All photos are blocks I have sold or are on my site, All knives shown are made using woods I have sold. If you have made a knife using Greenberg Woods blocks, let me know! And you will be listed along with a link to your site or chosen form of contact.
*= wood could be stabilized
**= wood should be stabilized
***=wood MUST be stabilized for use in knives
** Tasmanian Blackwood: Acacia melanoxylon: A close relative of Koa, Blackwood matches or even surpasses its more famous cousin in terms of color and curl. sourced from the temperate forests of Australia, Tasmanian Blackwood has excellent workabilty and durability, combined with legendary finishing on par with koa. The color is similar to a cross between Mahogany and koa, with a glossy toasted brown color flecked with the reds, greens and blues characteristic of this wood. Sapwood looks like the highest possible grade of curly maple.
*** Sugi Cedar: Cryptomeria japonica: Rarely seen in the U.S, Sugi cedar is incredibly popular in its native japan. Used as a rot resistant wood for carving and instruments, it is often used as an upscale knife handle wood, as it has greater rot resistance than simple ho wood. Figure in Sugi is very rare, but these stock is glowing. The ultra fine grain and lack of pores means sugi can be polished to a stunning finish, and the professional stabilizing means it is durable and completely waterproof. With amazing curl and a storied history, sugi is the first choice for classic Japanese cutlery.
** Mango: Mangifera indica: Known for their delicious fruit, mango trees yield a workable, solid and deeply beautiful lumber. The wood color ranges from pale golden white to a toasted brown. It has a high degree of chatoyancy, catching the light and often seeming to glow. The wood can also be incredibly curly or even burled, often forming a beautiful spalt pattern known as black heart mango. The wood’s hardness is in the same range as walnut and koa, and stabilizing yields a highly durable, workable and beautiful product. The wood is also incredibly sustainable, as it is fast growing and widely planted throughout the tropics. It has excellent finishing, workability and stability.
Bloodwood: Brosimum rubescens: While most often utilized in lumber form, bloodwood is known for its incredible hardness, toughness and durability, along with its deep red color. While bloodwood is in the same family as snakewood, it is far more stable and resistant to cracking. Bloodwood burls are rare and harvested from the eastern coast of Central and South America. The burls are small and often full of voids, but the wood is brilliantly colored and figured, often with cluster burl eyes, streaking of blood red and bright orange or crested with sapwood.
** Jatoba: Hymenaea courbaril: Most commonly utilized in the U.S. as a decking wood, jatoba (also called Brazilian cherry) is a highly durable red wood similar to paduak. The sapwood, however, is a pale golden white that, due to fungal infection, yields beautiful spalting patterns. The jet black against pale white is some of the best contrast in wood, and while not as durable as heartwood, jatoba sapwood is still on par with tough domestic woods like hard maple. The wood has been stabilized professionally to prevent warping and bending and to increase the potential for a high-quality finish.
** Masur Birch: Betula pendula var. Carelica: One of the rarest woods to find in the states, masur birch is popular throughout Europe and Russia. Masur birch is a genetic mutation of birch trees, generally found among silver birch. It is halfway between a burl and a figured tree, causing the appearance of looping curling figure. There is really no other wood like it. Masur birch generally has a highly figured and medium figured side. Masur works very well for scales, as it removes this issue of asymmetry. Puuko knives have used masur birch for many years, and it is the absolutely classic choice for these knives.
* Gidgee: Acacia cambagei: One of the best woods for knife making, it tends to have a deep honey gold color with an incredibly well-defined, metallic-looking curl. Gidgee is also famed for its mechanically ideal properties, including excellent stability when exposed to moisture and fluctuating temperatures, incredible density that often puts it among the densest woods in the world and ultra-fine grain that allows it to take an excellent polish. Gidgee ranks among koa, rosewood burl and bloodwood burl as woods acceptable for show pieces and high-end working knives. The wood I have available is harvested in the deserts of Western Australia by a small independent saw mill focusing on high-end, sustainable timber.
*Bocote: Cordia dodecandra: A beautiful mexican hardwood, color is a light honey yellow with darker black streaks running through it. It has a lovely character and tight grained pieces exhibit a beautiful pattern of stripes and eyes. The wood has many properties that make it perfect for less experienced makers. It is quite dense, nearing the density of some rosewoods but its hardness is tied with Hard maple. Bocote's eyes rarely compromise structure, and the wood works easily and polishes well. It makes a durable and beautiful handle and can be easily worked with hand or machine tools. Wood is open grained and thus can easily pick up swarf, buffing compound and loose abrasives. Brush out regularly to prevent this.
