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Basswood

Basswood’s color ranges from a pale off-white to pale yellow, to a very light muted brown. The species is known for its excellent strength-to-weight ratio, although its lack of density can make it susceptible to damage if placed under excessive weight. While species from the Tilia genus are referred to as either “Lime” or “Linden” in Europe, in North America it is commonly called “Basswood.”

Straight grains and fine texture combined with its soft character — make Basswood exceptionally easy to work. It glues and finishes well, but does not bend well. Its consistency, light color, light density and hardness (bordering on that of a softwood) has made it a popular fine carving wood for centuries.

Common Uses:
carving, fencing, musical Instruments, utility lumber, veneer
Detail
Common Uses
basswood
Blackwood - African

African Blackwood is native to the seasonally dry regions of Africa, from Senegal eastwards to Eritrea and southwards to the northern parts of South Africa. Without question, the densest and most un-rosewood-like of the Dalbergia’s (for our money, at least!), African Blackwood is a consistent favorite with acoustic guitar luthiers, wood turners, carvers and fine furniture craftsmen, alike. It remains one of the world’s most coveted musical woods. African Blackwood often appears almost completely black, with its grains hardly discernible. (… thus the name. After sanding, a deep, very dark chocolate color emerges.)

Common Uses:
carving, handles, inlay, turnings
Detail
Common Uses
blackwood-african
Bloodwood

Also known as “Satine,” Bloodwood is an exotic South American import that continues to grow in popularity here in the states. It’s dark, savory red tones, untypically do not fade, mute or darken much over time. It is known for its “satiny,” highly-chatoyant finish. While the heartwood typically is comprised of red hues, it is known to have variances ranging from oranges to pale yellows, interspersed. It’s impressive density makes it ideal for an electric guitar fretboard or an acoustic guitar back and sides; wood turners love it, as well, for its fabulous, unique aesthetics and very reasonable price.

Common Uses:
carving, furniture, inlay, knife handles, lutherie, trim, turnings
Detail
Common Uses
bloodwood
Boxwood

While the term “boxwood” has become quite convoluted over time, this species, Buxus macowanii, is considered a close cousin to ‘the original boxwood.’ (Buxus sempervirens). It’s pale, creamy yellowish hues make it popular with wood turners and especially carvers, as Boxwood is renowned for its capacity to hold crisp, fine details and it has a smooth, very fine texture.

Trees rarely make it much passed 20 feet in height and trunk diameters max out at only 6 inches in diameter. Not surprisingly, this limits its supply to primarily small, craft-sized pieces. The very small logs (if you can even call them that) it produces are often cracked, due to its tough, dense nature. Beware of other species, similar in color and density, being sold as boxwood.

The Boxwood that we carry has been carefully air dried over many years and originates from South Africa.

Common Uses:
carving, chess pieces, handles, musical Instruments, specialty items, turnings
Detail
Common Uses
boxwood
Boxwood - Castello

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.

Common Uses:
bows, carving, inlay, turnings
Detail
Common Uses
boxwood-castello
Butternut

Known commonly by its nickname, “White Walnut” (a nickname which is well earned, as it is a member of the true walnut genus, Juglans), Butternut is considerably lighter and less dense than it’s walnut (Juglans genus) compatriots; combined with its light weight and low density and hardness, it is very easy to work. Courtesy of its fluted trunks, the lumber produced by Butternut trees can have some irregular, but visually-striking, grain patterns. Found throughout the Eastern United States, Butternut’s pleasant light tan coloration has gorgeous pastel look, and certain examples can exhibit a pink or reddish tint.

Common Uses:
boxmaking, carving, crafting, furniture, veneer
Detail
Common Uses
butternut
Cedar - Alaskan

Alaskan Cedar has been a wood historically embroiled in controversy with botanical and wood experts, as the wood has experienced its genus reclassified on six different occasions over the course of the last two centuries. Despite its relatively light weight and density, it is a very durable and quite versatile species — having seen duty in numerous indoor and outdoor applications. The wood has also become a popular choice with luthiers, for acoustic guitar soundboards.

