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Afrormosia

Native to West Africa, Afrormosia is a handsome, rot and bug resistant, extremely durable wood has been used as a substitute for Teak (Tectona grandis), thus earning its nickname, “African Teak”. While having a similar look, it also has working and mechanical properties that mimic Teak, whilst having none of its oiliness. (Afrormosia has a well-established track record for holding up in the most extreme conditions, proving the comparisons well justified.) Its heartwood color can be a muted tan, muted gold or any of a series of light- to medium-colored browns (from very muted to slightly, in hue), highlight by darker stripes, of varying degrees and coloration, which can run the length of its typically straight or wavy (though sometimes interlocked). Despite its similar “fuzzy” appearance (to that of Teak), it is fine grained, presenting a superb natural luster when sanded. Over time, the wood will darken, rendering an appearance often more like that of Black Walnut than of Teak. Despite being considerably harder than Teak, Afrormosia is generally very workable, offering crisp joints and it turns, glues and finishes very well.

Common Uses:
boatbuilding, cabinetry, flooring, furniture, turnings, veneer
Detail
Common Uses
afrormosia
Alder

Considered to be the most abundant hardwood in the Pacific Northwest region of the United States, Red Alder has long been used in the region for furniture and cabinetry production — as well as being a popular choice for electric guitar bodies dating back to when the instrument first went into mass production, in the 1950’s. Ranging in color from a light tan to reddish brown, Alder has a soft, lightweight stature — which makes the wood very easy to work, and it finishes and glues well.

Red Alder is usually sold in two different grades: knotty, and clear. Clear grades are most desired by cabinet and furniture crafters. Many such tradesmen compare the wood’s cooperative disposition to that of Black Cherry.

Although technically a hardwood, care must be taken with Alder until finished as its surface can be rather soft (thus, denting easily). The wood is decidedly non-durable, so confining its use to indoor applications and treating the wood with some type of hardening finish (such as lacquer) is recommended.

Common Uses:
cabinetry, lutherie, millwork, musical Instruments
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Common Uses
alder
Andiroba

Andiroba is used as both a Mahogany substitute and a general utility carpentry wood throughout its indigenous regions that are scattered across Central & South America. It is widely used for furniture and flooring in it’s native geographical areas. Andiroba is generally easy to work, and the species turns, glues and finishes well. This pale reddish-brown colored lumber is a durable wood — similar to Honduran Mahogany, in that regard. Aesthetically, its typically more on the bland side (compared to a Mahogany), although more desirable examples of the species can be quite highly-figured.

Grains are typically straight, although they can be wavy or interlocked, and the wood is fine textured and has a good natural luster.

Common Uses:
boatbuilding, cabinetry, flooring, furniture, turnings, veneer
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Common Uses
andiroba
Anegre

Indigenous to the tropical regions of East Africa and West Africa, as far south as Angola.¬† Anegre has been used primarily as an interior wood; it is decidedly non-durable, and thus not recommended for outdoor applications. The wood’s aesthetics can vary greatly, as Anegre is comprised of three separate species within the Pouteria genus. Its colors can range from pale yellowish to orangish-brown wood, to a pale pinkish-brown, sometimes with additional highlight coloration. Anegre typically darkens to a golden-to reddish brown over time, with repeated UV ray exposure. The heartwood and sapwood of Anegre are usually not distinguishable from each other.

Anegre has a medium texture with closed pores similar to Maple.  The species is easy to work with both hand and power tools.
Examples can be quite beautiful — and sometimes stunning, with curly and mottled figuring being not uncommon. Its hues tend to be generally pastel in nature, so it makes a very complimentary, aesthetically unimposing wood for a variety of interior applications. Grains are typically straight but can occasionally be interlocked. Its texture is medium and it has a nice natural luster.

Common Uses:
boatbuilding, cabinetry, carpentry, construction, veneer
Detail
Common Uses
anegre
Avodire

Avodire is native to West Africa and is sometimes utilized as a Mahogany substitute (which is appropriate, since both are in the Meliaceae family), with similar aesthetics and cooperative working properties. Typical colors range from a pale yellow to cream, and a variety of figured grain patterns are commonly found including wavy, mottled and ripple, typically accompanied by dramatic levels of chatoyance – which makes it very popular with veneer manufacturers. It’s sapwood can be difficult to differentiate from the heartwood. While its grain patterns can be straight, wavy, irregular or interlocked, its texture is fine and it has an impressive natural luster which has led to it being called African Satinwood.

