Wood Species

Wood Species



African Mahogany


Khaya is a genus of seven species of trees in the mahogany family Meliaceae, native to tropical Africa and  Madagascar.  All species become big trees 30-35 m tall, rarely 45 m, with a trunk over 1 m trunk diameter, often buttressed at the base.  The timber of Khaya is called African Mahogany, the only timber widely accepted as mahogany besides that of the true mahogany, of the genus Swietenia.  Khaya Senegalensis, also known as the African Dry Zone Mahogany or Mubaba in the Shona language is also used for it’s herbaceous parts.  In west Africa, Fulani herdmen prune the tree during the dry season to feed cattle,  In addition, the bark of Khaya Senegalensis is often harvested from natural populations as well as plantations and used to treat many diseases.  

  Some drum companies, as Premier, used Khaya wood for making their drums in the mid-70’s.  However. It was too expensive, so they switched to using other materials such as maple and birch.  The name Mahogany is commonly applied to many different kinds of tropical hardwood, most of which are reddish-brown in color and widely employed in furniture making, boat building and other high specification uses.

  The origin of the name, Mahogany, is uncertain, but it could be a corruption of m`oganwo`, the name used by the Yoruba and Ibo people of West Africa to describe trees of the genus Khaya.




  Fraxinus is a genus of flowering plants in the olive and lilac family, The tree’s common English name, Ash, hoes back to Old English, while the generic name originated in Latin.  Both words meant “spear” in their respective languages. Ash is a hardwood and is hard, dense, tough and very strong but elastic, extensively used for making bows, tool handles, baseball bats, hurleys and other uses demanding high strength and resilience.  It is also often used as material for electric guitar bodies and, less commonly, for acoustic guitar bodies, known for its bright, cutting tone and sustaining quality.  They are also used for making drum shells.  Interior joinery is another common user of both European Ash and White Ash.   Ash veneers are extensively used in office furniture.  Woodworkers generally like the timber for its great finishing qualities.  It also has good machining qualities, and is quite easy to use with nails, screws and glue.  Ash was commonly used for the structural members of the bodies of cars made by carriage builders.  Early cars had frames which were intended to flex as part of the suspension system in order to simplify construction.  The Morgan Motor Company of Great Britain still manufacture sports cars with frames made from Ash.  It was also widely used by early aviation pioneers for the aircraft.




Bamboo, in the true grass family, is one of the fastest-growing plants on Earth with reported growth rates of 100 cm (39 in) in 24 hours. However, the growth rate is dependent on local soil and climatic conditions as well as species, and a more typical growth rate for many commonly cultivated bamboos in temperate climates is in the range of 3–10 cm (1-4 inches) per day during the growing period. Primarily growing in regions of warmer climates during the late Cretaceous period, vast fields existed in what is now Asia. Some of the largest timber bamboo can grow over 30 metres (98 ft) tall, and be as large as 15–20 cm (6-8 inches) in diameter. However, the size range for mature bamboo is species dependent, with the smallest bamboos reaching only several inches high at maturity. A typical height range that would cover many of the common bamboos grown in the United States is 15–40 feet, depending on species.Unlike trees, individual bamboo culms emerge from the ground at their full diameter and grow to their full height in a single growing season of 3–4 months. During these several months, each new shoot grows vertically into a culm with no branching out until the majority of the mature height is reached. Then the branches extend from the nodes and leafing out occurs. In the next year, the pulpy wall of each culm or stem slowly hardens. During the third year, the culm hardens further. The shoot is now considered a fully mature culm. Over the next 2–5 years (depending on species), fungus and mold begin to form on the outside of the culm, which eventually penetrate and overcome the culm. Around 5 – 8 years later (species and climate dependent), the fungal and mold growth cause the culm to collapse and decay. This brief life means culms are ready for harvest and suitable for use in construction within about 3 – 7 years. Individual bamboo culms do not get any taller or larger in diameter in subsequent years than they do in their first year, and they do not replace any growth that is lost from pruning or natural breakage. Bamboos have a wide range of hardiness depending on species and locale. Small or young specimens of an individual species will produce small culms initially. As the clump and its rhizome system matures, taller and larger culms will be produced each year until the plant approaches its particular species limits of height and diameter.Many tropical bamboo species will die at or near freezing temperatures, while some of the hardier or so-called temperate bamboos can survive temperatures as low as −29 °C (−20 °F). Some of the hardiest bamboo species can be grown in places as cold as USDA Plant Hardiness Zones 5-6, although they typically will defoliate and may even lose all above-ground growth; yet the rhizomes will survive and send up shoots again the next spring. In milder climates, such as USDA Zone 8 and above, some hardy bamboo may remain fully leafed out year around.




Dalbergia Latifolia (synonym Amerimnon Latifolium) is an economically important timber species native to low elevation tropical monsoon forests of eastern India.  Some common names in English include Blackwood, Bombay Blackwood, Rosewood, Roseta Rosewood, East Indian rosewood, Black Rosewood, Indian Palisandre and Java Palisandre.  Its Indian common names are Beete and Sitsal.  The tree produces a hard, durable, heavy wood that, when properly cured, is durable and resistant to rot and insects.  It is grown as a plantation wood in both India and Java, often in dense, single species groves, to produce its highly desirable long straight bore.  Wood from the tree is used in premium furniture making and cabinetry, as veneer, as plywood, for outdoor furniture and as a bentwood, and for turning..  

