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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
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Common Uses
afrormosia
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
Detail
Common Uses
andiroba
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 - American

Both American Beech and its European counterpart are known for their pale cream coloration, which is often augmented by a pink or light- to medium-colored muted reddish-brown hue. Its medium texture and typically straight grains and sometimes wavy, give it excellent working properties. American Beech cuts, turns, glues and finishes very well and has a moderate natural luster.

Flat-sawn pieces usually have very plain-looking aesthetics; the bulk of which is used for utility purposes. Conversely, quartersawn pieces typically exhibit a silvery fleck pattern — which lends the wood well to furniture and musical instrument applications, with more exquisite examples often finding their way to veneer mills.

Common Uses:
flooring, furniture, specialty items, turnings, veneer
Detail
Common Uses
beech-american
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
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
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Common Uses
bloodwood
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
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Common Uses
boire
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 - Himalayan

Himalayan Cedar is an important timber tree in Pakistan, Kashmir and north-western India. Its wood is noted for being strong and durable mostly utilized in construction, carpentry and furniture applications in its indigenous regions. The trees are also known for the fragrant essential oil they produce (distilled from wood chips and sawdust), which is used throughout Northeast Asia to protect livestock from mosquitos, gnats and other airborne pests and it also has anti-fungal properties. Heartwood ranges from a light tan to light brown with a reddish tint. Grains are typically straight; it is fine, even textured with a high natural luster. The wood is reputed to have excellent working properties, as well as an impressive strength-to-weight ratio.

Common Uses:
carpentry, construction, furniture, joinery
Detail
Common Uses
cedar-himalayan
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
Cedrorana

This somewhat obscure, seldom-seen South American wood is typically a light to golden brown color; with large open pores, marked by prominent red vessel lines, decorating its grainy surface. It is difficult to differentiate the sapwood, as it is only slightly lighter in color and not clearly demarcated. Its pores are some of the largest of any commercial lumber in the world, with vessel diameters routinely between 300 and 500 micrometers. The dark contrast of the pores give the wood a very unique “veiny” look that is popular with some Latin American furniture craftsmen.

Common Uses:
construction, furniture, turnings
Detail
Common Uses
cedrorana
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
Chakte Viga

This vibrant Central America wood can features primary colors ranging from orange to golden brown (with gold, red and sometimes even green accent coloration). It is thought to be the closest relative to Brazilwood (famous for its use in stringed-instrument bows), and Chakte Viga shares many of the same acoustic properties. Grains are straight, but sometimes interlocked — otherwise, this wood works easily, and finishes well. It has a fine texture and excellent natural luster. Sap is a pale off-white to pale yellow.

Chakte Viga is a wood that has been starting to emerge from relative obscurity over the last decade or so, being one of the lesser-known and -demanded woods from the tropical Central America region. We feel it has a huge untapped potential as a guitar tonewood, as well as in fine furniture production in the US. The wood has some very subtle aesthetics, sometimes exhibiting a 3D-like shimmering chatoyance after being finished with clear lacquer.

Common Uses:
fine furniture, furniture, inlay, turnings
Detail
Common Uses
chakte-viga
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
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 - 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
Elm - Red

Once a great American utility-wood stable, obtaining long boards of American Elm, presently, can prove to be a most difficult task. Elm’s heartwood colors range from a muted tan, to light to medium reddish brown. Its sapwood is easy to distinguish, being considerably paler in color. Recommended applications are those of a utilitarian nature, and preferably indoors; the wood has proven itself to be decidedly “non-durable,” and is known to possess poor dimensional stability. Its grains are typically interlocked and its texture is coarse. Although it glues, stains and finishes well, its diffult grains and texture makes resawing a difficult chore, with tearout not uncommon.

Common Uses:
boxmaking, furniture, veneer
Detail
Common Uses
elm-red
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
Granadillo

Granadillo is known throughout Central America as “the wood that sings.” It has long been considered a quite viable “rosewood alternative,” receiving greater attention and steadily growing in popularity since the exportation ban on Brazilian Rosewood, almost 25 years ago. Its density falls slightly under the mark of a typical rosewood, while not being near as oily. Granadillo is a quite beautiful wood. It has a base of brown-toned hues, highlighted by a variety of colors which can range from muted purples to reds, oranges and golds, Its pleasing aesthetics and great working and finishing properties make it a popular choice with guitar and furniture builders, alike. It has a natural luster and a high degree of chatoyance often emerges after finish sanding.

Common Uses:
furniture, handles, inlay, musical Instruments, specialty items, turnings
Detail
Common Uses
granadillo
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
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Common Uses
jatoba
Kiaat

Kiaat is closely related to African Padauk (both are species of the Pterocarpus genus), sharing its characteristics of being durable, extremely stable and easy workability. The wood is renowned for its great bug and termite resistance.