 

Common Uses:
cabinetry, furniture, veneer
Detail
Common Uses
avodire
Beech - European

Like American Beech, this wood features pale cream coloration, also often augmented by a pink or muted light reddish-brown hue. It’s large supply across the continent and typically modest price range makes it one of the most popular and commercially important hardwoods in Europe. Its straight grains and medium texture give comparable working and steam-bending properties to its American first cousin and it machines, turns, glues and finishes with ease.

Common Uses:
boatbuilding, cabinetry, flooring, furniture, musical Instruments, turnings, veneer
Detail
Common Uses
beech-european
Berlinia

Known in the US, primarily as either “Ebiara” or, its nickname, “Red Zebrawood,” Berlinia’s heartwood can range anywhere from a pale yellow to a (more typical) muted reddish-brown. Darker colored stripes in patterns (which can be symmetrical or irregular) are how the comparisons to Zebrano are drawn, although they are related: each of their respective genera are part of the Detarieae tribe, in the subfamily, Caesalpinioideae.

Grains are general straight or interlocked. Although its texture is medium to coarse, it has a high degree of natural luster and can display figure and chatoyance. It works well — cutting, turning, gluing and finishing smoothly — although tear-out with interlocked grains is not uncommon.

Common Uses:
cabinetry, furniture, specialty items, turnings, veneer
Detail
Common Uses
berlinia
Birch - Yellow

Heartwood can vary from pale yellow to a light, muted reddish brown; sapwood is grayish-white. There are many species of Birch, worldwide; it is one of the most popular woods, ironically, for both veneer and utility applications. Figured pieces are the more desirable for veneer, with wide, dramatic curly figuring (similar to Cherry) decorating the surface.

American Birch works easily — it turns, glues and finishes well — although most boards have very little natural luster. It’s a versatile wood that can be used for a number of different applications, but it needs to be protected, as the wood will decay when exposed to the elements. (… and if left unprotected will rot.)

Common Uses:
boxmaking, cabinetry, crafting, flooring, furniture
Detail
Common Uses
birch-yellow
Blackwood - Acacia

A close cousin to Hawaii’s coveted Koa, Australian Blackwood is growing in popularity as it becomes more known in both guitar and furniture-building circles. Its name is misleading, as there are no black hues ever seen in its grains. Highly-figured lumber is not uncommon, nor are pieces with a shimmering chatoyance, reminiscent of Koa. Hardwood colors can range from a light golden brown to various dark shades of brown; streak and highlights of various differing colors is not uncommon. Sap colors can range from tan to a dull light gray, and is clearly demarcated. Its grains can range from straight to wavy to interlocked, and its texture is typically fine, with an impressive natural luster.

Other than the occasional tear-out, issues associated with lumber with interlocking grains, the wood is very easily worked. It turns, glues, and finishes well. Australian Blackwood also bends easily, which combined with its toughness and durability,  has made it an historically popular wood in Australia for boat building.

Common Uses:
boatbuilding, cabinetry, furniture, gun stocks, specialty items, turnings, veneer
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Common Uses
blackwood-acacia
Bocote

With colors ranging from its typically golden brown base, to its dark brown and black striped accents, the surface of Bocote is perhaps best known for the many tiny “eyes” adorning the grain patterns of the highly-decorated, more visually stunning examples of the species. (These eyes are not to be confused with knots, as they pose no issues when machining.) The striking aesthetics that higher-grade pieces possess, make this wood coveted among furniture and cabinet craftsmen, as well as both acoustic and electric guitar luthiers.

Common Uses:
boatbuilding, cabinetry, fine furniture, flooring, gun stocks, specialty items, turnings, veneer
Detail
Common Uses
bocote
Boire

Boire is known throughout Africa to be a tough, durable wood, despite it’s Maple-like density. It is reputed to remain smooth under friction, which makes it ideally suited for its primary use in flooring. The sapwood of Boire is pale brown in color; its heartwood is typically medium brown to bronze, with dark streaks (and sometimes other hues, such as oranges and yellows, intermingled). The species has interlocked grain, and fine and uniform in texture. Other than the tear-out commonly associated with interlocking grains, the wood has good working properties.

