Wood Facts


Below are some interesting facts about some of the wood you will find on my site.


Burl Wood: Burl (lignotuber - from the Latin for "woody swelling") is a large, dense, heavy, frequently gnarly outgrowth on trees whose fancy, compressed grain figures, when sliced, make them ideal for exotic wood veneers; commonly used as decorative material on the finest of wood products



Amboyna Burl:


  • Common Name: Amboyna Burl 
  • About:  Amboyna comes from the legume (Leguminosae) or pea family is reported to occur only in Indonesia. This wood is named after the isle of Ambon where much of this material was originally found. Amboyna is a marvelously luxurious burl from the tree that is commonly known as Narra. Often it is finely sliced to produce an extremely decorative veneer, used for decoration and in making of furniture and keys on a marimba. In China, Pterocarpus wood is used in the hexagonal body of special Beijing Opera-instrument: jinghu, a two-string bowed fiddle, as well as other Chinese fiddles. A rare, exotic hardwood with a fragrant aroma. It can vary in color from yellow to golden brown to red with mottled or striped black grain. Thanks in part to its wavy grain, Amboyna Burl is figured with numerous, captivating swirls.   
  • Scientific Name: Pterocarpus_indicus

  • Origin:  Southeast Asia, Indonesia

  • Wood Type: Hardwood, Angiosperm, Deciduous 


Ambrosia Maple:


  • Common Name: Ambrosia Maple    
  • About:  The dramatic coloring in this maple, is caused by the Ambrosia Beetle. The beetle causes pinholes 1/100" - 1/4" in diameter and attacks only recently killed/cut trees, logs, and green lumber. They usually bore into the sapwood of both hard and softwoods although sometimes they affect the heartwood. Interestingly, the beetle does not consume the wood; rather, when he excavates his "tunnel", he introduces two types of fungus. The first grows on the walls of the "tunnel" and it is this fungus which is consumed by the beetle for nourishment. The fungus is called Ambrosia and the name was passed on to include the beetle. The second fungus is a staining fungus which, if introduced, causes greenish-gray or bluish-black staining around the pinholes.  
  • Scientific Name: Acer Rubrum

  • Origin:  North America

  • Wood Type: Hardwood, Angiosperm, Deciduous 

Box Elder Burl:

  • Common Name:    Box Elder Burl 
  • About: The best thing about the tree is that it will grow on adverse sites where more desirable trees may not. Box Elder is native along stream banks over a wide area of the United Sates, grows along flood plains and naturalizes quickly on disturbed sites. This tree has a short life and susceptibility to boxelder bug and trunk decay. 
  • Scientific Name: Acer negundo

  • Origin: North America

  • Wood Type: Hardwood, Angiosperm, Deciduous 




  • Common Name: Bubinga Minor  
  • About:  Bubinga grows in West Africa from East Nigeria through Gabon to Zaire. It ranges from medium to dark red-brown with purple veining, although some material is slightly lighter in color. It is a hard, dense and beautiful wood. Bubinga is excellent for turnery and is easy to finish.   
  • Scientific Name: Copaifera salikounda     
  • Origin:   West Africa  
  • Wood Type: Hardwood, Angiosperm, Deciduous  


Buckeye Burl:


  • Common Name: Buckeye 
  • About:  Buckeye burl  grows in the midwestern US, from southern Michigan south to northern Alabama, western Pennsylvania west to Kansas, Oklahoma, and central Texas. This wood has amazing figure and most people that see it for the first time make the comment, "Is that wood or is that marble?" In fact many people think that it is marble or some simular material. This wood has a wide range of color and figure and is coveted by many woodworkers. 
  • Scientific Name: Aeculus octandra 
  • Origin:  North America 
  • Wood Type: Hardwood, Angiosperm, Deciduous 



  • Common Name:    Bocote 
  • About:  The growth range of the species is reported to include the West Indies, tropical America, Mexico, Belize and Honduras. This species is officially classified as either Extinct, Endangered, Rare, or Vulnerable within its natural habitat in Costa Rica. Bocote is also commonly referred to as Bucote, Cordia, Light American Cordia. Tree is very small and normally is only found with 5 to 15 inch diameter trunks. The heartwood is rich, golden brown with a pinkish tint, often showing variegated irregular markings and an attractive ray fleck figure when quarter sawn. Bocote is a strong lustrous wood, with medium and uniform texture and straight or shallowly interlocked grain.  
  • Scientific Name: Cordia elaeagnoides