**Maple: Acer spp: Figured maple is a longtime favorite of many knife makers, because it is incredibly easy to stabilize, work and dye. Its figure is described in a few ways. Curly means the grain has "fold" that reflect light differently, creating perhaps the most common and well known figure. This is most often seen in quarter sawn pieces “those cut radially to the grain,” often just called figured. Birds eye shows small circles in the grain resembling the eyes of a burl, though often they do not have the surrounding rings of grain normally found in burls. This almost only occurs in hard maple, while all other types of figure are most prominent in soft maples. Tiger/ flame and fiddle back maple all refer to a very tight pattern of curls. Quilted maple is another type of figure at resembles water with a breeze. The folds seem to lap into each other and become quite complex, giving a very 3d figure. This one is most often found in the big leaf maple of the pacific west coast and shows up best when flat sawn. Maple also forms huge and sometimes extremely well figured burls. In the store, you will find sinker Burls. These are burls that have been underwater for many years and have thus formed an array of natural fungal colors.
By Joel Adler https://www.instagram.com/jma996/By JBC
By Josh 81
*Ziricote: Not a commonly used wood, ziricote is none the less a gem. It is quite workable dispite its weight, a strong and rather stable dark colored wood known for its rare figure. Ziricote displays a figure known as spider webbing in which complex strands of nearly black wood criss cross the more grey heartwood. A pattern not seen outside incredibly figured Brazilian rosewood. This wood has a lot of sapwood that tends to come very close to the heart. I like to use stabilized pieces with the sapwood on. I don’t like to oil this stuff, as it darkens the heartwood way to much and yellows the sapwood. Just buff with pink scratchless.
Paduak: Paduak is common exotic often grown on plantations. It has a bright red/ orange coloring, a medium high density “about 50 percent heavier than walnut” and good workabilty.. It is stable, strong and very workable. Be careful though, the dust is more toxic than average and the color fades. The wood is also the source for the very rare and prized Ambonya Burl
Purpleheart: This is a common wood for new makers, for the reasons that it can be exceedingly purple and is very cheap for an exotic "often close to the price of walnut". The coarse grain structure means it cannot be polished to a very high finish and the lack of figure and fading color means this is best suited to either a lower budget knife or a heavy work knife.
**Claro Walnut: Juglans hindsii: Claro Walnut, The woods Color tends to a golden brown and can show amazing figure. Walnut is famous for its beautiful crotch cut pieces, but figured, ripple cut and many other figures occur in walnut. It is often used as a gold standard for workability, as it can be worked very well with a wide variety of tools. The amazing figure is heightened with the use of stabilizing, which also makes up for walnuts less than stellar hardness and durability. Walnut is a classic knife handle wood that began to have a resurgence when chemical Stabilization became a more refined process.
By Joel Adler https://www.instagram.com/jma996/
By ATS Knives
By Salem Straub
**Koa: Koa is a beautiful wood, known for its color variation from gold to white to deep brown. The wood also forms some of the densest and most sought after curly woods. The metallic like curly wood can reach seemingly absurd prices, rivaling any burl wood.
Olivewood: A very attractive wood, Olivewood is a light yellow brown wood with swirling blacks and deep browns that makes a very attractive handle. It is also popular due to its biblical and historical roots. There are several sources of good olivewood. In the middle east, Parts of north Africa, and the Mediterranean as a whole, but also from Russia where a lovely white and black olivewood can be found. Olivewood is difficult to dry, but once dry does not need stabilization.
Osage Orange: Also called Bois De arc, or bowwood, This wood grows like a weed throughout the American south. Its very tough and can have a nice yellow orange color, though real figure is rare to find in Osage. The wood has superb wearing and weathering characteristics making it a go to choice for heavy duty work knives
Satinwood: Many many woods are sold under the satinwood name, but the two true Satinwood both comes from tropical Asia, mostly India And Sri Lanka. They are known for being hard, fine textured woods with an amazingly deep, metallic curl to them. They have been driven to near extinction the past. Ceylon Satinwood is the most prized, it’s has a brilliant golden color that ages to a sunset orange. It often has a roey pattern that is to say when looking carefully at quarter sawn surfaces it appears to be made of many small circles.
