Tulipwood grows in Brazil and Columbia. It is a small but very dense (.96 spec. grav.) tree with an irregular trunk, so it is only sold in small pieces. This is one of the woods which will crack if there is heat buildup in sanding. It is a very colorful wood and has a slight peppery smell when cutting and sanding.


The best Spanish Cedar grows in Central America and is a prized wood for humidors. It is also an excellent wood for use outdoors and holds paint well. It will grow over 100' tall with a diameter up to 6'. Since it is one of the oily woods, in this case tannin oil, it is best to wipe the surfaces with acetone before gluing or finishing. It is a very stable wood and most of it's properties are similar to American mahogany. Interestingly, this wood is neither a cedar (so named for it's aroma), nor is it from Spain.

is another domestic wood growing to a height of 60', and with a hardness of .45 it is in the upper range of the soft woods. It is a close-grained wood with a fine texture and is a good wood for turning and carving. It is most highly prized when it has pink or red-purple streaks, possibly caused by fungi. A boxelder bowl won a $500.00 prize for me in a juried show.

Aromatic Cedar is similar to Virginian Pencil Cedar. It grows in Canada and the USA and is a medium density wood which grows 40'-60' high with 1'-2' diameter bases.

Sycamore is a very large tree reaching heights of 100' and trunk diameters of 4'. It is sometimes referred to as LONDON PLANETREE. It grows in Europe and America, has a specific gravity of .62, weighs 39 lbs./cu.ft. and when quarter sawn resembles LACEWOOD.

Bubinga is an African hardwood (.88 specific gravity and 24 lbs./cu.ft.) growing to 100' high and up to 4' in diameter. It's primary use is rotary cut veneer for guitars and furniture. Very large boards can be milled from these trees. There was recently a 3'x16' board selling for $4000.00. This is one of the trees (Teak is another.) containing silica so it has a blunting effect on tools.

Lacewood is a hardwood growing in Australia and the Caribbean. The Australian species grows to 100' with a 4' diameter. When quarter sawn this wood has a striking ray pattern. It takes a beautiful finish but it's dust can be very irritating to some people.

Jobillo (Ho be yo) from South America is a stunning wood because of it's stripes which resemble burn marks. It is a hard and heavy wood, is a member of the Cashew family and takes a beautiful polish.

Ipe’ grows in South Central America. It is a very hard (.85 - .97 specific gravity) and heavy (66 – 75 lbs./cu.ft.) wood. It grows to 140’ high and up to 6’ diameter and is one of the largest trees in the area. It is very resistant to decay, fungi, and termites. Although a brown wood, it’s cutting dust is yellowish green. When weathered grey it can be power washed back to it’s natural color.

Poplar grows in the eastern U.S. and Canada and is also called tulip, yellow poplar, and some of us “old timers” refer to it as white wood. It is a fast growing tree, very straight, and with a density of 30 lbs/cuft and a specific gravity of .45 it is at the low end of the hardwood scale. It is not a good wood to use outside but is excellent for inside trim work and is used extensively for this. It is excellent for painting or staining. It grows over 100’ tall and up to 4’ in diameter.

Sapele is a reddish hardwood from Africa. It frequently has wavy lines which add to it’s beauty. It is a very large tree growing to 150’ and 6’ in diameter. It has a specific gravity of about .60 and is very resistant to rot. It is often used as a mahogany substitute.

White Oak grows in North America and Canada, has a specific gravity of .76 and grows to 100’ with a trunk diameter of 3’-4’. It is not as stringy as red and black oak, has a very straight and open grain and at 47 lbs/cuft is quite heavy. When quarter sawn it displays beautiful silver grey flecks and rays and is thus prized by woodworkers.

Plum is a great wood for turning.It is related to cherry but is heavier and harder. Due to its smaller size (about 20’ tall and up to 1’ dia.) it is not usually commercially available. It takes a good finish and is exciting to open a log and see the cornucopia of colors in the wood and the many variations of grain.



Zebrawood is a very hard wood and grows in Africa. It is a large tree reaching 150' high and up to 5' in diameter. This is a difficult wood to harvest due to it's size and the fact it grows in inaccessible areas. It is a preferred wood for turning and carving as well as furniture, tool handles, flooring and dash boards.

is a very hard wood (it can dull cutting tools quickly!) and grows in the Red River Valley of Oklahoma and Texas. It is very durable as an outside wood including fence posts. Years ago it was planted in rows to fence in areas on the Great Plains and was pruned to form a "horse high, bull strong, and hog tight" fence. The wood gets it's name from the Osage Indians who lived there and from the orange smell of its fruit. The trees grow to 50', have a hardness of .76 and weigh 48 lbs/cuft.

Tiger Maple
, sometimes called rippled or fiddleback, is one of the many prized figures found in rock maple. This maple, also known as sugar maple as it is tapped for syrup, is a wonderful wood to work with and takes a great finish. It has a hardness of .72 and grows to 120' tall and up to 3' in diameter. Some of the other prized figures found in this wood includes birds-eye, quilted, curly, and splatted.

Yellow Heart
, or Pau Amarello, grows in Brazil. It is a hard wood (.73 specific gravity) with a very tight, smooth grain, sometimes with a roey or mottled figure. It has a very fragrant dust which causes a skin rash on sensitive skin. These trees can grow to 130' tall and 30" in diameter. Unlike many trees the sap wood is darker and lightens up as it approaches the heart wood turning to yellow and sometimes orange.

Purple Heart grows in Central and South America. It is a very hard wood (.86 and 70 lbs/cuft) and a very large tree, growing 150' tall and up to 5' in diameter. It mostly grows clear and knot free, and is a good outdoor wood as it is resistant to fungi and dry wood termites. It is a great wood for turning as well as accenting, but dulls cutting tools quickly.

grows in South East Asia and is in the Ebony family. It is a very dense and hard wood with a beautiful grain and color. The average specific gravity is 1.03. ( Any wood with a specific gravity over 1.0 will sink in water.)

Yellow Pine grows throughout the 13 southern states. It is one of the hardest soft woods. The majority of this wood is harvested for pressure treating. It weighs 34 lbs/cuft. At 8% MC. Soil depletion is not an issue for this tree because as it grows it sheds its needles and branches which in turn decay and provide nutrients for the next generation.

The Black Walnut is a domestic wood growing to 90' tall and up to 4' in diameter. It is considered a hardwood @ .64 specific gravity. It is a great wood to work with and has been prized for years by furniture makers. It has a color range from light grey-brown to a dark chocolate or purplish-black and finishes beautifully. It's shavings should never be used for livestock bedding as it contains several poisons, strychnine being one of them. I have been turning several chunks I had left over from a huge tree I processed on my saw mill for a customer.