Common Uses:
cabinetry, construction, flooring, furniture, gun stocks, joinery, veneer
Detail
Common Uses
boire
Bubinga

As most of you already know, this is an extremely popular African import. Found across equatorial Africa, there are multiple species of the Guibourtia genus that are known as Bubinga, so colors and aesthetics can vary dramatically. A variety of different, quite stunning figures often decorate its grains (pommelle, waterfall, mottled and wildly flamed). The base color of Bubinga can range from a lighter pinkish red to light- to medium-brown. Trees can grow to towering proportions, so the larger specimens are often cut into large, live-edge slabs.

Bubinga is well known for its use as a Rosewood substitute. Ironically, the more strikingly figured examples of Bubinga with pommelle or waterfall figuring can fetch prices greatly eclipsing typical rosewood price thresholds. This wood has become hugely popular and is constantly in demand with veneer mills & furniture craftsmen who love building desks and conference tables with the often stunning, huge slabs and progressive guitar luthiers.

Its nickname, “African Rosewood,” can be very misleading, as the wood is not of the Dalbergia species, and not all wood sold as “African Rosewood” is Bubinga (or is even of the Guibourtia species).

Common Uses:
cabinetry, fine furniture, inlay, specialty items, turnings, veneer
Detail
Common Uses
bubinga
Cedar - Spanish

Not a true cedar (of the Cedra genus), Spanish Cedar is actually more closely related to true mahoganies, as all are in the Meliaceae family. Weight, Density and mechanical properties can vary, depending on climate and conditions. Most of what is made available to the US market is plantation-grown, which produces wood that is lower in density, and paler in color than that cut from trees grown in forests. Its grains are straight and its texture is fine; combined with its modest hardness and density, the wood is very easy to work, and glues and finishes well.

Common Uses:
boatbuilding, cabinetry, humidors, musical Instruments, veneer
Detail
Common Uses
cedar-spanish
Cerejeira

Cerejira is an important wood in the dry portions of central and southern South America. It is noted for its beauty, durability, strength and stability, thus making this tough, versatile wood ideal for a wide variety of applications. Left undisturbed, trees can grow to towering dimensions — producing valuable, coveted slabs which are renowned for their incredibly detailed, almost 3D-like crotch sections.

Common Uses:
cabinetry, construction, furniture, veneer
Detail
Common Uses
cerejeira
Cerejeira - Crotch

Cerejira is an important wood in the dry portions of central and southern South America. It is noted for its beauty, durability, strength and stability, thus making this tough, versatile wood ideal for a variety of applications. Left undisturbed, trees can grow to towering dimensions — producing valuable, coveted slabs which are renowned for their incredibly detailed, 3D-like crotch sections.

Common Uses:
cabinetry, construction, furniture, veneer
Detail
Common Uses
cerejeira-crotch
Chechen

Although not a true Dalbergia rosewood, this beautiful, quite versatile wood holds many similarities. Chechen can be visually stunning — with green, red, orange and gold hues (and brown & black lines) adorning its luxurious medium-brown bases, and occasional figuring which can range from subtle to quite dramatic. The wood has become increasingly more popular with veneer manufacturers, furniture craftsmen and guitar luthiers over the course of the last two decades, as it is a very durable, easy-to-work and -finish wood that is moderately priced for an exotic import.

Common Uses:
cabinetry, flooring, furniture, specialty items, turnings, veneer
Detail
Common Uses
chechen
Cherry - American

Black Cherry is an important domestic hardwood, long associated with fine furniture and a favorite of many master craftsmen. When freshly cut, the wood has a tan to light brown color with a pink or red tint. The dark reddish-brown (russet) color it exhibits after aging is often imitated through the use of stains on other woods. The sapwood is pale yellow colored. Grains can be straight or irregular; combined with its moderate density, this makes the wood easily workable. The most desired examples are of the curly-figured variety, which can be bold and quite dramatic.

Common Uses:
cabinetry, fine furniture, flooring, millwork, specialty items, turnings, veneer
Detail
Common Uses
cherry-american
Cherry - American Curly

The beautifully figured version of American/Black Cherry.