Under the Indian Forest Act, 1927 the exportation of lumber products from wild harvested Dalbergia Latifolia is illegal.  There exists an international high demand and price for the wood due to its excellent qualities of having a long straight bore, its strength, and its high density.  However, the tree is slow-growing, Javanese plantations were started in the late nineteenth century, but, due to its slow groth, plantations have not expanded beyond Java and India.




  Brosimum Rubescens is a genus of plants in the mulberry family, Moraceae, native to tropical regions of South America.  A bight, vivid red, the color can darken to a darker brownish red over time with exposure to light and air.  The grain has a fine texture with small pores and is usually straight or slightly wavy.  Durable and resistant to most insect attack, Bloodwood is extremely dense and has a prodounced blunting effect on cutters, beyond that it turns, finishes and glues well.  The wood tends to be brittle and can splinter easily while being worked. Having a mild scent while being worked, the dust has been reported as occasionally causing effects such as thirst and salivation, as well as nausea.  Though it is considered an exotic tropical hardwood, Bloodwood’s  price is fairly moderate. It is no wonder that Bloodwood has grown so popular as an imported wood species, as it is exceptionally har, durable, strong and beautiful.  It is used for both trim and accents, as well as larger structural elements in furniture.


Bolivian Rosewood


(Caesalpinia Ferrea)  Caesalpinia Ferrea, commonly known as Pau Ferro, Brazilian Ironwood, or Leopardtree, is a tree found in Brazil and Bolivia.  Its wood is often used for making fingerboards for electric basses and guitars.  It has a similar feel and similar tonal attributes to rosewood, but is harder and has a slightly lighter color.  The wood may also be used for flooring, fancy furniture, and handgun grips.  It is also known by the names morado, palo santos, caviuana, Brazilian Ironwood and Bolivian Rosewood, though it is not actually rosewood.In guitar making, pau ferro is not only used for fingerboards or bridges but also can be used for the back and sides of the acoustic guitar.  The Brazilian guitar maker Biannini uses the wood (laminated) in many of its classical guitars.  Although similar in many ways to rosewood, pau ferro has slightly different tonal qualities, with coloration from coffee brown to yellow brown and purple.  The Stevie Ray Vaughan model Signature Fender Stratocaster comes with a pau ferro fingerboard.

Pau ferro, used as a rosewood substitute, is a strong sensitizer capable of causing acute outbreaks of allergic and irritant dermatitis in workers not previously exposed to it.  This, however, has not prevented furniture factories from using the product.  Apparently, most workers develop tolerance to the wood.  The allergen is ®-3,4-dimethoxydalbergion, a strong skin sensitizer.


Bradford Pear


(Pyrus calleryana) The Bradford Pear is a cultivated variety of the Callery Pear. Unlike most other pear trees this form is grown mainly for its ornamental features. The showy, white flowers appear during spring growth, often before the leaves. In contrast to their appearance, however, the flowers have an unpleasant odor. In autumn the leaves turn bright red to dark red before falling. The fruits are small and round, less than 1 inch in diameter, hardly resembling the traditional pear in appearance. While on a tree they are hardly visible, being hidden by leaves. The Bradford Pear is very disease resistant, making it useful as a street tree. But the relatively short life span (about 25 to 30 years) makes it necessary to replace individuals more frequently than with most other street or screen trees.
Pear wood (of any species) has one of the finest textures of the fruitwoods. It is prized for making woodwind instruments, and pear veneer is used in fine furniture. Callery (Bradford) pear has been used as rootstock for grafting such pear cultivars as Comice, Bosc, or Seckel, (European Pears) and especially for Nashi (Chinese) pear. Pyrus calleryana was first introduced into the United States (in 1909 and 1916) for agricultural experimentation, pre-dating the recognition of the potential value appreciation of the species as an ornamental plant in the 1950s.




Guilbourtia Demeusi, common name Bubinga is a species of tree belonging to the family Fabaceae.  The wood is often used by luthiers for harps and other instruments, such as bass guitars, because of it’s mellow and well-rounded sound.   Warwick Bass and Ibanez are known to use Bubinga.  Drum companies such as Tama offer various high-end drum kits with plies of Bubinga in the shells.  Crafter also use Bubinga on some of their instruments.  Bubinga  is used in both acoustic and electric guitars for its figure and hardness.  It is sometimes used in the production of archery bows, and  also in furniture making, usually for tables, as large slabs of the dense wood can be 

cut to be used for table tops.  Bubinga is used in the production of handgun grips andluxury car maker Lexus also makes use of the wood in their luxury vehicles.  Having an appearance similar to the mineral tiger eye, Bubinga  is light brown through dark brown and red, some samples show as almost purple.