Common Uses:
boatbuilding, boxmaking, carving, construction, decking, flooring, outdoor furniture
Detail
Common Uses
cedar-alaskan
Cedar - Aromatic

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.

Common Uses:
bows, boxmaking, carving, fencing, humidors, outdoor furniture, specialty items
Detail
Common Uses
cedar-aromatic
Cedar - Japanese

Japanese Cedar is the national tree of Japan, where it is highly-prized for the scented, strong, but lightweight timber it produces. It’s significance extends beyond that, as its impact on Japanese culture is reflected by the fact that it is found planted at numerous sacred sites throughout the country. The wood is reddish-pink in color, straight-grained and medium textured; it glues, stains and finishes well. Its impressive strength-to-weight ratio and excellent working properties makes it ideal for all varieties of construction applications.

Common Uses:
boatbuilding, carving, construction, furniture, turnings
Detail
Common Uses
cedar-japanese
Ebony - Amara

According to the only sources we could find willing to step up to the plate on this wood, Amara Ebony and Macassar Ebony are of the exact same species (Diospyros Celebica), with the difference put forth being that Amara is exclusive to Indonesia. Amara is known for its deep chocolate browns with pink striping; the difference in its coloration and that of typical Macassar Ebony being attributed to the soil conditions in Indonesia. Its grains are more likely to be wavy or irregular than straight, with a fine texture and nice natural luster.

Our experience yields a broader perspective, as we have found the wood sometimes with greens and reds, more similar to Malaysian Blackwood, at times with darker and more muted hues¬† and devoid of any pink shades. Pieces which more resemble Macassar have also contained gold – orange hues, in addition to pinks. It’s sap content is tan in color and, despite its density, it has good working properties.

Common Uses:
carving, furniture, inlay, specialty items, turnings, veneer
Detail
Common Uses
ebony-amara
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 - Brown

Brown Ebony is not a true Ebony and it is slightly odd that this species derives its name from a genus generally known for its black coloring.  Like true ebonies though, Brown Ebony is very dense and hard to work.

This South American species is popular for turning, musical instruments and decorative pieces.

Common Uses:
carving, furniture, inlay, turnings
Detail
Common Uses
ebony-brown
Ebony - Indian

Indian Ebony is a true ebony which has been commonly used as a substitute for Gabon Ebony, due to its similar aesthetics. With a jet black base, occasional brown to muted orange striping (from mineral deposits) and a sap which can range from pale yellow to tan, one could certainly be forgiven for mistaking one for the other. That said, Indian Ebony is an exotic wood in very short supply — more so even than Gabon. Its grains are generally straight or irregular, and its texture is fine. It has a high natural oil content, which yields a high degree of luster.

It also is a less dense and hard ebony, having a Janka Hardness rating slightly over 20% less than Gabon (2430 lbf vs. 3080). It is a very popular wood with turners, as it turns and finishes beautifully, and has good working properties. Indian Ebony is also regularly employed as an acoustic guitar fretboard, although supplies to the US luthier industry is sometimes sporadic.

Common Uses:
carving, furniture, inlay, turnings
Detail
Common Uses
ebony-indian
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
Ironwood - Desert

Desert Ironwood (Palo Fierro in Spanish) only grows in the Sonoran Desert in Southwestern Arizona and the Northwestern part of Mexico.? It is one of the hardest and densest woods in the world. It ranges massively in color and can have some stunning figures as a result.

Common Uses:
carving, knife handles, turnings
Detail
Common Uses
ironwood-desert
Jelutong

The trees which produce this light-colored Southeast Asian softwood are better known for their sap being tapped and used in the production of latex. The wood is popular with carvers who know of it, as its lack of density makes it very easy to work, the wood has excellent dimensional stability and it holds a stain or finish very well. Any applications should be limited to those of the indoor variety, as the wood is decidedly non-durable.

