HA, I know exactly what you are talking about, my father-in-law is a bowyer (self-wood/long bows), and loves making things in general with wood. While he uses all kinds of woods, osage is his go-to wood for bow making. He recently got a connection with someone where he has the potential to get as much as he wants from someone's fence row.
He has used it for so many things that now it's a running joke that if something is broken he can fix it with osage.
You are right though, it is tough to work with, especially if you get wood from one of the slower growing trees, the growth rings are TIGHT on those jokers!
It is pretty cool how the color changes with age too, he has several bows ranging from a few weeks to 15+ years (i think) old all looking like they come from a different type of wood (based on the color).
Nice revolver BTW
Back to topic, knowing the density/durability and longevity of this wood I think I could use it as a frame in addition to glass supports, in my head I have it worked out to look nice as well as being functional.
and aside from time, it would be no cost to me, so it would keep the "upgrade" cost down considerably.
I Love/Hate that Wood. I believe it is the most dense North American Hardwood. I have in in the riser of two of my Recurve Bows and as grips for my S & W 325NG .45acp revolver.
I've made a few small hunting related items out of it. What a headache to work with. I think I actually dulled out a File on it.
I do like how it changes color over time too.