**Lacewood: Another common exotic, lacewood has some nice figure to it but beyond that is not too amazing. Easy workable and low price make this a good beginner’s choice. There are many woods that fall under the title of lacewood, the major ones are lacewood, a south American hardwood with very large medullar rays, Australlian lacewood, actually macadamia that has been quarter sawn, common sycamore, and the Australian silky oak. Most lacewood are reasonable soft “around the toughness of walnut”
Leopard wood: While very similar in appearance to lacewood with HUGE ray figure that appears to form a series of spots, Leopard wood can be distinguished by its weight and hardness. Leopardwood is almost dense enough to sink in water and is very tough. Color is more of a rust red than a soft brown.
** Mango: Mango wood is a wood that often comes with Koa from Hawaii. It is known for having lovely curl to it. The color is often a light tan brown, though a more golden color is seen from time to time. The wood is quite irritating, so be sure to wear a mask and shower after using it.
Canary wood: A nice wood, though its popularity has dropped off recently. Canary wood is a yellow wood with darker, reddish brown lines running through it. It has middle of the line hardness and workability.
Rosewoods: This needs a little explanation, so I will go over the rosewood you are most likely to see
Honduras rosewood: While not the best color, Honduras rosewood is a very hard and heavy rosewood that can show nice striation patterns. Over all the color tends towards a deep honey brown, but there is a lot of variation. It also forms perhaps the most Sought after wood in the world. Rosewood Burl. The incredible coloration, oil content and density makes rosewood burl perhaps the most expensive and sought after wood on the planet.
East Indian Rosewood: This is a wood that is quite easy to find due to its use in guitars as a replacement for Brazilian rosewood. In my opinion, it outdoes Brazilian. East Indian has nice green, blended with deeper purple and black tones that tend to fold into themselves to make a simply stunning wood. Indian rosewood is on the softer side of rosewood though, so it may not be the best choice for a really hard use knife.
Burmese Blackwood: Not a very common wood in western markets, Burmese blackwood is a very interesting wood. The color is a bit of a molted brown/ purple with black lines running through it, though the wood is often quite full of sapwood. Hardness is amazing, being stronger than desert ironwood, though natural oils make it much easier to work.
Cocobolo. Most likely the wood most often used on custom knives, and with good reason. Cocobolo is incredibly hard, dense, and most of all, stunningly beautiful. The wood has streaks of black, purple, yellow, red, orange, brown and white. It’s simply an amazing wood. High oil content means the wood is very stable, even in damp or marine applications, as well as excelling in culinary uses. The woods oil content has the effect of killing off a variety of pathogens that end up on the surface, helping keep the handle sanitary.
Blade and Handle by Robert Erickson https://www.instagram.com/ericksonknifeworks/
Mexican Kingwood: Dalbergia congestiflora Also called Camatillo. The wood is a beautiful royal purple, swirling with scarlet, black, gold, violet and pinks. The wood is incredibly beautiful, with amazing grain patterns and unmatched color. The wood is also mechanically superb, with amazing hardness and density ratings that in many cases beat even those of Desert Ironwood. Able to take an amazing polish with almost mirror like finish, it is also water proof and wears well. This is my personal favorite wood, though it has recently been CITIES listed and supplies are dwindling. The two main ways are to finish with wax or oil. An oil finish will greatly darken the wood down to a deep purple black, while a wax finish will leave the wood with its right purple and all the contrast, my personal favorite way to finish.
By HSC III knives
Tulipwood is similar to kingwood in its striation, but it has white and bright pink instead! A real find, but expensive. The wood is one of the weaker rosewoods and due to its light color much more apt to pick up dust and swarf, making the handle stained. Not the best choice for an outdoor knife, though it does well in the kitchen. I have found women really like this wood.
Brazillian rosewood. I advise against using this stuff, for the simple reason it is to rare. Harvesting B.R has been illegal for several decades and any new sources are illegal. I received a board from a carpenter of some 50 years who has been storing it since the ban. Its also just not that amazing. Relatively dull tones of deep brown with a few reddish streaks, It just can’t compare to cocobolo.