  • Origin: Central America

  • Wood Type: Hardwood, Angiosperm, Deciduous 




  • Common Name: Cocobolo 
  • About:  Cocobolo is a member of the Rosewood family. It grows in the drier uplands on the Pacific side of Mexico down to Panama. Extremely oily it will reject almost any finish except wax. It shines up to a nice luster. Even an oil based varnish will not stick. There is no treatment that will make it suitable for bonding with glue, but it can be nailed or screwed easily. It is waterproof which is excellent for making knife handles. It smells like lilacs while it is being sawn or sanded. It varies in color from red to yellow and striped with black to lighter black. It darkens with age.  
  • Scientific Name: Dalbergia Retusa

  • Origin:  Central America 

  • Wood Type: Hardwood, Angiosperm, Deciduous 



  • Common Name:  Ebony   
  • About: In ancient Egypt, ebony was floated down the Nile from deep in the continent, and reserved strictly for pharaohs. King Tut's tomb yielded numerous objects made from the wood they called hebni -- an ornate throne, several statues, numerous chests, and the sliding draw bolts that latched the doors for 2,500 years! For India's reigning monarchs, nothing would do except ebony scepters to wave over their subjects. Because at that time it was believed the wood was an antidote for poison, royal households also had it made into drinking cups in hopes of foiling assassination attempts.    Even in the Old Testament, this sought-after wood made a newsworthy gift. In Ezekiel 24:15, it says " ... they brought thee for a present horns of ivory and ebony." **Courtesy of "Wood Magazine"  
  • Scientific Name: Diospyrus Crassiflora 
  • Origin:  Southeast Asia 
  • Wood Type: Hardwood, Angiosperm, Deciduous 

Mahogany  :

  • Common Name:    Mahogany 
  • About:  The growth range of the species is distributed throughout the rainforests of Latin American. Mahogany is perhaps the most valuable timber tree in the whole of Latin America and has been heavily exploited for most of this century. Mahogany is becoming increasingly rare, and is already extinct in parts of its original range. South American Mahogany is also referred to as True or Genuine Mahogany, Big Leaf Mahogany, Central American Mahogany, British Honduras Mahogany, Costa Rican Mahogany, Brazilian Mahogany, Peruvian Mahogany, Nicaraguan Mahogany. This hardwood varies from yellowish, reddish, pinkish, or salmon colored when freshly cut, to a deep rich red, to reddish brown as the wood matures with age. Mahogany is fine to medium texture, with uniform to interlocking grain, ranging from straight to wavy or curly. Irregularities in the grain often produce highly attractive figures such as fiddleback or mottle.   
  • Scientific Name: Swietenia macrophylla

  • Origin: South America

  • Wood Type: Hardwood, Angiosperm, Deciduous 

Maple Burl:

  • Common Name:    Maple Burl 
  • About:  The growth range of the species is limited to the Northwestern United States of America; Alaska to California to west central Idaho, mostly west of the Cascades, usually found growing lower than 1,500 meters in elevation. The heartwood has an unbelievably, swirly, unpredictable grain patterns with light to dark variations of cream brown to dark brown color with natural edges, bark inclusions and internal voids being present and are not considered defects but responsible for this woods unique appearance and character.    
  • Scientific Name: Acer macrophyllum

  • Origin: North America

  • Wood Type: Hardwood, Angiosperm, Deciduous 

Marblewood  :

  • Common Name: Marblewood 
  • About:  The growth range of the species to grow in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands of Southeast Asia. Marblewood is variegated black and brown timber is actually part of the Ebony family of woods. Ebonies are generally thought of as black timbers. In reality some of the species have only a tiny pencil sized black zone and some of them are white, cream or yellow all through.   
  • Scientific Name: Diospyros marmorata

  • Origin:  Southeast Asia

  • Wood Type: Hardwood, Angiosperm, Deciduous 

Olivewood  :

