Already know what you're looking for?
Species Discovery Filters
This vibrant Central American 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.
, , ,
Masur Birch (also known as Karelian Birch) is not a species in of itself, but rather a particular grain figure that occurs in various species of European Birch. The result is a beautiful marble like figure – a mix between burl and birdseye.
The cause of this figure is uncertain. Some say that it comes from a tree’s reaction to invasion by the larvae of the Agromyzia carbonara beetle, but the general opinion seems to be that it is hereditary, classifying the name of the variant as Betula pendula var. Carelica. Regardless of the exact origin of the figure, it provides us with stunning and unique looking lumber, just begging to be showcased in some fine woodworking. It is most commonly used in accent details, turned objects, knife handles and other small specialty items.
Veneers of Masur Birch are rotary cut (like Birdseye Maple) to ensure the best figure is extracted for the veneer.
, , , ,
Black Stinkwood has long been popular for use in fine furniture building in South Africa (where it is indigenous), due to its fine, tight, typically straight grains and a resolute durability that is often compared to Teak. It’s heartwood color can vary from almost black to dark brown, to more medium brown tones with a reddish tint; the sap is easily distinguished by its contrasting pale yellow coloration. Despite its inherent density, Stinkwood possesses very cooperative working properties. It has beautiful finishing characteristics and a rich natural luster.
, , , ,
Yellowwood is an even-grained, lightweight South African wood that has been used historically for hundreds of years, and a variety of purposes. It was extensively used in railway sleepers, as well as in multiple phases of construction. Its tough, durable nature saw it used as an exterior wood in the region. (It is still very popular throughout Southern Africa for indoor carpentry and floors, as it is also dimensionally stable.) The heartwood is pale yellowish brown, and not easy to distinguish from the sapwood; reddish streaks are sometimes present (in the heart). Grains are typically straight, though occasionally wavy; its texture is fine and consistent, with a nice natural luster.
Zebrawood is a tough, durable, visually striking West African wood whose heartwood base color — which can range from tan to a dull pale yellow, to a muted off-white / almost gray hue, depending on specific region and conditions of growth — is decorated by dark brown striping of varying degrees (ranging to almost black), hence its name. The striping is typically long and fairly uniform when the wood is quartersawn, but wavy and erratic when flatsawn.¬† Sapwood is easily distinguishable (by its lack of striping, naturally) and is usually a light, pale white color.
Its coarse, open-poured texture combined with its wavy and/or interlocked grain patterns can make planing a challenge. (as well as finishing, if filling all surface pores is requisite.) For any sort of resawing or surfacing, blades and cutting tools should be at their sharpest to minimize tear-out.¬† The wood glues well and usually possesses a pleasant, moderate to high luster, which can make for impressive finishing.
While flatsawn lumber can yield some quite dramatic aesthetic results, quartersawn lumber provides maximum (and sometimes much needed) stability. The species is known to be difficult to dry, with pieces sometimes warping during the kiln drying process. Tiny pockets of small void areas, also, are not uncommon along the darker striped areas — especially among flatsawn boards.
Zebrawood’s trademark aesthetics have made it very popular with veneer mills around the world. However, great care is required when handling, to avoid it cracking.¬† The wood’s popularity keeps it in steady demand, which makes it moderately expensive in spite of a generally steady supply in the US.¬† While its demand is based almost exclusively on its aesthetic appeal, Zebrawood is a strong, stiff lumber, once dry.
, , ,
East Indian (or Ceylon) Satinwood is a truly exquisite tropical hardwood. Its heartwood ranges from light to medium golden yellow, typically. Sapwood generally is white/off white and paler than the heartwood, though not always clearly demarcated. Premium-grade examples can be seen with a mottled or rippled grain pattern — resembling ripples in satin fabric, and, thus, lending to its name “Satinwood;” such examples may possess a chatoyance ranging from subtle to the dramatic.
Grains can be straight, but are more typically interlocked. Although — due to its density, hardness and generally interlocked grains — it can be difficult to work, it turns, glues and finishes superbly; featuring a smooth, luxurious texture and a shimmering natural luster.
In comparison with other exotic woods, Ceylon Satinwood has remained in short supply to the US market. Its exportation from the region remains restricted. That said, this is actually of little concern to the tree farmers of East India, as the wood is highly coveted throughout the Indian Plate portion of Southern Asia.
Finding long boards of it can be quite difficult and pieces of craft-sized dimensions are more commonly found in the US. Other than the supply issue, a root cause for this is the fact that trees reach full maturity at a height of only 40 to 50 feet, with miniscule trunk diameters of just 1 to 1-1/2 feet. Long boards are always in short supply and sell at a premium, when found.