Pau Ferro: Variety of colors. Tending to look something like a cross between hondrous and east indian rosewood, it falls mostly into the brown/ honey gold color range, and can have reasonable charaotence from time to time. This wood is often sold under different names, Moredo, Bolivian rosewood, santos Rosewood, Peruvian rosewood and other. It is not technically a rosewood, but it is a hard, dense oily wood that makes me itch like crazy, so isn’t that close enough? It is popping up more and more as real rosewood become harder to find, but for the small sizes most knife scales are made, I like to spring for the real thing. Be careful of upsellers. The price should be LOWER than that of real rosewood by at least 20 percent.
Yew: Yew is a softwood botanically, though it is a very tough wood. Tight rings, made of a light orange-pink wood with Dark orange to reddish grain lines running through it. Makes for a very grippy handle as the latewood wears away more slowly, leaving a very slight texture to the wood. Quite toxic! Always use a mask when cutting or sanding yew, and show immediately after use. Weathes very well, and does well in a marine or damp environment.
Laburnum: Called European rosewood, this is a tree found all throughout Europe, often called Golden Chain. The heartwood is somewhat narrow, but it has a pleasing purple black tone. Its a very tough wood, about 45 percent tougher than Oak. Its also rather oily so I advise treating it like rosewood. Some reports say the wood can be a strong irritant so wear a mask.
Bubinga: Known as false or African rosewood, bubinga is a pretty wood that has many characteristics of rosewood for the more budget minded. It has a lot of color variation and can be light cream with pink red stripes, or a sort of red/ purple with darker streaking. It can however come in a striking figure known as waterfall bubinga. If you know a high end carpenter or turner, ask for scraps! It is quite hard so again, work slow. Prices are on the rise as real rosewood become more scarce.
Katalox: Another lesser known wood, Katalox is similar to ebony, but is much more purple. It is very heavy, considered one of the heaviest woods in the world. It is also very dense and while not very pricey, hard to find. This wood also tends to have a lot of sapwood, so you will either need to stabilize the whole thing or try to cut out small enough chunks of clear heartwood.
Grey Ironbark: Another hard as hell wood for our friends down under, Grey Ironbark is a characteristically tough wood with an almost walnut like appearance with more blueish purple tint to it. Its hard to find in the states, and when it is it is often only milled burls, so expect those prices to be quite high.
Tiger and Zebra wood: while not related, I grouped these two together because of their similar characteristics. Both are heavy and while not too hard, their striated nature means they can be a little unpredictable to work if you are not experienced. Both show bands of darker, harder wood that appear in straight lines when quarter sawn and in wide swirling arcs when flat or rift sawn.
Boxwood: . Boxwood is a very smooth looking wood with an off white tone. Its incredibly stable and makes a nice stand in for ivory or bone. Used mostly by European makers, I can stunned by the fact that this wood is not more common in the U.S. It makes an amazing ivory substitute, its stable as a rock and its fine grain means it can take very precise detail. While it may not be as striking as a burl, it does have a sort of simple elegance not unlike elephant ivory.
*Holly Wood: Very difficult to search as you just get Hollywood the place, holly is a bright white wood that is often mistaken for bone. It is not often used on its own, but rather as a accent piece or in a glue up with ebony for the black and white effect.
Desert ironwood: Olneya tesota: Classically beautiful wood. Color ranges from golden browns, blonde streaking and sometimes jet black banding. It has a deep glow and charatoncy, making it a supremely attractive wood. Ironwood is perhaps the best knifemaking wood. It is incredibly hard, nearly impossible to scratch, has a beautiful figure and is extremely dimensionaly stable. It has a beautiful pattern and color to it. When working with Desert ironwood, do not rush. The woods extremely high hardness means it can be burned by using very high speed or dull abrasives. This wood should be worked slowly and with fresh abrasives. Finish can be taken to at least 5000 grit and buffed. Small cracks are easy to deal with, just pour super glue into the cracks and let dry. Sand smooth, and its all done. For larger checks, mix sanding dust with epoxy and fill into holes.
Lignium Vitae: The wood of life. Lignium is widely considered one of the heaviest and hardest wood on earth. Its like working a brick, but nothing will last longer. It is so oily it can be self lubricating, tough as nails and takes a nice polish. The color is not outstanding, mostly greenish brown, but who cares! Its so heavy!