Cocobolo Rosewood


Cocobolo is a tropical hardwood of the tree Dalbergia retusa from Central America. Only the heartwood is used: this is typically orange or reddish-brown in color, often with a figuring of darker irregular traces weaving through the wood. The sapwood (not often used) is a creamy yellow, with a sharp boundary with the heartwood. The heartwood is known to change color after being cut, lending to its appeal.  Cocobolo is oily in look and feel. This oil lends a strong, unmistakable floral odor even to well seasoned wood and occasionally stains the hands with prolonged exposure. Standing up well to repeated handling and exposure to water, a common use is in gun grips and knife handles. It is very hard, fine textured and dense, but is easily machined, although due to the abundance of natural oils, the wood tends to clog abrasives and fine-toothed saw blades, like other very hard, very dense tropical woods. Due to its density and hardness, even a large block of the cut wood will produce a clear musical tone if struck. Cocobolo can be polished to a lustrous, glassy finish. The high natural oil content of the wood makes it difficult to achieve a strong glue joint, and can inhibit the curing of some varnishes, particularly oil based finishes.

Besides its use in gun grips and knife handles, Cocobolo is favored for fine inlay work for custom high-end cue sticks, police batons, pens, brush backs, and musical instruments, especially guitars, drums and basses. Alembic Inc considers cocobolo to be its house wood, and many famous players such as Stanley Clarke use such basses. Jerry Garcia's Tiger (guitar) has a cocobolo top and back. Most recently acoustic guitars are being made from cocobolo due to limitations in certain tonewoods. Company's like Ibanez and Dean Guitars have launched an exotic wood series featuring cocobolo and other exotic woods (those there are laminates, with a cocobolo veneer.) PRS and R. Taylor guitars have also used solid cocobolo for back and side sets on their higher end models. Cocobolo is growing in popularity among smaller builders, this is due to it's great acoustic properties much like Brazilian rosewood, and for the fact that it is much more aesthetically pleasing than other more readily available rosewood species such as East Indian rosewood. Some woodwind instruments, such as clarinetsoboes, and bagpipes, have been successfully made using cocobolo instead of the normal grenadilla (African blackwood). More uses include decorative and figured veneers, bowls, jewelry boxes, luxury pens, duck and goose calls, and other expensive specialty items. Some cocobolo has a specific gravity of over 1.0, and will sink in water.


Copper Beech


(Fagus Sylvatica Purpurea Group)  Copper Beech is in a group of European Beech or Common Beech (Fagus Sylvatica) belonging to the beech family Fagaceae.  Its leaves are purple in many selections turning deep spinach green by mid-summer.  The wood is used in the manufacture of numerous objects and implements.  Its fine and short grain makes it an easy wood to work with, easy to soak,  dye 9except its heartwood), varnish and glue.  Steaming makes the wood even easier to machine.  It has an excellent finish and is resistant to compression and splitting.  Milling is sometimes difficult dueto cracking and it is stiff when flexed.  It is particularly well suited for minor carpentry, particularly furniture.  From chairs to parquetry (flooring) and staircases, it can do almost anything other than heavy structural support, so long as it is not left outdoors.  Its hardness make it ideal for making wooden mallets and workbench tops.  The wood rots easily if it is not protected by a tar based on a distillate of its own bark (as used in railway sleepers).  It is better for paper pulp than many other broadleaved trees though is only sometimes used for this.  It is also considered one of the best fire woods for fireplaces.  Primary Product AM 91, a smoke flavouring, is produced from Fagus Sylvatica L.




The Cupressaceae or cypress family is a conifer family with worldwide distribution. The family includes 27 to 30 genera (17 monotypic), which include the junipers and redwoods, with about 130-140 species in total. They are monoecious, subdioecious or (rarely) dioecioustrees and shrubs from 1–116 m (3–379 ft) tall. The bark of mature trees is commonly orange- to red- brown and of stringy texture, often flaking or peeling in vertical strips, but smooth, scaly or hard and square-cracked in some species.
Cupressaceae is the most widely distributed conifer family, with a near-global range in all continents except for Antarctica, stretching from 71°N in arctic Norway (Juniperus communis) south to 55°S in southernmost Chile (Pilgerodendron uviferum), while Juniperus indica reaches 5200 m altitude in Tibet, the highest altitude reported for any woody plant. Most habitats on land are occupied, with the exceptions of polar tundra and tropical lowland rainforest (though several species are important components of temperate rainforests and tropical highland cloud forests); they are also rare in deserts, with only a few species able to tolerate severe drought, notably Cupressus dupreziana in the central Sahara. Despite the wide overall distribution, many genera and species show very restricted relictual distributions, and many are endangered specie
Many of the species are important timber sources, especially in the genera Calocedrus, Chamaecyparis, Cryptomeria, Cunninghamia, Cupressus, Sequoia, Taxodium, and Thuja. These and several other genera are also important in horticulture. Junipers are among the most important evergreen shrubs, groundcovers and small evergreen trees, with hundreds of cultivars selected, including plants with blue, grey, or yellow foliage. Chamaecyparis and Thuja also provide hundreds of dwarf cultivars as well as trees, including Lawson's Cypress and the infamous hybridLeyland Cypress. Dawn Redwood is widely planted as an ornamental tree because of its excellent horticultural qualities, rapid growth and status as a living fossil. Giant Sequoia is a popular ornamental tree and is occasionally grown for timber. Giant Sequoia, Leyland Cypress, and Arizona Cypress are grown to a small extent as Christmas trees. Sugi (Cryptomeria japonica) is the national tree of Japan, and Ahuehuete (Taxodium mucronatum) the national tree of Mexico. Coast Redwood and Giant Sequoia were jointly designated the state tree of California and are famous California tourist attractions. Redwood National and State Parks and several parks including Giant Sequoia National Monument protect almost half the remaining stands of Coast Redwoods and Giant Sequoias. Bald Cypress is the state tree of Louisiana. Bald Cypress, often festooned with Spanish moss, of Southern swamps are another tourist attraction. They can be seen at Big Cypress National Preserve in Florida. Bald Cypress "knees" are often sold as knick knacks, made into lamps or carved to make folk art. Monterey Cypress is another famous picturesque tree often visited by tourists and photographers.