  • Common Name:    Olivewood 
  • About:  The growth range of the species is widely cultivated in sub-tropical areas of Europe, Africa and the Middle East mainly for its olives. Olivewood is native to coastal areas of the eastern Mediterranean region, from Syria and the maritime parts of Asia Minor to patchy areas of Northern Iran and the Southern Caspian (Manjil and Roodbar). The olive tree is the oldest known cultivated tree in history. Olives were first cultivated in Africa, and then spread to Morocco, Algiers, and Tunisia by the Phoenicians. Olea europaea was first cultivated in Crete and Syria over 5000 years ago. Around 600 BC olive tree cultivation spread to Greece, Italy and other Mediterranean countries. This exotic wood is hard, heavy and strong. It is a beautiful yellowish colored wood with dark grain patterns and sometimes streaks or swirls of brilliant red, tan, brown, and black. Olive Wood is a straighter grain while the Burl has very unusual grain pattern.     
  • Scientific Name: Olea europaea

  • Origin: Mediterranean

  • Wood Type: Hardwood, Angiosperm, Deciduous 

Figured Poplar:

  • Common Name:    Poplar 
  • About:  Yellow poplar trees grow taller than any other U.S. hardwood species and they are members of the magnolia family. The bark, leaves, flowers, fruit and roots contain pharmaceuticals. Poplar is the state tree of Indiana, Kentucky and Tennessee.     
  • Scientific Name: Liriodendron tulipifera

  • Origin: North America

  • Wood Type: Hardwood, Angiosperm, Deciduous 


Red Mallee Burl:

  • Common Name:    Red Mallee 
  • About:  A mallee is a "scrubland vegetation" or "bush" that is common in many parts of Australian wetlands and savannahs. At harvest the mallee tree delivers a host of valuable products aside from eucalyptus oil, such as activated charcoal (the most important component of most of the world’s air and water filters), raw material for particle board and finally biomass for energy generation. Red Mallee is also referred to as Gooseberry Mallee, Pink Gooseberry Mallee, Square-Fruit Mallee, Beginning with Aboriginal people who used eucalyptus oil for medicinal purposes, eucalypts have a long history as beneficial plants. Early colonists in New South Wales observed this and began to harvest and export the oil in the 1800’s. It was the first export of that colony. In what would later be revealed as a costly twist of fate, Australian production began to decline in the 1940’s due to cheap labour and Tasmanian Blue Gum timber plantations in developing countries. The paradoxical result has been that Australia has become a net importer of eucalyptus oil over the past 50 years despite the abundant domestic supply of eucalypt species.   
  • Scientific Name: Eucalyptus calycogona

  • Origin:  Australia

  • Wood Type: Hardwood, Angiosperm, Deciduous 

Redwood Burl:

  • Common Name:    Redwood 
  • About:  The coast redwood (Sequoia sempervirens) is one of the three sequoia species, together with the giant sequoia (Sequoiadendron giganteum) and the dawn redwood (Metasequoia glyptostroboides). The coast redwood grows in natural stands in a long, thin coastal area along the Pacific Ocean in the west and northwest of the US (mostly California). It is the tallest tree in the world.  With its relatively slender silhouette this tree can grow even 20 meters higher than the tallest giant sequoias, that are nevertheless the biggest trees in the world, when looking at the volume of the trunk. The tallest known living tree, named Hyperion, is 115.55 m or 379.1 feet (measured in 2006) tall! This gets close to 120 to 130 m, that, according to a 2004 biological study, is the maximum attainable height [1] of a tree.    
  • Scientific Name: Sequoia sempervirens

  • Origin: North America

  • Wood Type: Hardwood, Angiosperm, Deciduous 

Thuya Burl:

  • Common Name:    Thuya Burl 
  • About:  Tetraclinis is a distinct genus of evergreen coniferous tree in the cypress family Cupressaceae, containing only one species, Tetraclinis articulata, also known as Sandarac. It is native to northwestern Africa in the Atlas Mountains of Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia, with two small outlying populations on Malta, and near Cartagena in southeast Spain. It grows at relatively low altitudes in a hot, dry subtropical Mediterranean climate. The resin (sandarac) from the Thuya tree is used to make varnish and lacquer and it is particularly valued for preserving paintings. This hardwood color varies from a rich, lustrous golden reddish brown to nearly black with heavy small dark 'eyes'. It is very hard, heavy, oily, and aromatic, but tends to be brittle. The eyes, perfectly round, are scattered about in some burls like the figure in bird’s-eye maple; in others they are grouped as islands.  
  • Scientific Name: Tetraclinis_articulata

  • Origin: Africa

  • Wood Type: Hardwood, Angiosperm, Deciduous 






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