Dead Finish: Another hard Australian wood, this stuff is known for its fine reddish grain and abilty to take find curves and hold them well. While not a wood I have personally worked, my research tells me it behaves something like a fine rosewood.Ipe. An example of a technically excellent wood that fails in one major category. Ipe is dirt cheap and hard, heavy and oily. While most of its physical properties make it an ideal choice for knife making, ipe has one downside. Its just a plain old ugly wood. Sad to say.
Wenge: Wenge: Millettia laurentii: The wood has vert contrasting growth rings, with jet black and dark brown leading to a variety of looks based on the cut. Wenge has a great pattern to it and again can be either in neat rows or wild grain depending how its cut. Wenge is an incredibly durable and tough wood that wears very well and has good water proof characteristics. This combined with its naturally grippy texture makes Wenge a perfect choice for hard use or other working knives. While it's relativly coarse grain means it can not be polished to a mirror shine, it is a highly durable wood more suited to to a camp knife than a show piece.
Greenheart: An insanely hard and oily wood, it may be one of the stiffest woods in the world. its sometimes used in decking and often on boats because of its incredibly water resistance. It can be hard to find, but it makes an amazing handle for heavy use or marine use.
**Black Palm:Borassus flabellifer: Perhaps the most unique “wood” on this list. Black Palm is technically a member of the grass family and there for a monocot. The wood is also incredibly unique, lacking any growth rings or other features commonly associated with wood. Instead, the wood contains varying densities of incredibly hard, tough dark fibers embedded in a softer deep brown matrix. These darker fibers give palm is strength and pieces with a high density of these fibers can be incredibly strong and denser than water. Most of the Palm you will find on my site is Bias cut and stabilized.Bias cut means that it is cut and an angle relative to the direction of the denser fibers, which grow parallel to the height of the tree. This results in a stunning effect of what appears to be fish scales or a grouping of leopard spots. The wood is stabilized not for added density or strength, to properties Palm is not lacking for, but rather to prevent tear out. In unstabilized pieces, the darker fibers often tear out of the matrix leaving unsightly gaps. By professionally stabilizing the wood this can be mostly if not completely eliminated.
Snakewood: Brosimum guianense: Color tends to be in the reddish brown to rust red, favoring the earthy tones. The figure shifts as you sand into the wood, and using well quartersawn pieces “meaning the growth rings run perpendicular to the faces” shows off the best and most even figure. The wood should be left in your shop for several months after purchase, best with waxed ends, to allow it to acclimate. The wood is among the hardest and heaviest in the world, able to take a first class finish and be polished well beyond 5000 grit. The woo is known to have many small cracks and form microcracks along it. The best way to limit these is to keep the block cool. Sharp belts, slow speed and many breaks. Snakewood is not a wood to rush. It is also prudent to brush on super glue or other CA glue at several cycles of working snakewood. This fills in the microcracks and prevents their expansion. Snakewood does require a degree of care, but the results are more than worth it. No handle material I have ever used or sold has ever drawn as much interest as snakewood, nor moved as many knives. This is one wood where it is always best to buy by the block. Figure is absolutely stunning in high grade pieces, with an unmistakable snakeskin like feature that wraps around the block. Try to only buy quarter sawn pieces, as not only do these best show the snake skin figure “other cuts highlight more of a poka dot figure” but this is the best way to avoid uneven looking scales.
Bloodwood: A rising star. Bright red wood with great wearing characteristics. Grain tends to have some ribbon figure, but this is of little use to knife makers who only use small sections. Is a close relative of snakewood and while cracking is not so much an issue, its hardness does make it difficult. Most pieces aren’t the deep blood/ scarlet red people want, rather it tends towards a weak orange pink like faded pink ivory, but it makes a very solid handle and is available in good sizes, so what do I know.
Gaboon Ebony: Diospyros crassiflora: Known for being one of the darkest wood on the market.Despite this, most ebony contains some degree of color, often a light brown to blonde streaking and less commonly a silvery grey. The wood is very hard and heavy, able to take a superb polish. Prices are very high, not only due to the woods scarcity, but also because cutting it often involves removing large amounts of light colored or cracked material. The wood is often called “black Ivory” In reference to the fact that it can crack if mistreated. The wood should be worked cool, with fresh abrasives and for short increments. The results are superb and ebony makes an excellent choice for classic folders, show knives or bolsters.