Eastern Red Cedar


Juniperus virginiana (Eastern Red Cedar, Red Cedar, Eastern Juniper, Red Juniper, Pencil Cedar) is a species of juniper native to eastern North America  from southeastern Canada to the Gulf of Mexico and east of the Great Plains.    The fine-grained, soft brittle pinkish-to brownish-red heartwood is fragrant, very light and very durable, even in contact with soil.  Because of it’s rot resistance, the wood is used for fence posts.  The aromatic wood is avoided by moths,  so it is in demand as lining for clothes chests and closets.  If correctly prepared, it makes excellent English  longbows, flatbows, and Native American sinew-backed bows.  The wood is marketed as “Eastern Red Cedar” or “Aromatic Cedar”.  The best portions of the heartwood are one of the few woods good for making pencils,  but the supply had diminished sufficiently by the 1940s that it was largely replaced by Incense Cedar.  

  Native American Tribes  used Juniper wood poles to mark out agreed tribal hunting territories.  French traders named  Baton Rouge, LA (meaning “Red Stick”) from the reddish color of these poles.


Holy Land Olive Wood


The olive tree is native to the Holy Land where it has been cultivated since ancient times. According to historians, the first olive groves took root in the Holy Land and along the coast of the eastern Mediterranean around 4,000 B.C.  The olive tree is a slow growing tree and can live for many hundreds of years. Reaching the age of 200 the trunk disappears, shoots develop at the base of the trunk and eventually grow into a new tree, hence the olive tree is known as the “immortal tree”. The people of the Holy Land protect the tree refusing to ever cut them down. In the middle of October (harvest season) , the people of the Holy Land pick their olive trees. They squeezed some and make some into jarred olives to eat.   Moreover, the Olive Tree has both a sentimental and religious significance to all nations and all religions and especially for Christians. The Bible demonstrates the importance of the Olive Tree, for instance, the Bible frequently refers to the Olive Tree as a symbol of fertility and prosperity. Besides, it is known that the Olive Tree symbolizes peace, this comes from the Old Testament: a dove was sent by Noah after the Great Flood in order to find land. The dove came back carrying an olive branch. Also it is said that Jesus prayed underneath an Olive Tree in the Garden of Gethsemane after the last supper.


Honduras Mahogany


   Swietenia Humilis is a tree species in the diverse Meliaceae family.  The Genus Swietenia, the true mahoganies, is made up of three species:  Swietenia Mahagoni, Swietenia Macrophylla, and Swietenia Humilis.  The Latin, humilis, translates to small or dwarfish.  S. Humilis at 6 m (20 feet) reaches one-fifth the height of S. Mahagoni, and one-sixth the height of S. Macrophylla.

  The best descriptive vernacular name is Pacific Coast Mahogany.  The lumber and wood trades have long called it Honduras Mahogany or Mexican Mahogany.  It is locally known as Caoba del Pacifico, Caoba del Honduras, Caobilla, Cobano, Caobilla, Gateado, Sopilocuahuilt, Venadillo, Zapaton and Zopilote.  The name Mahogany is commonly applied to many different kinds of tropical hardwood, most of which are reddish-brown in color and widely employed in furniture making, boat building and other high specification uses.  It has excellent workability, and is very durable.  Historically, the tree’s girth allowed for wide boards from traditional mahogany species.  These properties make it a favorable wood for crafting cabinets and furniture.  Much of the first-quality furniture made in the American colonies from the mid 18th century was made of mahogany , when wood first became available to American craftsmen. 


Indian Rosewood


Dalbergia sissoo, also known as shisham, sissoo, sisu, sheesham, tahli and, sometimes, Indian rosewood, is an erect deciduous tree, native to the Indian Subcontinent and Southern Iran. In Persian it is called جگ Jag. It is the state tree of Punjab state (India) and the provincial tree of Punjab province (Pakistan). It is primarily found growing along river banks below 900 metres (3,000 ft) elevation, but can range naturally up to 1,300 m (4,300 ft). The temperature in its native range averages 10–40 °C (50–104 °F), but varies from just below freezing to nearly 50 °C(122 °F). It can withstand average annual rainfall up to 2,000 millimetres (79 in) and droughts of 3–4 months. Soils range from pure sand and gravel to rich alluvium of river banks; shisham can grow in slightly saline soils. Seedlings are intolerant of shade.