Its generally straight (though occasionally interlocked) grains, fine to medium-fine, consistent texture and nice natural luster render exceptional working and finishing properties.

Common Uses:
carving, specialty items, utility lumber
Detail
Common Uses
jelutong
Leadwood

So named for its significant weight and density, this South African wood is seldom seen in the US in lumber form. Its heartwood is a robust medium to dark brown (sometimes with a reddish tint), and is known to darken with age; sapwood is pale yellow. Grains are straight or irregular, and knots are not uncommon. Its texture is fine and consistent, and it displays a pleasant natural luster after fine sanding.

Leadwood is an excellent wood for any outdoor applications where strength, insect resistance and durability are required. Its tremendous density makes it difficult to plane and hard on cutting tools and saw blades — and its high natural oil content can make it difficult to glue — but its tightly uniform, fine grains allows it to turn, sand and finish beautifully.

Common Uses:
carving, furniture, specialty items, turnings
Detail
Common Uses
leadwood
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
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
Mopane Roots

Indigenous to the southern region of Africa, the Mopane tree is known for its butterfly-shaped leaves — leaves which are initially a bright green color, later transforming into a cache of reds, oranges, and yellows, in the autumn season. The heartwood it produces is medium to darker brown in color, with a golden to reddish tint, often decorated with black streaks. It is very dense and extremely durable. It is also very resistance to infestation, which has seen it used for centuries in its native region in a variety of outdoor uses.

The wood is considered very difficult to work, as — in addition to its great density — its grain patterns are usually interlocked. It turns smoothly and (as would be expected) holds details very well, making it popular with turners and carvers who know of it.

We stock roots, but the details we provide are for the timber.

Common Uses:
carving, construction, fencing, flooring, furniture, turnings, utility lumber
Detail
Common Uses
mopane-roots
Olive - Wild

For millenniums, Olivewood has remained a wood of great cultural and religious importance and significance, especially in the Middle East. The wood can, indeed, be exquisite in appearance: with its (typically) creamy, golden brown base, and darker streaks and highlights, often augmented by spectacular figuring and/or areas of magnificent burling.

Grain patterns are usually either straight or wild, although they can sometimes be interlocked, as well. Although opinions differ, Olivewood is thought by many to be a very durable wood, although it can be susceptible to insect / bug infestation. The wood is considered to be a superb turner, and it generally works, glues and finishes well. Because the fruit of the Olive tree is olives, there is a limited supply of Olivewood that is made available to the US.

For wood craftsmen of all niches, Olivewood is highly desired for its often spectacular aesthetics; being known for its gorgeous, often-twisting grain patterns and dramatic figuring. Defects are not uncommon, and can often present some challenges when working, but hard work and perseverance can produce extraordinary results; there’s really no other wood quite like it.

Found in the Mediterranean Basin — from Portugal to the Levant, and the Arabian Peninsula — and Southern Asia, as far east as China, the Olive tree grows as a small evergreen tree or shrub. It is also known to grow in the Canary Islands, Mauritius and Reunion. The species is / has been cultivated in many places; it’s considered “naturalized” in the Mediterranean coast countries, as well as in Argentina, Saudi Arabia, Java (Indonesia), Norfolk Island, (the U.S. state) California, and Bermuda.

Its trunk is generally twisted and/or gnarled, making long, defected free boards quite rare. When found, they command a premium price.

Common Uses:
carving, furniture, specialty items, turnings, veneer
Detail
Common Uses
olive-wild
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
Detail
Common Uses
osage-orange-argentine
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
Detail
Common Uses
pau-marfim
Pau Rosa

Pau Rosa is a very beautiful tropical wood. Depending on the specific region of the trees’ growth, colors can vary from a medium chocolate brown to an almost Padauk-like red or orange, or even a mixture of such colors which can also include yellows and purples (also like Padauk). It is a very dense wood, with grains which are typically wavy or interlocked, and moderately course. Despite its density, it is considered relatively easy to work and turns, glues and finishes well.