Black Cherry is an important domestic hardwood, long associated with fine furniture and a favorite of many master craftsmen. When freshly cut, the wood has a tan to light brown color with a pink or red tint. The dark reddish-brown (russet) color that it exhibits after aging is often imitated through the use of stains on other woods. The sap is pale yellow colored. Grains can be straight or irregular; combined with its moderate density, this makes the wood easily workable. The most desired examples are of the curly-figured variety, which can be bold and quite dramatic.

Common Uses:
cabinetry, fine furniture, flooring, millwork, specialty items, turnings, veneer
Detail
Common Uses
cherry-american-curly
Cumaru

Cumaru or Brazilian Teak is golden brown in color. It is extremely stiff, strong, hard and highly durable and can be an excellent substitute for Ipe for decking due to superb durability and weathering properties. It can be difficult to work due to its density and interlocked grain.

Common Uses:
cabinetry, decking, flooring, furniture
Detail
Common Uses
cumaru
Ebony - Black & White

More commonly known as “Pale Moon Ebony” to US guitar luthiers and aficionados, this Southeast Asian true Diospyros ebony is, without question, the world’s most difficult, perplexing exotic wood and at times, one of its most visually stunning. (It’s also one of its most sought-after.) The wood is known for the bold jet black ink lines which adorn its creamy, pale yellow base. Both the volume and pattern of its lines are unpredictable, varying greatly from piece to piece. Grains can be straight, wavy or irregular; its texture is fine, with a nice natural luster. Its hardness and density are quite moderate for an ebony.

After being harvested or re-sawn, the wood exhibits a strong tendency to self-destruct — often changing shape, cracking and checking — if not quickly coated in wax. Although it’s not currently viewed as endangered, the wood has always been in short supply in the US, despite an unquenchable demand from custom guitar builders and wood enthusiasts, alike. Other than the difficulties in drying, it has good working properties; it machines, turns, glues and finishes well.

Because of its noted self-destructive tendencies, the wood is coated in wax almost immediately after being harvested. Given this, what little makes it to the US market arrives with very high moisture levels, necessitating further drying. (This is where it gets tricky.) Experience has shown that the best drying results are obtained by leaving the wood coated in wax and just patiently allowing it to air dry. Any attempts to speed up this process are very risky as the wood usually winds up punishing the impatient! Even when dried very slowly, the wood can still change shape. It’s not unusual, at all, to find pieces with major surface checks and cracks that occur even while under wax. For this reason, you see significantly more craft-sized pieces than larger, resawable boards (which typically command a premium price). Recutting boards will speed up the drying process, but attentive care must be taken to prevent warpage of the cut pieces. Importation to the US has been through very limited, select channels on an irregular basis for a number of years.

This wood is most always in short supply, while the demand remains constant. Rare Woods USA is very pleased to be able to offer a limited amount of larger boards and billets of this spectacular exotic wood. Lumber orders to Southeast Asia can sometimes take 12 to 18 months or more to fill, ship and receive. With the recent banning of rosewood and ebony exportation by the Laotian government, we’re not sure how soon we’ll be able to restock (if at all). For the last several years, US importation of Black & White Ebony has been exclusively from Laos.

Common Uses:
cabinetry, carving, furniture, inlay, lutherie, specialty items, trim, turnings
Detail
Common Uses
ebony-black-white
Ebony - Macassar

Macassar Ebony is known for its typically striped appearance, with usual colors typically dominated by deep browns although green, yellow, burgundy, red, orange and even peach secondary colors can highlight more spectacular pieces. Sapwood can range from a dull tan to a light golden brown, or sometimes even a muted orange, peach or light pink. In addition to its constant demand with veneer mills, it is highly-prized by guitar luthiers. Its great density gives the wood tremendous resonance, making it ideally suited for acoustic guitar back-and-sides or fretboards.

Macassar Ebony is noted for its striped appearance, although finding long, consistent grain patterns can be difficult on longer pieces. Usually its stripes are fairly large and bold — often with twists and overlaps — although occasionally (more desirable) pieces with fine, tight-knit, consistent striping can be found.

Like many woods of comparable density, it can be difficult to work and hard on blades, but that is of little concern to those who have experience with this regal ebony species. Southeast Asia produces some astounding exotics; Macassar Ebony is, most certainly, one of its renowned, trademark species.