Although Kiaat is considerably less dense (than Padauk), it has an impressive strength-to-weight ratio which (combined with its durability) makes it a very versatile, useful wood — suitable for a great variety of applications. Its heartwood color can vary from a light golden brown to a medium brown with a reddish or purplish tint. Grains can be straight, wavy or interlocked; its texture ranges from fine to medium, with a nice natural luster. Kiaat has very good working properties, and turns, glues and finishes well.

Common Uses:
boatbuilding, furniture, specialty items, turnings, veneer
Detail
Common Uses
kiaat
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
Limba

Limba has been an important wood in Africa due in part to its universal popularity. Although its population was considered threatened from over-exploitation in the first half of the 20th century, a concerted effort was made to preserve the species and expand its natural range. Regional and national programs from the ’50’s through the ’70’s across West and Central Africa were quite successful. Limba has a characteristic light base color, ranging from a pale yellow to a light golden brown, to a pale tan — and sometimes muted to the point of having a greyish appearance. It often has dark brown or black overlapping highlights (as well as lighter colored patches, occasionally ranging from yellow to orange), which is what distinguishes White Limba (also called “Korina”) from Black Limba (same wood / same species; just differing aesthetics). Its sapwood is only slightly lighter in color than its heartwood and can sometimes be difficult to discern.

Despite its medium to coarse texture and a small silica content, its typically straight grains (those sometimes irregular or interlocked) and modest hardness and density make it generally quite easy to work. Its glues and finishes well (with a moderate natural luster); its base color takes on a more golden tone under a clear lacquer finish. It is considered neither a tough nor durable wood, so such finishing is recommended.

Common Uses:
furniture, turnings, veneer
Detail
Common Uses
limba
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 - African

African Mahogany is a wood that continues to grow in popularity — so much so that this new millennium has seen its various species be replanted into tropical regions in Central America, as well as becoming a contemporary plantation roster addition. Depending on its origin, growth conditions and specific strain (“African Mahogany” encompasses four different Khaya species), it color can range from a pale pink or muted orange, to a somewhat darker reddish- or golden-brown. It can also have darker striping, and, aesthetically, it can be further enhanced through figuring (ribbon; wavy diagonal; mottled) and varying levels of chatoyance.

Its grains are typically either straight or interlocked. It works, turns and finishes easily, and beautifully, although boards which feature interlocked grains can occasionally pose tearout issues when planing, joining or resawing.

Common Uses:
boatbuilding, furniture, lutherie, turnings, veneer
Detail
Common Uses
mahogany-african
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
Mahogany - Pod

Pod Mahogany is a light reddish-brown wood, indigenous to the southeastern region of Africa. (Sapwood is easily distinguishable, with its pale yellow coloration.) It is a very hard wood — considerably more dense, stable and durable than any other ‘mahogany substitute’ wood. More dense specimens have been used for a number of demanding outdoor applications in Africa, yet premium-grade pieces can hold their own, aesthetically, with the finest exotic woods in the world — often boasting a high degree of chatoyance, and a remarkably deep, 3D-like figure.

Common Uses:
construction, fencing, flooring, furniture, inlay, paneling, utility lumber
Detail
Common Uses
mahogany-pod-chamfuta
Mahogany - Santos

Although not a true (Swietenia-genus) mahogany, Santos Mahogany exhibits a lot of the same aesthetic characteristics. The heartwood ranges from a muted yellow-orange to (more commonly) a deep red in color. Pieces which feature dramatic figuring and chatoyance, like its namesake, are not uncommon, either. Its visual similarities are where the comparisons end, as the wood is considerably heavier and generally around twice as dense and hard as a typical true mahogany species.

Its grains are typically interlocked (though sometimes straight), making it difficult to work. The wood has a high natural oil content, which can make it difficult to glue but gives it a beautiful luster and renders an excellent finish. Its texture is typically not as fine as mahogany, shading more towards the ‘medium’ portion of the scale.

Common Uses:
construction, flooring, furniture, veneer
Detail
Common Uses
mahogany-santos
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
Detail
Common Uses
makore
Maple - Ambrosia

Ambrosia Maple is a general term attached to a variety of Acer (true maple) species whose boards included colorful bug “trails” — caused by a fungus carried by the Ambrosia Beetle which penetrates the tree sap as the beetle eats into the tree, and it spreads both through the worm hole and up and down in the tree (carried along by the sap) and causes discoloring of the wood in streaks. The two primary species which draw the beetle’s attention are Acer Rubrum (Red Maple) and Acer Saccharum (Sugar Maple), although — with there reputedly being more than sixty different Acer species indigienous to North America — this unusual phenomenon is certainly not confined to just the two. Weight and density can vary greatly — depending upon the actual species — the typical varieties of maple figuring can also be present, often creating some very unique, visually spectacular specimens.

Common Uses:
crafting, furniture, lutherie, specialty items, turnings, veneer
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Common Uses
maple-ambrosia
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
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
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