Drying the wood is a slow, burdenous process. Like many woods which are comparably hard, logs and boards have a tendency to crack while drying, although Pau Rosa is considered very durable and dimensionally stable, there after.

Common Uses:
carpentry, carving, furniture, specialty items, turnings, veneer
Detail
Common Uses
pau-rosa
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
Detail
Common Uses
pear-swiss
Pernambuco

Pernambuco is renown for its use in the making of violin bows. But after being first discovered in 1500 by Portugese explorers, the trees and its wood become highly coveted and traded throughout Europe for the red dye it produced. Considered a valuable commodity, it was the preferred red dye of luxury textile manufacturers. Its heartwood varies from a muted yellow-orange to orange to red or reddish-brown, and it slowly darkens with age. Grains are generally straight, though sometimes interlocked. Despite its great density, it has excellent working properties and, with its fine texture, finishes nicely, boasting an impressive natural luster.

Common Uses:
carving, inlay, musical Instruments, turnings, veneer
Detail
Common Uses
pernambuco
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
Rosewood - Madagascan

Madagascar Rosewood is a very popular wood with both acoustic and electric guitar luthiers (especially the former), as well as furniture craftsmen, despite being a wood that has been difficult to acquire in the US for the bulk of this new millennium. Depending on the specific species, heartwood colors can range anywhere from a pale yellowish-brown to orangish-red to deep burgundy to a chocolate brown, typically highlighted by bold black ink lines and secondary hues. Its straight grains and medium texture generally make for excellent working properties, despite its considerable hardness and density; its cuts, turns and finishes beautifully, with a nice natural luster.

The wood typically has a high natural oil content, which can make gluing challenging.

Common Uses:
boatbuilding, cabinetry, carving, flooring, furniture, inlay, specialty items, trim, turnings, veneer
Detail
Common Uses
rosewood-madagascan
Sipo

Sipo Mahogany (commonly referred to as either just “Sipo” or “Utile”) is an African wood that is considered to be the closest, aesthetically, to Genuine Mahogany (although not a true “Swietenia”). It’s interlocked grains are akin to other African woods and generally produce a characteristic contrasting light-dark / two-toned sort of appearance, when quartersawn — which can be visually stunning in the case of more chatoyant boards. The fact that the wood is considerably easier to work, with less tearout, than African Mahogany and possesses a hardness that places Sipo between it (African Mahogany) and Genuine Mahogany has seen it transcend from relative obscurity to become a quite popular and highly regarded “mahogany substitute” wood, presently.

Aesthetically, the wood is similar, also, to its African first cousin, Sapele (with both being species of the Entandrophragma genus) — although Sipo is more pourous, and has richer color.

Common Uses:
boatbuilding, cabinetry, carving, furniture, turnings, veneer
Detail
Common Uses
sipo
Sneezewood

Ptaeroxylon Obliquum, from which Sneezewood is derived, is a deciduous evergreen tree or shrub. The lumber it yields has a heartwood which is generally comprised of light to medium golden brown hues (although the brownish hues can sometimes be dark, toward the tree’s center). Grains are generally either straight or wavy, although they can be interlocked. The wood is quite dense, which makes it somewhat difficult to work, but renders excellent dimensional stability when dried.

It turns and finishes well, although gluing can be problematic, due to the natural oil content of the wood.