Common Uses:
cabinetry, crafting, pool cues, specialty items, turnings, veneer
Detail
Common Uses
ebony-macassar
Goncalo Alves

Goncalo Alves is known at least as commonly by its popular nickname, “Tigerwood” — given for its orange-hued primary color, and the dark striped (black or dark brown) which often decorates its surface. Its great durability, impressive strength, stiffness and hardness, generally cooperative working properties (although it can be difficult to glue, due to a high natural oil content), large tree sizes — which yield sizable boards — and regular supply, are factors which contribute to making Goncalo Alves a very popular choice among Central & South American woods made available to domestic markets in the US.

Grains can be wavy, interlocked or sometimes straight; its texture is fine, with a good natural luster.

Common Uses:
cabinetry, carving, flooring, furniture, lutherie, specialty items, turnings, veneer
Detail
Common Uses
goncalo-alves
Imbuia

Although its nickname is “Brazilian Walnut,” Imbuia bears little aesthetic resemblance to any members of the Juglans (true walnut) genus beyond its typical brownish colors. Grain patterns are generally wild and unpredictable, and occasional sap content can create a rather stunning contrast, with its rich, (typically) pale to medium muted golden hues. Although published data would leave on to surmise that it shares a very similar density with that of walnut (which it often does), Imbuia can be significantly more dense, at times, depending on growing conditions

Common Uses:
boatbuilding, cabinetry, flooring, furniture, gun stocks, turnings, veneer
Detail
Common Uses
imbuia
Iroko

Iroko is a very tough, durable wood that has been traditionally used in a multitude of applications in its native Africa. Its golden to medium brown color, course texture and interlocked grains give it an appearance very similar to that of Teak; although it is significantly less dense, it has been utilized in Africa in many of the same functions / duties that Teak has in other parts of the world. Despite its toughness (and interlocked grains), it is generally not difficult to work; it glues and finishes well.

Common Uses:
boatbuilding, cabinetry, construction, flooring, furniture, specialty items, turnings, utility lumber, veneer
Detail
Common Uses
iroko
Jatoba

Jatoba earned its nickname — “Brazilian Cherry” — from flooring manufacturers, as its natural color can often resemble the look of aged Cherry wood (medium to dark reddish-brown). Its resistance to rot and bug damage and excellent strength-to-weight ratio make it suitable for a variety of indoor and outdoor applications, although its density and typically interlocked grains can make it difficult to work and hard on blades.

Common Uses:
boatbuilding, cabinetry, flooring, furniture, handles, specialty items, turnings
Detail
Common Uses
jatoba
Leopardwood

Leopardwood is so named for the tightly-grouped flecks which cover its surface. It is almost exclusively quartersawn, which displays its dramatic flecking in leopard-spot-like patterns (thus, the name). It is medium to dark, reddish brown in color. . Prior to being sanded, the flecked portion’s slightly elevated positioning on the wood’s surface gives it a true 3D look. It is fairly difficult to work and it’s uneven texture can cause tearout issues when boards are planed.

Common Uses:
cabinetry, fine furniture, turnings, veneer
Detail
Common Uses
leopardwood
Longhi

Longhi is an African wood with similar working properties to its more well-known cousin, Anegre. Its color varies from a greyish-white to beige to pinkish-brown color, which slightly darkens with age and UV-ray exposure. Its generally light appearance makes sapwood difficult to distinguish. Its grains are typical straight (though occasionally interlocked) and its texture ranges between fine and medium-fine. It can sometimes possess mottled or subtle tiger-striped figuring.

The wood must be carefully dried, as it is susceptible to fungus. It is considered to be moderately durable, and moderately stable. Longhi has a solid strength-to-weight ratio, which makes it a popular choice for flooring and decking.

Common Uses:
cabinetry, decking, flooring, furniture
Detail
Common Uses
longhi
Louro Preto

Louro Preto is closely related to Bocote and Ziricote, also being a Central / South American wood whose species are in the Cordia genus. Its heartwood is typically a medium brown color, with both red and green tints common. The sap is easily discerned, being of a pale coloration with a base that’s usually a muted yellowish hue. The wood is known to darken, considerably, with repeated UV-ray exposure. Compared with either of its aforementioned Cordia counterparts, Louro Preto is generally pretty tame in its grain patterns (which are usually either straight-grained or somewhat irregular).

