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Exotic Woods Characteristics

... including color, grain, characteristics such as shock resistance, dimensional stability, decay resistance properties, steam-bends qualities plus finishing properties like staining, sanding and painting.

Buy Now » Black Mesquite

Black MesquiteAlso called Prosopis Nigra, Honey Mesquite, Argentine Mesquite. The tree grows in Deserts of North and South America; Texas, Arizona as well as Mexico and Argentina.

Color: A heavy hardwood that ranges from rich brown to chocolate with wavy darker lines, with often purple overtones in color.
Grain: Somewhat straight grained but often wavy.
Characteristics: Mesquite trees are short desert plants that yield boards with knots, splits, worm holes, etc. Uses include furniture, flooring, cabinetry, fine art and turnings.
Finishing: Turns and polishes well. Defects are oten used as points of interest among woodworkers.

Buy Now » Bocote

BocoteAlso called Salmwood, Princewood, Cyp, Solera, Canaletta, Louro; Distribution: West Indies and Tropical America.

Color: The heartwood is dull golden brown in color with variegated irregular markings and an attractive ray flecked figure on quarter sawn surfaces.
Grain: It is straight grained, with a medium course texture.
Characteristics: Moderately durable, resistant to preservative treatment and the sapwood is permeable. Works easily with both hand and power tools, with a slight blunting effect on cutters. Can be finished smoothly and cleanly in most machining operations.
Finishing: Stains and polishes to a good finish.

Buy Now » Canarywood

CanarywoodAlso known as Tulip Poplar, Popple, Saddletree, Whitewood (UK), Canary Whitewood, Tulip Tree (US). This medium density wood has low bending and resistance to shock loads, low stiffness and medium crushing strength. It also has a medium steam bending classification.

Color: Heartwood varies from pale yellowish-brown to pale olive-brown streaked with olive green, dark gray, or pinkish-brown, and when mineral stained, streaks of steel blue.
Grain: Usually straight, regular, fine texture.
Characteristics: It is easy to work with hand and power tools and can be planed to a very smooth finish. Nailed, screwed and glued joints hold perfectly.
Finishing: Can be stained, polished or painted and holds hard enamels.

Buy Now » Cocobolo

CocoboloFound in the Pacific regions of Central America, extending from Panama to southwestern Mexico. The trees grow best in the drier uplands and tend to be small in stature.

Color: The sapwood of cocobolo is so pale it is almost white, but the heartwood is a mix of brilliant colors ranging from deep reds to an attractive mix of streaks and markings of red, black, purple, yellow and orange.
Grain: Can be straight, but it is also sometimes irregular and wavy. The wood has a fine, medium texture.
Characteristics: Very durable. Works fairly well with both hand and machine tools, with a moderate blunting effect on cutting edges which must be kept very sharp. A reduced cutting angle is required for planning or moulding, and the surface can be rendered very smooth to the touch. It can be nailed and screwed easily, but is difficult to glue.
Finishing: Takes stain and can be brought to an excellent finish.

Buy Now » Ebony

Ebony, GaboonOther names include Cameroon Ebony, Nigerian Ebony, etc., according to country of origin.

Color: Dark black with dark grain. Gaboon ebony is believed to be the blackest wood that grows.
Grain: A very dense, very hard wood with straight to slightly interlocked grain. Very fine textured.
Characteristics: This is a very hard wood to work with hand or power tools, with severe blunting effect on cutters. Very durable. Pre-boring is necessary for nailing and screwing. Takes glue well. Highly resistent to termites. Extremely resistent to preservative treatment.
Finishing: Can be polished to an excellent finish.

Buy Now » Lacewood

LacewoodTall and straight with heights of 100ft with a trunk diameter of 48". Other names include Silky-oak, Australian Silky-oak, Northern Silky-oak, Queensland Silky-oak, selena, louro faia. Distribution: Australia (Queensland)

Color: Color is pink to reddish brown, and is highly figured with a distinct small lacelike pattern.
Grain: Grain is straight with a fine to medium texture.
Characteristics: Medium strength in most categories. Low stiffness makes it an excellent steam bending wood. Works well with hand and machine tools, but there is moderate blunting effect on cutters and a tendency to bind in saws. Durability: Perishable. The sapwood is liable to attack by common furniture beetle, but is permeable for preservative treatment.
Finishing: Glues well, stains and polishes, with care, to an excellent finish.

Buy Now » Mahogany

MahoganyHeight of 150' with trunk diameters as large as 6'. Honduras mahogany prefers dry forests and can also be found in high elevation stands. Found in scattered areas throughout Central and South America including some Caribbean Islands.