Common Uses:
carving, construction, furniture, specialty items, turnings, utility lumber
Detail
Common Uses
sneezewood
Tamboti

Tamboti is a beautiful African hardwood which is derived from the Spirostachys Africana tree — a medium-sized, semi-deciduous to deciduous, fruit producing tree. The heartwood is brown to dark brown, with darker markings and streaks, clearly demarcated from the whitish to pale yellow sapwood. Its grains are usually straight to slightly wavy, with a fine, even texture. The wood has a beautiful banded figure and a satin-like lustre, with an oily surface. Known for its durability, dimensional stability and exceptional rot and insect resistance, Tamboti is a hard, heavy wood — and one which remains in steady demand throughout regions of its natural range, despite its somewhat challenging working properties.

Between the tree’s natural oils and latex production, resawing the wood tends to gum up saw blades. Difficulties aside, the wood turns and finishes well, and its density and pleasant aesthetics make it popular with wood carvers, as well.

Common Uses:
boatbuilding, cabinetry, carving, construction, flooring, furniture, specialty items, turnings
Detail
Common Uses
tamboti
Teak - Burmese

Genuine Teak is one of the world’s most well-known and coveted woods. Its heartwood is light-medium to medium brown, with a tint that can range from muted gold to a pale red. (Its color darkens as it ages.) Sapwood colors are a pale white, off-white or a pale yellowish brown. But it is the wood’s great toughness, rot resistance and durability — versus some rather bland aesthetics — which make it so popular.

Its grains are typically straight (although sometimes wavy, or even interlocked) with a high natual oil content. This generally makes for favorable working characteristics, although the wood does possess a high silica content.

Common Uses:
boatbuilding, carving, construction, flooring, furniture, turnings, veneer
Detail
Common Uses
teak-burmese
Teak - Zambezi

While not a true (Tectona genus) teak, Zambezi Teak shares a similar stability, durability and rot resistance. The heartwood is a reddish-brown color, with prominent, irregular black lines and flecks. The sapwood is a pale muted pink and is clearly demarcated. In contrast to its “Genuine” counterpart, Zambezi Teak is an extremely dense hardwood. Despite its generally straight or slightly interlocked, finely-textured grains, this density makes the wood very difficult to work.

The wood has a high silica content, as well — so resawing the wood can quickly dull and gum up blades.

Common Uses:
carving, flooring, musical Instruments, specialty items, turnings, veneer
Detail
Common Uses
teak-zambezi
Walnut - African

African Walnut is derived from the Lovoa Trichilioides tree — a monoecious, evergreen that is indigenous to Central and Southern Africa’s tropical regions. Its heartwood color can vary anywhere from a golden brown to a reddish brown, often with darker streaks and/or portions. Over time, its color will darken to deeper brown tones. The sapwood is narrow, grey to beige in color, and clearly demarcated from the heartwood. Despite it not being a true walnut (of the Juglans genus), it shares many of the basic characteristics.

African Walnut’s grains are typically straight or slightly interlocked — yielding good working properties — with a fine to medium, consistent texture and a fine natural luster. Finding figured pieces is not uncommon. It turns, glues and finishes well. The wood is considered moderately durable.

Common Uses:
boatbuilding, cabinetry, carving, flooring, furniture, gun stocks, joinery, paneling, specialty items, turnings, veneer
Detail
Common Uses
walnut-african
Yellowheart

Yellowheart is a neo-satine wood whose color can range from pale yellow to bright yellow to varying shades of gold. Sapwood is lighter and pale, but not always easily discerned from pale-colored heartwood. Its grains are typically straight, but can also by wavy and/or interlocked. Its typically fine (sometimes medium or in between), consistent texture takes on a luxurious look, revealing a deep natural luster, when sanded.

As far as working characteristics are concerned, Yellowheart is generally very cooperative for a fairly dense and durable wood. (Although sharp blades may be necessary with some interlocked-grain boards.) It glues and finishes very well. The wood holds its color well: slowly darkening, to a degree, as it ages, often giving it an even more striking appearance.

Common Uses:
boatbuilding, cabinetry, carving, flooring, furniture, handles, inlay, musical Instruments, trim, turnings, veneer
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Common Uses
yellowheart
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