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Wood Descriptions
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You say you don't know what Cocobolo is?

Well, here is where we tell you. Included in this section are photographs of many of the domestic and exotic hardwoods we work with at Doc's Boxes. These photos, all taken in our shop, are of the unfinished wood, no varnish or wax. In many cases, however, we have wet them to provide you with a better idea of their finished appearance.


This is a work in progress and will change considerably over time as I borrow information liberally from wherever I can find it on the web. If you are interested in the subject I strongly recommend you visit the following sites:
Scissors and Saws
HobbitHouse
Woodworkers Choice


Click on thumbnail for larger image.

Domestic Hardwoods

alderAlder
SOURCE: USA
PROPERTIES: A soft, relatively low-strength, straight-grained, even-textured wood pale yellow to reddish brown in color.
Product Example


ashAsh
SOURCE: USA and Canada
PROPERTIES: Quite similar to Red Oak in appearance and many working properties. Color is light cream to light brown.
Product Example


Maple BurlBig Leaf Maple Burl
SOURCE: USA
PROPERTIES: Unbelievable, swirly, unpredictable grain patterns with light to dark variations of cream brown to dark brown color.
Product Example


butternutButternut
SOURCE: Canada and USA
PROPERTIES: A straight grained, coarse textured wood with medium brown to dark brown heartwood, lighter than black walnut, which it generally resembles.
Product Example


carobCarob
SOURCE: Worldwide, including USA
PROPERTIES: The carob wood available locally in Arizona has pink heartwood and gray-white sapwood.
Product Example


cherryCherry
SOURCE: USA and Canada
PROPERTIES: Hard straight grained with firm texture. Heartwood is reddish brown to deep red, with brown flecks, and will naturally darken with age.
Product Example


Flamed Box ElderFlame Box Elder
SOURCE: USA
PROPERTIES: Yellowish brown wood with the sapwood offering minor contrast. The most attractive asset of box elder wood is the stunning pink to red streaks that can appear in the trunks of larger specimens. These streaks are the pigment from a fungus that enters the tree from insect holes or splits.
Product Example


hackberryHackberry
SOURCE: USA
PROPERTIES: Yellowish grey to light brown with yellow streaks. The wood is very susceptible to blue staining before and after kiln drying and has irregular grain, occasionally straight and sometimes interlocked, with a fine uniform texture.
Product Example


hollyHolly
SOURCE: USA
PROPERTIES: Hard to find cream to very white hardwood from holly trees of eastern US. Grain is almost invisible.
Product Example


mapleMaple
SOURCE: USA and Canada
PROPERTIES: Color and hardness depend on species, but colors usually vary from almost white to light brown. Maple has many different figures, including birdseye, curly, quilted, plain, and burls.
Product Example


Spalted MapleMaple, Spalted
SOURCE: USA and Canada
PROPERTIES: Spalting is caused by the beginning of the rotting.
Product Example


ambrosia (wormy) maple Maple, Ambrosia or Wormy
SOURCE: USA and Canada
PROPERTIES: Ambrosia Maple is the result of a grain discolorations caused by an infestation of the Ambrosia beetle.
Product Example


Native OliveOlive, Native
SOURCE: USA
PROPERTIES: Yellowish brown with dark brown streaks. Hard & heavy. Grain is straight to wavy, very fine texture.
Product Example


Osage OrangeOsage Orange
SOURCE: USA
PROPERTIES: A medium to hard wood with a golden yellow to bright orange heartwood, with possible pronounced darker grain streaks. Medium to coarse texture, straight grained.
Product Example


red oakRed Oak
SOURCE: USA
PROPERTIES: Straight grain with a coarse texture; color is Light brown with a reddish tinge.
Product Example


Sweet ChestnutSweet Chestnut
SOURCE: USA (from Mediterranean via England)
PROPERTIES: Wood we have is a pale yellow with some spalt lines. It is virtually grainless in appearance.
Product Example


walnutWalnut
SOURCE: USA
PROPERTIES: Light to dark brown or chocolate brown with fine but open grain.
Product Example


Figured WalnutWalnut, Figured
SOURCE: USA
PROPERTIES: Swirled, twisted grain areas from walnut boards.
Product Example


Central and South American Hardwoods

bloodwoodBloodwood
SOURCE: Tropical South America
PROPERTIES: The heartwood is a deep, rich brick-red color. It is noteworthy in that it keeps its color over time and doesn't brown-out as do many of the other red-toned woods.
Product Example


BocoteBocote
SOURCE: From Central America; Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Colombia, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Haiti and Jamaica.
PROPERTIES: Spectacular background colors of dark brown to red with multicolored strips that vary from yellow to orange and green to dark brown.
Product Example


CanarywoodCanarywood
SOURCE: Five or six species of rather infrequent occurrence from Panama to Ecuador and southern Brazil.
PROPERTIES: The heartwood is yellow or orange, typically variegated, sometimes "rainbow hued," usually changing to red or brown. Uses include heavy construction, fine furniture and cabinet work, flooring, ship components, turnery, decorative veneers, cooperage.
Product Example


Chatke KokChatke Kok
SOURCE: Mexico
PROPERTIES: Vibrant, often almost shocking red with darker colored zones; color tends to fade to yellow brown on exposure to sunlight.
Product Example


