewood and snapped off a 1/4 carbide end mill, I rewrote my tooling path to be a bit kinder to my end mill as those things are expensive. Since then I haven’t broken a single end mill. That is until the day I tried to make the first set of Snakewood dice. Even with the kinder gentler tooling path it snapped the bit in two.
Not only is Snakewood hard, it is also rare (and it smells like a dairy barn in a hot Texas summer when fresh cut). Much like Texas Ebony it grows in a small shrub like tree that isn’t very useful for making much of anything so it tends not to be harvested except in small sizes suitable for turning projects and the like.
As you can already tell Snakewood gets its name from the snake like markings it bears. Typically Snakewood is a deep red with black markings. This particular piece is lighter than normal and tends toward the orange end of the spectrum. Snakewood grows in the northern reaches of South America and is a cousin of Bloodwood. They are both super dense woods ranking in the top 10 densest woods of the world.