Shisham is best known internationally as a premier timber species of the rosewood genus but is also used as fuel wood and for shade and shelter. With its multiple products and tolerance of light frosts and long dry seasons, this species deserves greater consideration for tree farming, reforestation and agro forestry applications. After teak, it is the most important cultivated timber tree of the Bihar, which is the largest producer of shisham timber in India and Pakistan. In the Bihar, the tree is planted on roadsides, along canals and as a shade tree for tea plantations. It is also commonly planted in southern Indian cities like Bangalore as a street tree.Shisham is among the finest cabinet and veneer timbers. It is the wood from which 'Kartaals', the Rajasthani percussion instrument, are often made. In addition to musical instruments, it is used for plywood, agricultural tools, carvings, boats, skis, flooring, etc.The heartwood is golden to dark brown; the sapwood, white to pale brownish white. The heartwood is extremely durable (the specific gravity is 0.7 – 0.8) and is very resistant to dry-wood termites; but the sapwood is readily attacked by fungi and borers. Dalbergia sissoo is known to contain the neoflavonoid dalbergichromene in its stem-bark and heartwood.




Species in this genus are important as timber trees.  The wood is used for furniture, decking, and other outdoor uses.  It is increasingly popular as a decking material due to its insect resistance and durability.    Indigenous peoples of the Amazon made hunting bows from the wood, which is the source of the common name pau d`arco, “bow stick”. Tabebuia is widely used as ornamental tree in the tropics in landscaping gardens, public squares, and boulevards due to its impressive and colorful flowering.    Much of the Ipe` imported into the United States is used for decking.  Starting in the late 1960’s, importing companies targeted large boardwalk projects to sell Ipe`,

Beginning with New York City Department of Parks and Recreations which maintains the city’s boardwalks, including along the beach of  Coney Island.  The city began using Ipe` around that time and has since converted the entire boardwalk-over 10 miles long=to Ipe`.  In 2008-2009 Wildwood, New Jersey rebuilt a section of their boardwalk using Ipe`, the town had pledged to use domestic Black Locust, but it was not available in time.

  Nowadays, Ipe` wood from cultivated trees supersedes timber extracted from the wild.



(Olneya tesota)Ironwood is one of the largest and longest-lived Sonoran Desert plants, reaching 45 feet in height and persisting as long as 1,500 years.It is a single or multi-trunked evergreen tree, and displays lavender to pink flowers in May. By early summer, the pods mature. Each 2-inch pod contains one to four shiny brown seeds that are relished by many Sonoran animals, from small mammals and birds to humans. Its iron-like wood is renowned as one of the world's densest woods.The shaded sanctuary and richer soils created by ironwoods increase plant diversity and provide benefits to wildlife. Ironwoods are too hard to provide nesting cavities for birds, but the cacti that grow beneath them provide such opportunities. Insects abound within the ironwood complex, attracting birds and reptiles. As with other legumes, the ironwood's leaf litter supplies nitrogen to the soil and its seeds provide a protein-rich resource for doves, quail, coyotes, and many small rodents.The Ironwood tree is found only in the Sonoran Desert, in the dry locales below 2,500 feet, where freezing temperatures are uncommon. In fact the Ironwood's habitat is almost an exact match of the Sonoran Desert boundry. Ironwoods are most common in dry ephemeral washes. Ironwoods function as oases of fertile and sheltered habitat within a harsh and challenging desert landscape. As a tree becomes established, it tempers the physical environment beneath it, creating a micro-habitat with less direct sunlight, lower surface temperatures, more organic matter, higher water availability, and protection from herbivores. Because of these factors, the Ironwood tree has immense ecological value in the Sonoran Desert.Ironwood grows taller than most trees in Sonoran desert scrub, so it serves as a great perch and roost for hawks and owls. It's dense canopy is utilized by nearly 150 bird species. Add tall ironwoods to the scrubby vegetation on some desert bajadas, and you're likely to add 63 percent more birds than creosote, cactus and bursage alone could support. The ironwood's canopies are so dense that they reduce the probability of extreme heat exposure in the summer.Air temperatures may be 15 degrees cooler under ironwoods than in the open desert sun five feet away. Ironwood also shelters frost sensitive young saguaros, organ pipe cactus, night-blooming cereus and many other native plants growing beneath them. More than 230 plant species have been recorded starting their growth within the protective microclimate under ironwood "nurse plants." This also creates an optimum wildflower nursery which is foraged by rabbits, bighorn, and other native species.In addition to the birds, there are 62 reptiles and amphibians, and 64 mammals that use ironwoods for forage, cover and birthing grounds. At just one site in the Silverbell Mountains, an ironwood-bursage habitat also shelters some 188 kinds of bees, 25 ant colonies, and 25 other types of insects. That adds up to an extraordinary level of biodiversity.