It has a texture that ranges from fine to medium, and has the impressive natural luster associated with the genus.

Despite also sharing their propensity for high natural oil content, the wood usually glues well. It is known to be easy to work, although some examples may contain varying amounts of silica.

Common Uses:
cabinetry, furniture, turnings, veneer
Detail
Common Uses
louro-preto
Mahogany - Brazilian

Known in the US primarily as “Genuine Mahogany,” Swietenia Macrophylla, its scientific name, is what most in the exotic lumber industry consider to be the true species when referring to “Mahogany.” Historically, it has been a very economically important wood throughout the Latin America region. Its color can range from a pale pink to a light to medium reddish-brown, and it is renowned for its chatoyance. Grains vary; although generally straight, they can be interlocked, irregular or wavy, also. Its texture is fine and uniform, with a rich natural luster.

Lumber which originates from the wood’s indigenous natural regions is considered to be significantly more durable and stable than its plantation-grown counterparts.

Common Uses:
boatbuilding, cabinetry, carving, furniture, turnings, veneer
Detail
Common Uses
mahogany-brazilian
Makore

Makore is a beautiful African wood which is renowned for its great strength and durability, despite being of a moderate density. Its heartwood can range from pink to a light to medium reddish-brown, with its yellow sapwood be clearly discerible, when present. Figuring is not unusual, with striped, mottled and sometimes even beeswing being found in quartersawn boards. It is typically straight-grained and easy to work, although grain patterns can occasionally be wavy or interlocked. Although it can have a dulling effect on saw blades, its high silica content contributes to its fine natural luster and poses no real issues with gluing or finishing.

Common Uses:
boatbuilding, cabinetry, flooring, furniture, specialty items, turnings, utility lumber, veneer
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Common Uses
makore
Maple - Birdseye

Birdseye Maple is another title which does not, necessarily, denote a specific Acer species — although the bulk of what is sold is Sugar Maple (Acer Saccharum) — but, rather, a unique figuring that occurs in maple as a result of numerous small- to medium-sized knots accumulating in the wood. It remains one of the most coveted and sought-after of all figured maple varieties.

Although it has never been scientifically proven, the prevailing school of thought is that the figuring is reportedly caused by unfavorable growing conditions. As the tree attempts to access more sunlight, buds begin to sprout in its trunk — to try and grow more branches, to access more light — but the tree lacks the requisite nutrients to support the growth and the new shoots are aborted, resulting in “birdseyes” (small knots) embedded in the tree’s wood.

Common Uses:
cabinetry, furniture, lutherie, specialty items, veneer
Detail
Common Uses
maple-birdseye
Maple - Hard

Maple is the only American wood species harvested primarily for its sapwood, rather than heartwood. Since the beginning of mass commercial production of the electric guitar, in the early 1950’s, Hard Maple has remained a pivotal lumber in the industry. It comes in a variety of figures — including Birdseye and Tiger Maple figurings — and its soft pale white to pale yellow complexion is sometimes augmented by light blue, red or pinkish tints and highlights, with a marvelous luster and often a luxurious sheen.

Its excellent strength-to-weight ratio, handsome looks, easy workability and steady supply has cemented Maple as a part of both American industry and culture. Despite its ready availability, premium-grade boards always command high prices and remain in constant demand, worldwide.

Common Uses:
cabinetry, carving, flooring, furniture, turnings, veneer
Detail
Common Uses
maple-hard
Maple - Spalted

Spalted Maple doesn’t denote a species, but can be any member of the Acer genus that has black lines and/or streaks in the lumber caused by slight decay and a fungus in the wood.

Maple is the only American wood species harvested primarily for its sapwood, rather than heartwood. Since the beginnin of mass commercial production of the electric guitar, in the early 1950’s, Hard Maple has remained a pivotal lumber in the industry. It comes in a variety of figures — including Birdseye and Tiger Maple figurings — and its soft pale white to pale yellow complexion is sometimes augmented by light blue, red or pinkish tints and highlights, with a marvelous luster and often a luxurious sheen.

Its excellent strength-to-weight ratio, handsome looks, easy workability and steady supply has cemented Maple as a part of both American industry and culture. Despite its ready availability, premium-grade boards always command high prices and remain in constant demand, worldwide.

