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Closely related to the more well-known (in the US) Lemonwood, with both being members of the “Calycophyllum” genus, this unique South American wood is generally in short supply through US channels. Although it is not a true boxwood (of the “Buxus” genus), Castello Boxwood has a very similar pale yellow to light brown color palette and has proven popular in the domestic craft wood market, as it turns, glues and finishes well.
It has fair working properties; its grains are generally straight (although sometimes slightly interlocked). It has a fine, smooth texture, and is regarded as moderately durable.
Castello Boxwood is not an easy species to source in the US. It is slow-drying wood, and often sells in a green or partially-green state. It is a tough wood; its small, tightly-grouped pores can make boards somewhat resistant to being cut, despite its generally cooperative working characteristics. Trees do not grow to be large at all, so supplies are limited, and prices are generally reflective of this.
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A firm & stable hardwood, Aromatic Red Cedar is renowned for its durability, resistance to both rot and insects, and its wonderful, fresh, natural fragrance. With is bright pinkish red colors contrasting with a light, pale yellow base, the wood is rarely ever stained or painted. Another aesthetic trademark is the typical scores of knots which decorate its two-toned surface.
The wood is fine grained, although knots and silica content can complicate what is otherwise a fairly cooperative set of working properties. It glues and finishes well, although it is very common to leave this wood unfinished so not to squelch its antiseptic aroma.
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Coming from South-central United States, Osage Orange’s heartwood begins as a bright yellow, but darkens with age…
Osage Orange is highly durable and it turns well, but with its high density and hardness it can be difficult to work with.
It has an Argentinian relation, Maclura tinctoria, which comes in larger sizes and with less knots than the US species.
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Tulipwood is one of the most coveted and seldom-seen of all (Dalbergia genus) rosewood species. The trees are very small in stature, thus, obtaining long, wide boards is quite rare — and, when found undefective, sell at a premium. It is much more commonly found in smaller, craft-sized pieces. Finding any available boards in widths of 5″ or more is uncommon.
Its heartwood is cream to salmon colored, highlighted by striping which can be any combination of red, violet, purple, pink and rose hues. The sapwood is pale yellow to a very pale yellowish white. Heartwood color gradually fades with continued UV ray exposure.
Tulipwood is typically straight-grained, although grains can also be wavy or (infrequently) irregular. The wood has a high natural oil content and is quite dense, which makes working it an often-difficult prospect. Despite being rather grainy and pourous, it sands very smooth, revealing a pleasing natural luster.
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Wenge is unique among the world’s exotic woods. This tough tropical wood’s distinctive deep chocolate color — which can sometimes augmented by muted gold, orange, red or even burgundy tint — is actually known as “Wenge” in the color spectrum nomenclature of various parts of the world (with paint manufacturers, etc.). Its grains are generally straight (though sometimes wavy or irregular) and are accenuated by overlapping black lines which typically decorate the board’s surface.
While being considered a strong, durable wood, Wenge’s course, rugged texture makes it very splintery — making some craftsmen hesitant to use it. It can be difficult to work, although is glues well and is considered a very dimensionally stable species.
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