Also called  Guapinol, Jatoba is a tree common to the Caribbean, Central and South America.  It is a hardwood that is used for furniture, flooring and decorative purposes.  Although Jatoba is sometimes referred to as Brazilian Cherry or South American Cherry, it is not a cherry tree but a legume belonging to the Fabaceae family.  Depneding on the locale, Jatoba is also known as Brazilian Copal, South American Locust, or the West Indian Locust.  It is also known as Stinking Toe, Old Man’s Toe or Stinktoe because of the unpleasant odor of the edible pulp inside it’s seed pods.Jatoba produces an orange, resinous, sticky gum that converts to amber through a chemical process that requires millions of years.  Amber of million -year-old Hymenaea trees have provided scientists with many clues to it’s prehistoric presence on Earth as well as to the often extinct insects and plants encased in it, as shown in the Jurassic Park films.

  Jatoba wood features a tan/salmon color with black accent stripes that over time turns to a deep rich red color. 


                                           Leopard Wood


Panopsis rubellens of the family Proteaceae. This South American wood has an appearance VERY similar to Roupala brasiliense (South American lacewood) but can often be distinguished from it with a small amount of experience --- it is darker brown in color and is harder and heavier and with a noticibly finer texture. It is sometimes called lacewood just as lacewood is sometimes called leopardwood. The two woods Panopsis rubellens and Roupala brasiliense are often confused with each other, because they share both common names and characteristics.  The names lacewood, leopardwood, sycamore, and silky oak all refer (in the USA) to woods that have large, obvious, ray flakes in quartersawn cuts and there is enormous cross-use of common names and confusion among various of the species that these common names represent. Also, there is sometimes great similarity in actual wood appearance and that of course adds to the possibilities for confusion. There are some other woods that also get into the game, more because of name confusion than due to any likelihood that the woods themselves would be confused.




Acer is a genus of trees or shrubs commonly known as maple.  Some of the larger maple species have valuable timber, particularly Sugar Maple in North America, and Sycamore Maple in Europe.  Sugar Maple wood - often known as “Hard Maple” - is the wood of choice for bowling pins, bowling alley lanes, pool cue shafts, and butcher’s blocks.  Maple wood is also used for the manufacture of wooden baseball bats, though less often than Ash or Hickory due to the tendency of maple bats to shatter when broken.  Maple is also commonly used in archery as the core material in the limbs of Recurve Bow due to its stiffness and strength.    Some Maple wood has a highly decorative wood grain, known as Flame MapleQuilt Maple, Birdseye Maple and  Burl Wood.  This condition occurs randomly in individual trees of several species, and often cannot be detected until the wood has been sawn, though it is sometimes visible in the standing tree as rippled pattern in the bark.  

  These select decorative wood pieces also have subcategories which further filter the aesthetic looks.  Crotch Wood, Bees Wing, Cats Paw, Old Growth and Mottled are some terms used to describe the look of these decorative woods.

  Maples have a long history of use for furniture  production in the United States.  Considered a tone wood, Maple is used in numerous musical instrument




Acacia Bakeri, known as the Marblewood is one of the largest of all Acacias, growing to 40 meters tall is is a long lived climax rainforest tree from eastern Australia.  Unlike most Acacias, fire is not required for seed germination.  The tree is considered vulnerable to extinction.  Its former habitat is lowland sub tropical rainforest which has been mostly cleared in the 19th and 20th century.The natural range of distribution is from Brunswick Heads in north eastern New South Wales to Maryborough, Queensland.  The wood has beautiful grain patterns that are different in each piece.  Marblewood is used extensively in the making of cabinets.  It is hard to work with but turns well on a lathe.  It also polishes very well.  Due to these reasons, it is a popular wood among wood turners




Padauk wood is obtained from several species of Pterocarpus. All padauks are of African or Asian origin. Padauks are valued for their toughness, stability in use, and decorativeness, most having a reddish wood. Most Pterocarpus woods contain either water- or alcohol-soluble substances and can be used as dyes.

The padauk found most often is African Padauk from Pterocarpus soyauxii which, when freshly cut, is a very bright red but when exposed to sunlight fades over time to a warm brown. Its colour makes it a favourite among woodworkers. Burmese Padauk is Pterocarpus macrocarpuswhile Andaman Padauk is Pterocarpus dalbergioides. Padauks can be confused with rosewoods to which they are somewhat related, but as a general rule padauks are coarser and less decorative in figure.

Some padauks, e.g. P. soyauxii, are used as herbal medicines, for example to treat skin parasites and fungal infections.




Though persimmon trees belong to the same genus as ebony trees, persimmon tree wood has a limited use in the manufacture of objects requiring hard wood.  It is hard, but cracks easily and is somewhat difficult to process.  Persimmon wood is used for paneling in traditional Korean and Japanese furniture.  