Common Uses:
cabinetry, carving, flooring, furniture, specialty items, turnings, veneer
Detail
Common Uses
maple-spalted
Marblewood

Marblewood tree is known for the highly distinctive stripes, ranging in color from dark brown, to even purple or black. While the sapwood is usually bears the same distinctively pale yellow color as the heartwood, only the heartwood features the trademark striping, which makes the wood so appealing to turners. The striping is random and irregular; no two patterns are ever alike. The wood is heavy and dense, making it well suited for applications where strength and durability are key — such as flooring and furniture.

The wood can prove difficult to work, on account of its density and sometimes interlocked graining. Marblewood is also known for its high natural resin content; proper, complete kiln drying is essential for applications which involve finishing.

Common Uses:
cabinetry, carving, flooring, furniture, turnings, utility lumber, veneer
Detail
Common Uses
marblewood
Morado

Morado is known by many names.¬† Pau Ferro, Bolivian Rosewood and Morado are the most common.¬† ¬†The wood earned its “… Rosewood” nicknames (by which it is commonly known) because its colors and density are similar, which its medium brown base typically augmented by black streaks or grain lines, and sometimes even purple, tan and golden secondary hues, and sometimes a purplish tint, overall. Although it can have varying grains, straight-grained pieces are generally very easy to work, and the wood turns smoothly and finishes well. It is considered quite durable, although it can be subject to insect attack.

Common Uses:
cabinetry, flooring, furniture, lutherie, musical Instruments, specialty items, turnings, veneer
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Common Uses
morado
Nogal

Nogal — also commonly known as “Peruvian Walnut” — is a dark chocolate-colored walnut which often contains black lines and streaks and can sometimes be tinted (in this case, usually purple, when found). Not unlike its American cousin, Black Walnut, it typically has straight grain patterns (which can also occasionally be irregular), a medium to course texture and a good natural luster.

Despite these aesthetic similarities, it is much less common to find figuring in Nogal than in Black Walnut. It is generally considered very easy to work, stain, finish and glue, although irregular-grained boards can experience tearout issues when planed.

Common Uses:
cabinetry, flooring, furniture, veneer
Detail
Common Uses
nogal
Oak - Red

Red Oak has a light brown heartwood color, with a reddish tint. Due to its basically light coloration, it is not always that easy to distinguish its sap from its heart. Like its many cousins, quartersawn examples display varying amounts of its renowned “ray fleck” patterns. Grains are typically straight, but with a coarse texture and large, open pores. The wood works, finishes and glues well. Its impressive strength, hardness and moderate price have made it a popular choice with furniture builders and cabinet makers.

Common Uses:
cabinetry, flooring, furniture, handles, utility lumber, veneer
Detail
Common Uses
oak-red
Oak - Silky

Silky Oak is not a true Quercus-genus species, although it can exhibit a similar appearance; it is renowned for its dense “rays” and sometime flecked figuring. (Quartersawn pieces can be very dramatic.) It has a light to medium reddish-brown hue, with contrasting rays that are slightly darker can range anywhere from a muted brown to gray color. Despite being more durable than any American oak species, its draw is its aesthetic qualities. Because of its course texture — with quartersawn surfaces being littered with Lacewood-like flecks — Silky Oak can prove to difficult to plane. Once you’re passed that, it is generally easy to work, and glues and finishes well.

Common Uses:
cabinetry, fine furniture, specialty items, turnings, veneer
Detail
Common Uses
oak-silky
Oak - Slavonian

This is an oak hardwood species not often seen or found in great abundance outside of Western & Southwestern Europe. It is perhaps best noted for its use in the manufacture of wine barrels; the wood is said to have a mellowing effect on the taste and texture of wines which are aged in the barrels. (It is an historical favorite among Italian wine producers.) Its heartwood is a light to medium brown, sometimes with a greenish hue. Its grains are generally straight (although sometimes interlocked or irregular), but its texture is coarse and uneven.

Like many other oaks, quartersawn pieces will typically display fleck ray patterns. Although not as dense as White Oak, it is also very responsive to steam bending, and is a tough durable wood. It, too, is easy to work, and glues, stains and finishes well.