Macassar ebony: Diospyros celebica: Named for the port of Macassar from which this wood entered global trade. Macassar ebony is a heavy, strong and beautiful member of the ebony family. It is more stable and less prone to cracking than the classic gaboon ebony. Appearnce is deep brown to black with bands of lighter amber, blonde and honey streaking running down the length of the grain. Good workabilty, but make sure to keep the wood cool. It is said ebony should be treated like black ivory, so use fresh belts and sharp tools. Ebony can be polished to a first class finish. sand to up to 5000 grit and finish with a non-darkening finish like Ben's buffing compound
Filipino Ironwood: Another member of the Ebony family, Filipino Ironwood bears resemblense to Macassar, though the deep brown lines are replaced with more of a charcoal grey, leaving an extremely beautiful look. This wood is very rare outside of Indonesia though and is likely to remain so.
African blackwood: Dalbergia melanoxylon: Technically a rosewood, African blackwood is a great choice. Its more stable than ebony, harder, just as heavy and far more stable and crack resistant. The wood tends to be black with subtle greyish grain running through it that personally, I find much more interesting the solid, featureless black of ebony.
***Buckeye burl:Aesculus octandra: One of the easiest burls to work with once stabilized. It’s a very soft wood and so benefits greatly from chemical stabilization. It is one of the few woods that naturally generates a grey color. I carry two types of buckeye burl, two tone which has a mix of the darker fungal infected areas as well as the lighter natural wood, and pure dark. The very dark blocks look incredibly like marble when polished and make a stunning knife handle. All my Buckeye has been stabilized by K&G. This wood is full of pockets, ingrown bark and voids. For small issues, just pour some super glue in. For larger voids, mix some epoxy with dark sanding dust and fill in the whole. I have also seen epoxy dyed black for a nice finish.
By Salem Straub https://sites.google.com/site/vorpalcustomknives/
***Boxelder: A member of the maple family, this is another soft wood that is often stabilized and dyed. Sometimes it forms viens of red caused by a fungal infection and may be called bloody box elder. Very similar in terms of properties as buckeye burl.
Madrone burl: The burls are a medium golden brown and tend to solid and attractive. Can either have a curly wave pattern or a series of eyes depending on how it is cut. From a west coast native, madrone burl is prized by veneer makers, as its one of the few burl woods with a good consistency of pattern and a solid throughout. Expect prices to be on the high end, and madrone lumber is considered the highest teir of domestic hardwoods, beating out cherry and walnut. The rule I have heard is, they should be stabilized if they are used as scales, but can be used unstabalized for hidden tang applications. Don’t expect much weight gain from stabilizing
Manzanita burl: Arctostaphylos pungens: Deep, sometimes blood red burl. Rarely does it have the classic eyes of other burls, tending to more often have a deep curl and rarely a blistered sort of figure that makes a very attractive handle. Another west coast favorite, this wood is heavy and strong and while it does take stabilization, it is not required at all. The wood takes one of the finest polishes of any wood due to its closed pore structure. Color is superb and workability is good.
By Mark Brock
***Redwood Burl: A very expensive burl due to the US goverments limits on harvesting. Redwood is a very solid burl with few or no gaps, allowing for a first class finish. Redwood burl is graded on what kind of figure it has. The most sought after is often a lace figure, though flame and heavy curling are not far behind. There is also a lot of competition from furniture makers and guitar makers for this wood, driving up the price. The wood is very attractive, with deep reddish rusty wood and eyes that get darker as they reach the center gives this wood an amazing contrast and detail.
By Mark Brock
By Ricky Arthur
By Bill Customs
Amboyna: Pterocarpus indicus: Beautiful coloration, famous for deep vivid red and oranges with snow white sapwood. Ambonya burl is incredibly sough after, with prices being driven up by veneer makers, guitar makers, turners and all manner of wood workers. The burl actually comes from the Narra tree, a humble member of the paduak family. The wood is dense, hard and takes an amazing finish. It has a pleasant smell reminiscent of baked goods. The wood is considered a classic handle wood used on show knives and high end user blades alike
By Joel Adler https://www.instagram.com/jma996/
Thuya Burl: Once harvested all over the middle east, this root burl is now in short supply. It is a deep brown/ honey wood with lots of eyes, it is also well known for its pleasant almost lemony odor. It works nicely, but is prone to gum up belts with its high oil content. It is also liable to burn and scorch when sanded to quickly or with dull belts.