  In North America, the lightly colored, fine-grained wood of Diospyros virginiana is used to manufacture billiard cues and textile shuttles.  It is also used in the percussion field as the shaft of the Tim Genis Signature Timpani Mallet Collection, as well as several Vic Firth and Cooperman drumsticks.  Persimmon wood was also heavily used in making the highest-quality heads of golf clubs known as woods until the golf industry moved primarily to metal woods in the last years of the 20th century.  In fact, the first metal woods made by TaylorMade, an early pioneer of that club type, were branded as “Pittsburgh Persimmons”.  Perssimmon  woods are still made, but in far lower numbers than in past decades.  Over the last few decades persimmon wood has become popular among bow craftsmen, especially in the making of traditional longbows.  Persimmon wood is used im making a small number of wooden flutes and eating utensils such as wooden spoons and cornbread knives (wooden knives that may cut through the bread without scarring the dish.


                                               Pink Ivory


(Berchemia zeyheri), also called Red Ivory, umNini or umGoloty, is a very rare African wood used to make luxury products (for example billiard cues and knives). The Pink Ivory tree grows predominantly in Zimbabwe, Mozambique and South Africa. The wood is extremely hard, with a density of 990 g/dm³. Pink Ivory is the royal tree of the Zulus because only the royal family were allowed to possess the wood. A legend was started in order to increase the value of the wood when sold overseas. The "legend" claimed that anyone else other than the Zulu royal family possessing the wood (including foreigners) was said to be punished with death.


Purple Heart


This Wood is best known for its unusual purple color.  Purple Heart is found most common in the Amazon basin, and frequently grows in Columbia, Guyana, Surinam and Vanezuela.  It is also known as Nazareno, Morado, Tananeo and Guarabu.  

This wood has exceptional bending strength (far stronger than Maple, Oak or Teak) with a high tolerance to shock loading.  It is highly desired by hobbyist and craftsmen who use this hard heavy wood in small projects.

The trees are tall and grow to 150 feet with trunk diameters up to 48 inches.




Rosewood refers to any of a number of richly hued timbers, often brownish with darker veining, but found in many different hues. All rosewoods are strong and heavy, taking an excellent polish, being suitable for guitarsmarimbasturnery (billiard cues, the black pieces in chess sets, etc), handles, furniture, luxury flooring, etc.In general, supplies are poor through overexploitation. Some species become canopy trees (up to 30 m high), and large pieces can occasionally be found in the trade.

All genuine rosewoods belong to the genus Dalbergia. The pre-eminent rosewood appreciated in the western world is the wood of Dalbergia nigra which is now a CITES – listed endangered species. It is best known as Brazilian Rosewood, but also as "Rio Rosewood" or "Bahia Rosewood." This wood has a strong sweet smell, which persists over the years, explaining the name "rosewood".Another classic rosewood is that yielded by Dalbergia latifolia known as (East) Indian Rosewood or sonokeling. It can be found in tropical AmericaSoutheast Asia, and Madagascar.Not all species in the large genus Dalbergia yield rosewoods; only about a dozen species do. The woods of some other species in the genusDalbergia are notable—even famous—woods in their own right: African BlackwoodCocoboloKingwood, and Tulipwood. The woods of some other species are usable for tool handles at best.Some members of the Indian souvenir trade currently misrepresent merchandise made of Dalbergia sissoo (sometimes stained purple) as rosewood.




   Entandrophragma Cylindricum, commonly known as the Sapele, is a large tree native to tropical Africa.  The tree is also know as Sapelli or Aboudikro.  There are protected populations and felling restrictions in place in various countries.  Sapele grows to a height of upto 45 m high (rarely 60 m).  The leaves are deciduous in the dry season, alternately arranged, pinnate, with 5-9 pairs of leaflets, each leaflet about 10 cm long.  The flowers are produced in the loose inflorescences when the tree is leafless, each flower about 5 mm diameter, with five yellowish petals.  The fruit is a pendulous capsule about 10 cm long and 4 cm broad, when mature it splits into five sections to release the 15-20 seeds.  The commercially important wood is reminiscent of mahogany, a member of the same family, with a distinctive figure, typically applied where figure is important.  It has a density of 640 kg per cubic meter.  It is most commonly used for flooring.   Among its more exotic uses is that in musical instruments.  It is used for the top, back and sides of acoustic guitar bodies as well as the tops of electric guitar bodies.  It is also used in manufacturing the neck pieces of ukuleles and 26 and 36 string harps.  In the  late 90’s, it started to be used as a board for Basque percussion instruments.   The American car maker Cadillac also uses Sapele wood for the interior wood trim on its vehicles.




(Tetona Grandis)  Teak is the common name for the tropical hardwood tree species Tectona Grandis and its wood products.  Tectona Grandis is native to south and southeast Asia, mainly India, Indonesia, Malaysia and Burma, but is naturalized and cultivated in many countries, including those in Africa and the Caribbean.  Burma accounts for nearly one third of the world’s total teak production.  The work teak comes from the Tamil (in the Dravidan region) word thekku.  Teak is used extensively in India to make doors and window frames, furniture and columns and beams in old type houses.  It is very resistant to termite attacks.  Mature teak fetches a very good price.  It is grown extensively by forest departments of different states in forest areas.  Teak is also used extensively in boat decks, as it is extremely durable and requires very little maintenance.  The teak tends to wear in to the softer ‘summer’ growth bands first, forming a natural ‘non-slip’ surface.  Any sanding is therefore only damaging.  Use of modern cleaning compounds, oil or preservatives will shorten the life of the teak, as it contains natural teak-oil a very small distance below the white surface.  Wooden boat experts will only wash the teak with salt water, and re-caulk when needed.  This cleans the deck, and prevents it from drying out and the wood shrinking.  The salt helps it absorb and retain moisture and prevents any mildew and algal growth.




