Monthly Archives March 2016



Botanical Name: Umdellularia californica Especially well known for its cluster and burl figured veneers, myrtle is a favorite among fine craftsmen for cabinetmaking and marquetry. While it has a strong tendency to check and Narp in drying, once seasoned myrtle is a tough wood, able to withstand much wear and abuse. Also a preferred turning wood, myrtle is frequently made into bowls and candlesticks, among other fine goods.

Other Names: California laurel, mountain laurel, baytree, spicetree.

Sources: Oregon and California, U. S.A.

Characteristics: Generally straight grain, but occasion­ally irregular; fine texture; golden tan to yellowish-green. Uses: Turning, furniture, joinery, cabinetmaking, panel­ing, and veneers.

Workability: Fair; dulls cutting edges severely and quick­ly; reduc...

Read More




Botanical Name: Swietenia macrophylla Not only one of the most valuable timbers in South and Central America, this species is also, without a doubt, one of the foremost cabinet woods in the world. While it is sometimes used in ship and boat building because of its combination of stability, durability and light weight, its primary use is in the finest furniture and reproduction work.

Other Names: Caoba, acajou; Central American, Honduras, Peruvian, Brazilian, Costa Rican, Nicaraguan mahogany etc., according to the country of origin. Sources: Central and South America.

Characteristics: Straight to interlocked grain; medium coaree texture; light reddish-brown to medium red...

Read More



Botanical Name: Khaya spp.

Occurring over a vast region of that continent, African mahogany is an immense tree, capable of growing to 200 feet in height. The wood, available in a wide range of sizes, is slightly more difficult to work than its South American cousin, but the reward, in its fine appearance and stunning figures, is great.

Other Names: Khaya; Nigerian, Benin, Lagos, Ghana and Ivory Coast mahogany.

Sources: West, Central and East Africa. Characteristics: Straight to interlocked grain; moder­ately coaree texture; reddish-brown.

Uses: Cabinetmaking, joinery, furniture, boat building, plywood and veneers.

Workability: Fair, dulls cutting edges moderately; may tear, pick up, or become woolly in cutting and planing; poor bending properties.

Finishing: Accepts finishes very well...

Read More



Botanical Name: Arbutus menziesii Madrone varies greatly in size, some trees reaching 125 feet in height with enormous branches sometimes stretching out over an area of 10,000 square feet. It offers a beautiful timber, which, though difficult to dry, can be given a remarkably smooth finish. Smaller madrone timber often has burl growths at its base; these are frequently developed into stunning veneers. It is also known as one of the best sources of charcoal for making gunpowder.

Other Names: Pacific madrone, arbutus, madrona. Sources: Canada and western U. S.A.

Characteristics: Straight to irregular grain; fine, even texture; pale reddish-yellowto deeper red or brown. Uses: Fine furniture, turning and decorative veneers...

Read More


(H) ■

Botanical Name: Guaiacum officinale Lignum vitae or “wood of life” received its name for the supposedly curative qualities of its resin. This species, which is extremely slow-growing, produces one of the world’s heaviest commercial timbers, and is virtually self-lubricating due to its high resin content. This makes it ideal for its principal use, as bearings and bushing blocks for ship propellor shafts, for which there is presently no effective synthetic substitute.

Other Names: 1 ronvjood (U. S.A.); guayacan negro, palo santo (Cuba); bois de gaiac (France).

Sources: Tropical America and West Indies. Characteristics: Heavy, dense wood; interlocked, irregu­lar grain; greenish-brown to black.

Uses: Marine bearings, mallet heads, pulleys and turnings...

Read More



Botanical Names: CardweWia sublimis; Greviilea robusta The two botanical names given here denote two related, but separate, species; the name Iacewood is usually used for Cardwellia, while Greviilea is more often called silky-oak. Both trees are large and offer similar timbers, resembling light mahogany in color, though Iacewood has a much more striking quartersawn figure. The sawdust may cause a rash or respiratory problems for some people. Other Names: Silky-oak, selena, louro faia.

Sources: Australia, Brazil.

Characteristics: Usually straight grain with large rays; moderately coarse texture; reddish-brown.

Uses: Furniture, turning, joinery, plywood and veneers...

Read More



Botanical Name: Acacia koa Hawaii’s principal timber, koa has for centuries been used fora wide range of construction and woodworking applications. It grows almost anywhere on the islands, from sea level to mountain top. Perhaps most famous for its use in ukuleles and guitars, the wood is becoming increasingly scarce due to its limited natural range. Its use in continental North America is primarily as a veneer, which often features a stunning fiddleback figure. Other Name: Hawaiian mahogany.

Source: Hawaiian Islands.

Characteristics: Interlocked, often curly or wavy grain; medium texture; reddish to dark brown with dark lines and markings.

Uses: High-grade furniture and cabinetwork, musical instruments, interior joinery, gunstocks and veneers...

Read More



Botanical Name: Dalberqia cearenela Like most rosewoods, kingwood is heavy and very attractive. Deserving of its regal name, this timber was used in the finest furniture built for Louis XIV and Louis XV of France. Today, kingwood is an endangered species that is becoming extremely scarce. The small amounts that are available find use in restoration work, fine turnings and veneers.

Other Names: Violetwood, Violetta (U.5.A.); violete (Brazil).

Source: Brazil.

Characteristics: Straight grain; fine texture; violet – brown, dark violet and black stripes against yellow to violet-brown background.

Uses: Turning and veneers for inlay and marquetry. Workability: Generally good; blunts tool and blade cutting edges moderately.

Finishing: Accepts finishes well; well suited to a natural wax finish.

Read More


(H) ^

Botanical Name: Chlorophora excelsa Sometimes marketed as African teak, iroko compares favorably with that wood in its strength, durability and stability. In appearance, it is rather less stunning, though its broken stripe veneers are attractive for cabi­network. Not especially popular in North America, iroko logs are sometimes marred by deposits commonly called “stone,” which makes them difficult to work.

The wood’s sawdust can cause respiratory problems. Other Names: African teak, framere, intule, ireme, kam – bala, moreira, mvulu, Nigerian teak, odoum, oroko, tule. Source: Equatorial Africa.

Characteristics: Interlocked or irregular grain; coarse, even texture; light golden to dark brown.

Use: Boat building, joinery, cabinetwork, furniture (particularly outdoor), carving, p...

Read More



Botanical Name: Phoebe porosa Imbuia is a rich wood, sometimes beautifully figured, and most commonly seen in North America in veneer and paneling. The wood has a peculiar, but not unpleasant, spicy odor and taste. Its sawdust may cause irritation and sneezing for some people.

Other Names: Amarela, Brazilian walnut, canella, embuia, imbuya.

Source: Brazil.

Characteristics: Usually straight, but frequently wavy grain; fine texture; olive or yellow to chocolate brown with visible growth rings.

Uses: Fine furniture and cabinetmaking, joinery, gunstocks, paneling and veneers.

Workability: Generally good; dulls cutters slightly; poor bending properties.

Finishing: Accepts finishes very well.

Weight: 41 Ib./cu. ft.

Price: Moderate.

Read More