Color: Reddish brown to medium red which darkens to a deep reddish-brown with time
Grain: Straight grain with a fine even texture. Honduras Mahogany is relatively free of voids and pockets
Characteristics: The wood is strong, dense and durable but is slightly less durability than Red Oak. For outdoor applications such as patio furniture and wooden boats this boat is an excellent choice for its combination of strength and rot resistant properties
Finishing: Readily accepts a wide range of common stains and finish.

Buy Now » Padauk

PadaukCountry origin: Central Africa. Also known as Padouk, Camwood, Barwood, Corail. Average height is 100 ft, but the wood can grow to 130' with diameters of 2' - 5' wide buttresses.

Color: African Padauk heartwood is vivid blood red, toning down to a dark purple-brown with red streaks upon exposure. Also found to have vivid oranges with darker striping when freshly milled.
Grain: Grain is straight to interlocked. Texture is moderately coarse.
Characteristics: Excellent strength characteristics, especially in bending and crushing strengths. Medium stiffness and resistence to shock loads. Only slight blunting effect on cutters despite its heavy weight. Machines very easily. Nails, screws, and glues very well.
Finishing: Excellent. It finishes well, glues and polishes easily.

Buy Now » Purpleheart

PurpleheartOther names include Amaranth, Violetwood, Koroboreli, Saka, Pau Roxo, Morado, Tananeo. Purpleheart trees can grow as tall as 170 feet with diameters as wide as 4 feet, but most are between 125 and 150 feet. Typically the trees feature buttresses up to 12 feet and straight, cylindrical boles clear 60 to 90 feet.

Color: Deep purple. Color changes to a rich brown as the wood matures. The original color is restored when re-cut.
Grain: Grain is straight, but often irregular, wavy and sometimes interlocked. Texture is moderate to fine.
Characteristics: Can be difficult to work with. Tends to blunt cutters. Cutters must be very sharp or they can burn the wood. Purpleheart must be run very slowly through the machines. It tends to have qutie a bit of gum and sap in it that tends to leak out when the wood is heated by cutters.
Finishing: Finishes well. Lacquer based finishes will preserve Purpleheart's purple color.

Buy Now » Rosewood, Bolivian

Rosewood, BolivianGrown in Bolivia and Brazil this is beautiful, rosewood like wood with black striping on top of a dark brown background. Also known as Morado or Pauferro.

Color: Bolivian Rosewood offers a wide range of colors from medium to light browns through to almost black brown purplish tones, on top of which there is frequent black striping.
Grain: Bolivian Rosewood undergoes a substantial degree of color change as the wood lightens over time and more so in direct sunlight from the darker brown tones to lighter gold/tan tones with a muting the fresh milled color variation.
Characteristics: Very dense, sometimes difficult to work with. Resistant to insects and decay.
Finishing: Takes a beautiful natural polish.

Buy Now » Teak

TeakTeak is a deciduous hardwood tree from the highlands of south-east Asia, it does not come from tropical rainforests. Teakwood has a naturally high oil content which makes it both stable and resistant to rotting when exposed to climatic extremes.

Color: Color ranges from gold to golden brown
Grain: Teak exhibits exotic grain patterns
Characteristics: Teak saws, machines and planes easily; has good nail, screw and glue holding properties; it is resistant to splitting; and sands to a smooth, tight surface
Finishing: Known to have adverse reactions when many oil based finishes are used with this wood. Most water based finishes work well with Teak.

Buy Now » Wenge

WengeGrows in Central Africa. Other names include Palissandre du Congo, dikela, mibotu, bokonge, tshikalakala, awong, nson-so. Wenge grows to average heights of 60 feet with 2-foot diameters but can grow to 90 feet with 3- to 4-foot diameters.

Color: Wenge is a uniform dark chocolate brown color primarily used for contrasting accent strips or in those areas desiring such bold dark look.
Grain: Coarse texture with a straight grain.
Characteristics: Sawing and machining somewhat difficult, rapid blunting of cutting edges occurs, turns well, difficult to glue if resinous. Durability: Heartwood is rated as very durable and resistant to termite attack.
Finishing: Good finishing qualities.

Buy Now » Zebrawood

ZebrawoodTrees tend to grow large with trunk diameters of 48"-60" and a thick bark and are found to grow near river banks. Also referred to as Zebrano, Amouk, Zingana, Allen ele, African Zebrawood, this wood is distributed in Western Africa - mainly Cameroon and Gabon and is considered an endangered species.

Color: Yellow brown heartwood, light sapwood with a dark contrasting grain which gives this wood its Zebra-like appearance.
Grain: Moderately coarse texture, close defined grain.
Characteristics: Fair workability - Veneers are fragile and can break easily. Grain can tend to tear when planing. Tends to shrink quite a bit. It can be unsuitable for some furniture. Zebrawood has good gluing properties and is resistant to termites.
Finishing: Satisfactory finish can be obtained after filling.


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