  Coula Edulis is a tree in the genus Coula, native to tropical western Africa from Sierra Leone to Angola.  It is plentiful in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Nigeria and Sierra Leone.  It prefers tropical regions and is tolerant of light shade.  It can be found in the top canopy of forest as well as in lower story and has no special soil requirements.  It is an evergreen tree growing to a height of 25-38 m, and has a dense crown that can cast  deep shade.    Every part of the tree is used in both raw and finished states.  It’s timber and nuts are used extensively.  The bark is used locally to produce rinses for loin pain or kidney problems.  The wood is used to make pilings for bridges and railway ties in addition to charcoal and standard construction.  It is also used for furniture and cabinet work construction, decorative veneers, paneling, fixtures and joinery.

  The wood is bronze-colored, yellow-brown with irregular dark lines which is how the name Tigerwood was derived.  It is extremely hard, heavy, close-grained, and resists water well, making it a valuable hardwood.  Increasing that value is the fact that it can come in large sizes, has an attractive appearance and easy to shape with tools.  Woods from tropical Africa are coming under export restrictions to curb excessive logging.




Juglans is a plant genus of the family Juglandaceae, the seeds of which are known as Walnuts.  The 21 species in the genus range across the north temperate Old World from southeast Europe east to Japan, and more widely in the New World from southeast Canada west to California and south to Argentina.  The trivial name walnut derives from Old English wealhhnutu, literally ‘foreign nut,’ with wealh meaning ‘foreign.’  The walnut was so called because it was introduced from Gaul and Italy.  The Latin name for the Walnut was nux Gallica, Gallic nut.  The two most commercially important species are Juglans Regia for timber and nuts, and Juglans Nigra for timber.  Both species have similar cultivation requirements and are widely grown in temperate zones.  

  The common walnut and black walnut and it’s allies, are important for their attractive timber, which is hard, dense tight-grained and polishes to a very smooth finish.  The color ranges from creamy white in the sapwood to a dark choclate colour in the heartwood.  When kiln-dried, walnut wood tends toward a dull brown color, but when air-dried can become a rich purplish-brown.  Because of it’s color, hardness and grain, it is a prized furniture and carving wood.  Walnut burls are commonly used to create bowls and other turned pieces.  Walnut wood has been the timber of choice for gun makers for centuries.

                                              White Limba


                                          (Terminalia Superba) 

Terminalia Superba is a large tree in the family Combreataceae, native to tropical western Africa.  It grows up to 60 meters tall, with a domed or flat crown, and a trunk typically clear of branches for much of its height, buttressed at the base.  The leaves are 10 cm long and 5 cm broad, and are deciduous in the dry season (November to February).  The flowers are produced at the end of the dry season just before the new leaves; they are small and whitish, growing in loose spikes 10-12 cm long.  The fruit is a samara with two wings.   The wood is either a light (White Limba) or with dark stripes (Black Limba or Korina) hardwood.  Used for making furniture and musical instruments and prized for its workability and excellent color and finish.  The most famous example of its  use in guitars is when it was used by Gibson in producing their now highly sought-after Flying V and Explorer guitars in 1958.  When finished in a clear coat, White Limba results in an attractive light golden color.  Contrary to popular belief, it is not rare and expensive due to overharvesting and there is plenty of supply due to efforts in the 1950’s to preserve natural supply of the wood.  This species is reported to be relatively secure, with little or no threat to its population within its natural growth range, according to the World Conservation Monitoring Center of 1992.


                                                Zebra Wood


The wood of Microberlinia (also known as Zebrano) is imported from central Africa, (Gabon, Cameroon, and Congo). The heartwood is a pale golden yellow, distinct from the very pale color of the sapwood and features narrow streaks of dark brown to black. Zebra Wood can also be a pale brown with regular or irregular marks of dark brown in varying widths. It is almost always quartersawn to get the exciting alternating color pattern. It is a heavy, hard wood with a somewhat coarse texture, often with an interlocked or wavy grain. The interlocked grain of this wood, like that of many tropical woods, can make it difficult to work. It is also a decorative exotic wood, used in a limited way for veneer, wall paneling, custom furniture, furniture trim, inlay bandings, marquetry, specialty items and turnery. It is also sometimes seen as stocks of handguns or in exotic guitars. In the past, it was used in Cadillac and Mercedes-Benz automobiles. Because of its hardness, it can also be used for skis and tool handles.Zebra Wood is considered a threatened species in its native habitat. Its fast-growing popularity in the West has resulted in some reforestation efforts, but these are not keeping up with the pace of harvesting. The extensive use of Zebra Wood in Prada's flagship Manhattan store in 2002 resulted in protests from environmentalists and a promise from Prada never to use wood from endangered forests again.