CocoboloCocobolo
SOURCE: the Pacific regions of Central America, extending from Panama to southwestern Mexico
PROPERTIES: The sapwood of cocobolo is so pale it is almost white, but the heartwood is a mix of brilliant colors ranging from deep reds to an attractive mix of streaks and markings of red, black, purple, yellow and orange. Its uses include architectural woodwork, turnery, tool handles, musical and scientific instruments as well as specialty items.
Product Example


CurunaiCurunai
SOURCE: Paraguay.
PROPERTIES: Has a red color with a flecky appearance and a fine even texture. It is hard and dense and polishes easily.
Product Example


Goncalo AlvesGoncalo Alves
SOURCE: Southern Mexico through Central America into the Amazon basin.
PROPERTIES: Dense, strong, durable wood that takes a high polish and is used mostly for decorative work, turnings and furniture. Heartwood marked by irregular shades of brown and red.
Product Example


JatobaJatoba
SOURCE: in Brazil and throughout Central America, in southern Mexico and the West Indies to Bolivia and Peru.
PROPERTIES: A strikingly beautiful wood with burgundy and deep reds occasionally having dark stripes. Ideal for demanding applications such as stair treads, athletic equipment, tool handles, and gear cogs.
Product Example


KataloxKatalox
SOURCE: Southern Mexico through Central America and the West Indies; especially abundant in the Guianas and the Amazon region.
PROPERTIES: Color is dark reddish brown to black, purple tinge; the sharply demarcated sapwood is creamy yellow; medium luster. Dense and somewhat brittle, Katalox is a suitable substitute for Ebony.
Product Example


Spalted KataloxSpalted Katalox Sapwood
SOURCE: Southern Mexico through Central America and the West Indies; especially abundant in the Guianas and the Amazon region.
PROPERTIES: Katalox sapwood is creamy yellow; medium luster. Spalting is caused by fungus.
Product Example


MaccawoodMaccacauba
SOURCE: Central America
PROPERTIES: Rose red to rich purple brown with darker streaks. Grain is straight to roey. Medium to fine texture with a medium to high luster.
Product Example


Peroba RosaPeroba Rosa
SOURCE: Paraguay
PROPERTIES: Peroba varies in color from rose-red to yellowish, with little or no distinction between the heart and sapwood. Used in the luxury carpentry, naval construction, doors, and floorboards.
Product Example


PurpleheartPurpleheart
SOURCE: Brazil, Mexico and South America
PROPERTIES: Brown when freshly cut but oxidizes to a violet purple. Hard, heavy and finely textured. Grain usually straight, often with a fine, curly figure. Moderately hard to work but takes a glossy, lustrous finish.
Product Example


RedheartRedheart (Curupay)
SOURCE: Paraguay, Argentina, Brazil
PROPERTIES: Reddish brown with nearly black streaks. Fine uniform texture. Hard, heavy and very durable. Difficult to work because of its extreme hardness. Turns well.
Product Example


TulipwoodTulipwood
SOURCE: Brazil, Colombia, Guyana and Venezuela.
PROPERTIES: Remarkable for its color: creamy yellow, with pink to reddish purple stripes. Uses include inlay, marquetry, game boards, small turnings and decorative items.
Product Example


YellowheartYellowheart (Pau Amarello)
SOURCE: Lower Amazon region in the State of Para, Brazil
PROPERTIES: Pale yellow to mustard color wood that retains its color with age: medium density, tight grained.
Product Example


African Hardwoods

anigreAnigre
SOURCE: Tanzania
PROPERTIES: Coloration is yellowish-white to pale brown, sometimes with a pinkish tint and/or gray areas.
Product Example


black limbaBlack Limba
SOURCE: West African
PROPERTIES: Coloration ranges from gold to gray and brown. Rays are fine and irregular; pores are scarce but large enough to give an interesting grain character.
Product Example


BubingaBubinga
SOURCE: Tropical West Africa, Cameroon, Gabon
PROPERTIES: A hard, heavy wood with characteristics of the rosewoods. Heartwood medium reddish brown or purplish brown with darker veining. Relatively hard and dense; cam be machined smoothly; takes a fine finish.
Product Example


ebonyGabon Ebony
SOURCE: Gold Coast, Nigeria, Cameroon, Zaire
PROPERTIES: Jet black color with only the slightest possibility of dark brown streaks.
Product Example


PadaukPadauk
SOURCE: Nigeria, Cameroons and the Congos
PROPERTIES: African padauk is bright red in color, deepening in time to a very deep red. Fairly dense and heavy, with prominent open pores. Easy to work, characteristic of most fine cabinet woods.
Product Example


ZebrawoodZebrawood
SOURCE: British West Africa, Gaboon and the Cameroons
PROPERTIES: Highly decorative, light gold color, with narrow streaks of dark brown to black, visible by quartering. Heavy and hard, it can be polished to a high luster, but it is rather coarse in texture.
Product Example


Hardwoods of Other Regions

LacewoodLacewood
SOURCE: Australia
PROPERTIES: Color is pink to reddish brown, and is highly figured with a distinct small lacelike pattern. The wood is lustrous and has good polishing properties.Uses include cabinetmaking, fixtures, moldings, parquet flooring, baskets, casks, drum sticks, fine furniture, organ pipes, pianos, sounding boards, xylophones.
Product Example


Red PalmRed Palm
SOURCE: SE Asia
PROPERTIES: Palm is actually a grass not a tree. Very unusual grain consisting of interlocking strands of light reddish brown and dark reddish brown. Very brittle, will crack and split easily while turning.
Product Example




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