Common Uses:
boatbuilding, cabinetry, flooring, furniture, veneer, wine barrels
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Common Uses
oak-slavonian
Oak - White

White Oak has long been considered one of the preeminent hardwoods of Central & Eastern America. The trees commonly live for hundreds of years, if left undisturbed. The color of the heartwood can vary from a light golden tan to a light to medium brown. The grains are straight. Quartersawn examples often display the “fleck” figuring patterns for which oaks are known. Its renowned toughness and durability has seen White Oak used in boat building for centuries, as it also responds well to steam bending. Despite its large pores and generally coarse surface, the wood works, glues and holds a stain and/or a finish very well.

The White Oak is the most durable of the oak subgroups; however, because of its high shrinkage rates, dimensional stability can be a challenge.  Although it is commonly offered in both flatsawn and quartersawn boards, most stable results are always obtained by using quartersawn stock.

Specimens have been documented to reach ages of more 450 years old; while one, still living (in Basking Ridge, NJ), estimated to be over 600 years old.

It should be noted that all Quercus-genus (true oak) hardwoods have been known to discolor when left in contact with iron.

Common Uses:
boatbuilding, cabinetry, carpentry, flooring, furniture, veneer, wine barrels
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Common Uses
oak-white
Osage Orange - Argentine

This South American species is closely related to the domestic Osage Orange.  The lumber it yields is typically a bit cleaner with less defects.  It is pretty hard and dense making it tough on tools, but it turns and finishes well.

Common Uses:
boxmaking, cabinetry, carving, crafting, inlay, specialty items
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Common Uses
osage-orange-argentine
Pau Ferro

There are a few different types of wood which are known as Pau Ferro: the most common one is also known as Bolivian Rosewood, and Morado.  This one (also known as Pau Rosa), however, comes from Southern Africa.  It is hard and heavy, but can present itself with beautiful colors Рreds, oranges and yellows.

It turns and finishes well, but the grain is fairly porous.

Common Uses:
cabinetry, flooring, furniture, specialty items, turnings, veneer
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Common Uses
pau-ferro
Pau Marfim

Pau Marfim is a dense, fine textured, mostly straight grained hardwood which is generally a creamy white colorm but it can vary from a lemon color to a pale yellowish-brown, also. There is very little contrast between its sapwood and heartwood, although the heartwood can be decorated with darker streaks, occasionally. It is an extremely tough, durable wood, which has seen it utilized as a popular substitute for maple and birch and makes it an ideal choice for anything from flooring to tool handles.

The wood turns excellently, and it is easy to nail, crew or glue. It polishes to a smooth, fine finish, and is considered to be a very dimensionally stable wood.

Common Uses:
cabinetry, canoes, carving, flooring, furniture, handles, oars, paneling, specialty items, turnings, veneer
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Common Uses
pau-marfim
Pear - Swiss

Historically, an important domestic hardwood throughout Europe, Swiss Pear is known for its fine, straight grains and smooth, consistent texture, as well as its pink coloration (which naturally ranges from pale to light to medium). Once cut, the wood’s hues intensify as it oxidizes. Swiss Pear is commonly steamed, to provide a more smooth, consistent pink color, and to relieve stress within the wood, so it dries flat.

Its easy, cooperative working properties combined with its consistent texture and color make it loved by craftsmen, carvers and turners, alike. It is highly regarded all over Europe, and considered by many to be the region’s finest hardwood, boasting properties similar to rosewood.

Common Uses:
cabinetry, carving, furniture, inlay, millwork, musical Instruments, turnings, veneer
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Common Uses
pear-swiss
Purpleheart

While renowned for its often deep, rich purple hues, Purpleheart is actually one of the toughest woods in the world. It is considered one of the stiffest, hardest woods — boasting an impressive strength-to-weight ratio. It is also extremely water resistant, which, combined with its toughness, has seen it frequently used in outdoor decking and even as truckbed flooring. The wood is typically straight or wavy grained (though sometimes irregular). Its texture ranges from fine to medium, and it has a nice natural luster that emerges when fine sanded. The wood works and turns well, although sharp tools and blades are a necessity. It glues and finishes well, also.

Common Uses:
boatbuilding, cabinetry, carving, decking, flooring, furniture, inlay, paneling, specialty items, turnings, veneer
Detail
Common Uses
purpleheart
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