, , , ,
Snakewood stands out as one of the most aesthetically unique exotic woods in the world. Its muted light yellow-, orange- or red-tinted brown underlying base color is covered by tight, uniform patterns of darker brown or black patches which give the appearance of snakeskin. The wood is straight-grained with a fine texture. The wood is extremely dense, so much so that it can be brittle and splinter, or even shatter, when re-sawn; cutting edges should be at there sharpest whenever working Snakewood. In spite of this difficult working properties, it does turn and finish quite well — taking a high polish and displaying an impressive natural luster.
Because of its relatively slender profile — marked by a thin, narrow trunk — thick boards are never seen. Snakewood can be commonly found in the form of small logs or half-logs.
Panga Panga is the first cousin to Africa’s more popular and well-known exotic, Wenge (with both trees being of the Millettia genus) — sharing a similar large pored, course texture, and presenting some of the same challenges when working. It is generally a bit lighter colored, with heartwood ranging from the lighter to darkers sides of medium brown, with dark brown to black streaks and/or highlighted grain lines. Darker examples can be easily confused with Wenge, and they have been known to turn almost black as they age.
, , , , , ,
Redheart is a unique Central / South American hardwood characterized by a reddish base color — ranging from dull to bright pink, pinkish-red or red — with streaks and highlights diverse in color, from darker red tones, to yellows, oranges and even occasional purples. Grains range from irregular to wild (although sometimes straight, also), and can often be multi-dimensional or overlapping — often to very dramatic effect, especially when vibrant secondary colors are present.
Its texture is fine and smooth, although it does not possess much natural luster. It works, turns, glues and finishes well, as would be expected with a wood of its moderate density.
, , , ,
Honduran Mahogany is just as commonly known as “Genuine Mahogany”. This is indicative of the fact that it is the world’s most popular, sought-after mahogany, and the standard by which all other mahoganies are compared. Its color can range from a light golden brown to a pale pinkish-red, with its color darkening over time. Premium examples of the species will exhibit a velvety look to its fine grains, a tight consistency to its fine grain patterns and a chatoyance that can range from subtle to dramatic. The wood is renowned for its use in fine furniture, cabinetry and musical instruments, although its very cooperative working and finishing characteristics make it popular with turners and carvers, also.
Curly Maple or “Tiger Maple” (so called for its abundant “tiger stripe” figuring) is also not a specific species of maple; the figuring is common in many varieties of the Acer genus. While it is most commonly found in the softer maples, it is also seen regularly in Hard Maples, which is what we offer.
Maple is one of those rare woods where the sapwood is considered more valuable and coveted than the heartwood. Pure sapwood boards that are dense and highly-figured are, without question, the most sought after of curly maples. Such boards can command serious money with electric guitar builders. Tiger Maple boards are also very popular with furniture craftsmen, flooring manufacturers, veneer mills and cabinet builders.
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.
, , , ,
Although not a true Diospyros ebony species, Katalox earned its “Royal Mexican Ebony” nickname due to its great density (which actually supersedes all true ebonies, in that regard) and the fact that, as it ages, it turns considerably darker than when its initially cut and dried. It is known to be generally very durable, making the wood ideal for a variety of applications — although it can be very difficult difficult to re-saw (density) and glue, due to its typically high natural oil content. The grains can be straight, irregular or interlocked; it’s texture ranges from fine to medium, with a nice natural luster.
Despite its somewhat uncooperative working characteristics, Katalox’s stability and handsome appearance make the wood a popular choice with guitar luthiers and fine furniture craftsmen, alike. Its heartwood is among the most durable of all the exotics in the world, but the sapwood can be susceptible to bug holes.
, , , , ,
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.
, , ,
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.
, , , , , ,
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.
, , , , , ,
Cocobolo is a truly exquisite exotic wood that remains in high demand with fine furniture craftsmen and guitar luthiers, alike. It is renowned for its often amazing array of colors and for being an extremely dense, stable and durable wood (making it well suited for both major industry applications). It is a true rosewood, with a density second only to African Blackwood.
The wood has been somewhat maligned, perhaps unfairly, due to what many claim to be the toxicity of its dust (due to this, many luthiers refuse to work with it). Our experience has shown that Cocobolo produces a huge, dense volume of dust, when being sanded. We find this dust to be no more “toxic” than any other true Dalbergia rosewood, with such affects being attributable more to the sheer mass of dust created than anything unusually threatening about the dust’s chemical makeup.
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.
Despite its oily nature, Bocote is surprisingly cooperative when gluing. It also turns and finishes well, although certain pieces may contain varying degrees of silica, which can dull blades when cutting. Sometimes the heartwood base can be a bright but muted orange in pieces grown south of Mexico.
, , , , , , ,
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).
, , , , ,