Wenge is a porous wood that comes from Zaire in West Africa and the surrounding region. It is used for paneling and veneers. It is noted for its striking appearance and color. Wenge trees can grow to be 90 feet high and 3 feet in diameter. The color is almost black with tan and black lines and streaks. It is an oily wood, which makes it ideal for outdoor applications. On the down side, it is difficult to work with and requires sharp tools and good skills.
Purpleheart has been used for everything from ship building to pool cues. It is used in flooring, skis, flooring and tool handles. It is found in Central and South America. It is very resistant to termites and fungus, so its uses outdoors are many. The heartwood of the tree is bright purple when cut; however, ultraviolet rays, over time, turn it to a deep purple. This wood, like Wenge, can be a challenge to turn, since it dulls the cutting tools rapidly and varies from soft to extremely hard.
Tulipwood comes from Central and South America. It is found most often in Venezuela, Brazil, and Columbia. It is a very hard, dense wood with an elegant pink-yellow heartwood. Stripes appear in the wood from pink to deep red. It is used often for decorating other works of art since it has such a beautiful grain and color.
As soon as you see Zebrawood's striking light and dark stripes, you will know why it has its name. It comes most often from West Africa. The trees are usually medium to large in size and can be found most often along river banks. They can grow to be 150 feet high and 5 feet in diameter. The wood is used for decorative effects and is not well known in the US. It can be used for inlays, paneling, banding, and turning projects. It is difficult to plane and finish, which might explain its limited use.
This very durable wood is found in Brazil, Paraguay, and Uruguay in Latin America. It is a very dense, heavy wood with a two-tone grain pattern. Its trees grow to 120 feet tall with about 3 feet diameters. Although it is lesser known, it is one of the most beautiful woods from Central and South America.
Bloodwood is also found in Central and Latin America in the countries of Brazil, French Guiana, Guyana, and Suriname. It has an unusual deep red color and is a favorite with crafter's because it takes an excellent finish. On the down side, it is extremely hard and difficult to machine. The tree is of medium height with diameters of about 18 inches.
This beautiful, dark grained wood comes from Costa Rica, El Salvador, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, and Panama. The wood is used quite a bit for knife handles because its oily characteristics make it waterproof. That same characteristic gives it a fine natural polish when turned. The tree grows to a height of about 50 feet.
This rich dark wood has a beautiful texture and fine, straight grain. It is found mostly in Brazil. The wood is used mostly in decorative effects. The trees are quite small, so the wood is available only in small pieces, which restricts its uses.
This wood is a beautiful orange brown color. It is found in Africa from Nigeria to Zaire. It grows in small clusters in dense tropical rain forests. The tree is quite large with heights up to 130 feet with trunk diameters to 5 feet. The wood is weather resistant and can last 25 years in ground contact.
These are engineered woods. Many thin layers of wood veneers are dyed various colors and then pressed together under extreme pressure and bonded with resins. It makes a beautiful duck or deer call as well as spectacular pens. Unfortunately for me, when turning this wood, it comes off as dust rather than curls. Consequently, I have to wear a mask during the entire turning and sanding process. The finished product is well worth the effort, as it comes off extremely smooth and shiny. It has deep color variations.
Kabukalli is the name used in Guyana for a wood found in that country and all along the uplands of the Amazon. It is a large buttressed, semi-deciduous, canopy tree that grows to a height of 130 feet. It is usually about 2 feet in diameter. The heartwood is light reddish brown and darkens when exposed to UV light. It has a rather high luster and a medium texture. Its grain goes from straight grain to interlocking.
This is a Brazilian wood that is found from southern Mexico to Brazil and Peru. The tree grows to heights of 130 feet and 6 foot diameters at the trunk. The heartwood is salmon red to orange brown when fresh and turns to russet to reddish brown over time. It often has dark streaks to highlight the grain. It has a mostly interlocking grain, which is medium to coarse. It is moderately hard to saw and machine because of its high density, but it forms a smooth surface. It's used often for tool handles, furniture, railroad cross ties and to produce a gum called copal.
This is another Amazonian wood from the Guiana's and Brazil. It is a light brown wood, with gray and yellow streaks. It has a straight to wavy grain that is fairly coarse. It forms a medium to high luster when finished. The wood turns fairly well and polishes nicely if the grain is filled first. It is a very durable wood that is used in heavy construction work, boat building, flooring and furniture. I struggled to get a picture that does this wood justice. It is absolutely beautiful! Click on the image above to enlarge it.
Other woods coming soon are:
More to come soon