Rarer exotics of all types
Camel thorn: And interesting wood, and formally am ember of the acacia famiy. Incredibly heavy and hard, it has a deep brown color flecked with black. Imagine a cross of wenge and black palm. Its hard to find, though many wood turners are fond of it, so look to them for supplies
Pink Ivory: Super hard. Super rare. Super expensive. Super Pink. This stuff comes from South Africa and is pretty crazy. It can range from pale orange to neon pink and can even come curly! Be prepared to pay through the nose for the pink stuff though. While about 15 years ago this was all the rage, it has died down in popularity and cost. The pink and curly stuff is still quite expensive though. The wood fades down to a medium orange gold, but the bubblegum pink is hiding just below the surface.
**Pistachio: Yes. That pistachio. It has an amazing figure that blends swirls of green, brown and black into an interesting form. Not crazy expensive, but it is pretty hard to find. Reasonably workable for exotic
***Black and white ebony: Ebony and ivroyyyyyyy. Kidding. A swirl of jet black and cream white, this stuff can be confusing to work. Suddenly you hit a white patch and the belt runs right through the wood. Go slow. Its also expensive so I hope you dont mess up. This wood is a pain, as drying it is very difficult. It reallyyyyy wants to crack on you. I leave mine in wax for at least 2 years before I mill them into slightly over sized blocks, leave them another few months and send them out to be stabilized so the light sections don’t pick up smudges left and right. Another issue is that most of the wood lacks the good cream on jet black contrast. About 50-75 percent of the lumber as a dark brown and muddy looking white part that really diminishes the effect of the wood.
Verawood/ Argintine Lignium vitae: Lignium on a budget! This stuff is just like lignum but less so in every way. Not quite as hard, not quite as pretty, not quite as oily but way way cheaper! This wood also shows a very deep Chatoyancy, the kind of thing you see in tigers eye. It tends towards the green end of colors, though it can be mixed with a little brown and gold. One of several rising stars mentioned on this list. The “original” is becoming more and more rare, and as that happens what used to be seen as imposters are going to rise in popularity and price.
Marblewood: An interesting wood, this is one that is really hit or miss. A lot of the wood is simply unattractive, but nice pieces where the redish purple swirls enter the lighter brown sections make a good compliment to a Damascus handle, or a well done marble counter top in the kitchen.
Texas Ebony: One of the only exotics native to north America, Texas ebony is not a true ebony, but does grow in Texas! So the name is half right. Its hard, heavy and oily. Crotch cut pieces have a great figure and it also adds a little southern charm to any piece. Technically a member of the mesquite family, this stuff is found from mid mexico into southern texas and if often grown as an ornamental tree.
Black Ironwood: A small plant that only grows in parts of Floridas swamps. The heaviest wood on earth. I have never seen a real piece of it. If you happen to find some, please tell me! i would love to see!
Sandalwood: Almost never brought to market anymore, this stuff was famous for its strength and amazing scent. If you see it, save it. Its a real treasure.
Partridgewood: Sometimes sold as an ebony replacement, Partridgewood is a great wood in its own right. It is much like a very, very fine grained ebony. Its hardness mirror that of a high end rosewood like cocobolo or kingwood. It has lighter flecks in a much darker matrix and takes a high polish. Somewhat difficult to work on account of tearouts and sheer hardness.
Bulletwood: A seriously tough African timber, the color is not great, trending towards muted greens and greys, but the wood is incredibly tough and does well in am marine environment
Leadwood: Similar in working to bulletwood, Leadwood has a much greyer tone with streaking of greenish brown. It i slightly less oily which makes workingi t easier, but it is not as good in a marine environment.
Chakte Viga: A close relative of the famous Brazilwood, from which we get the name of Brazil itself, Chakte is a reddish orange wood with a great set of characteristics. Its very dense "sinks in water," quite tough, and its pleasing reddish tones last longer than any other wood I know of, even with a fair amount of direct sun exposure! Really an under rated wood, this wood will certainly be increasing in price as the more rare and classic brazilwood becomes harder and harder to find.
Macwooda: Where on earth am i finding these things? Rarely making it to Market,macawood, also called Macacauba is a relatively unknown wood, but this is going to change as new restrictions on classic exotics like rosewood fall into place. It has a lovely orange and red tone, similar to that of marbled paper. Its not the densest wood on this list, but its about 20 percent heavier than oak, so its certainly respectable.
If you have any questions about other woods, or would like a recommendation, please feel free to ask!