Exotic Woods For Woodworking

Exotic Woods For Woodworking

Exotic woods for woodworking are becoming more popular than ever before. For these projects, artisans have multiple options when selecting their lumber, from traditional selections like oak, walnut and poplar to a growing inventory of middle eastern and tropical species.

All of these exotic woods boast unique colors and grain patterns that promise to make any project stand out from the crowd. Here is a look at some of the choices you may encounter when selecting exotic woods for woodworking projects.

North American Exotics When looking for exotic woods for woodworking found in North America, you’ll find some wonderful dark-colored species with amazing figure, like Mahogany and Brazilian Cherry. Some lighter colored species that also come from warmer climates can be utilized too, including Hackberry, which posesses a heartwood ranging from yellowish sapwood to reddish brown.

There’s also Eastern Hard Maple which has cream to light reddish toned sapwood along with a stunning pattern of lurking black streaks throughout its white heartwood. These gorgeous specimens usually cost more than their harder counterparts due to their limited availability.

South American Exotics Another great source of exotic hardwoods comes South America where trees such as Amboyna Burl grow in abundance on plantations worldwide. This particular type of burl sports lovely complex swirls and twists throughout its grain structure and intense chocolate coloration which makes it particularly desirable among cabinetmakers and artisans alike.

Additionally, Goncalo Alves is indigenous in several countries within the continent including Brazil and Paraguay; this type of wood has unique coloring that ranges between olive green, tan or golden right into deep orange-brown and striking grain patterns which make it ideal for accent pieces or furnishings with a contemporary design palette.

Middle Eastern Exotics & Tropical Species Exotics Woods For Woodworking No exotic woodworking collection will be complete without Middle Eastern specimens such as Olivewood – one of the costliest hardwoods due to its distinct graining pattern standing out against its creamy yellow hues – or Ebony originating in Africa or India; it’s very dense in texture making it an excellent choice for fine detailed carvings while its jet black finish further amplifies the aesthetics during finishing stages.

Notable tropical species you should keep an eye out when looking at exotics worth noting would be Teak – mostly renowned now days because of its highly durable nature outdoors while indoors it boasts vibrant tones variances along with gorgeous aged patinas – Cocobolo is brilliant rose pink color means that this conditionally dense specimen blends touches of old school style with modern minimalistic schemes making furniture more sculptural than ever before or even Sheesham/ Rosewood known mainly for what sets it apart from the pack; namely tiger striping along spectrally beautiful yet gunmetal gray tones resembling metal rather than something organic – adding an unexpected twist to any finished product.

Varieties of Exotic Woods

Exotic woods can offer woodworkers an opportunity to explore unique and rare material beyond what’s available in the standard woodworking store. Exotic woods come from around the world, making them perfect for those who want to find something special and one-of-a-kind. Expanding woodworking horizons can opens up projects to a new level of style and creativity.

One example is Bloodwood. Native to South America, this reddish brown color offers an exotic look for table tops, cabinets, and turned pieces like bowls or spindles. The hard, strong wood is known for being resistant to abrasion and shock, along with its interesting appearance when it takes a high sheen finish. It also has a rarity that makes it stand out among other types of wood by having wavy lines running close together throughout the board.

Another beautiful exotic species is Purpleheart-a striking purple hue coming from Central and South America that adds extra interest to craft pieces of all kinds. This hardwood features an uneven grain pattern so that each piece is completely different from the next.

Plus it has natural colored streaks running through it; producing subtle accents that make it very attractive for furniture craftsmanship or any enclosed workpiece. Purpleheart would have the same physical properties as Bloodwood when used in carpentry projects, such as excellent strength properties combined with natural oils that resist rain, saltwater, fungus infestation or dry rot damage.

There are many more varieties of exotic woods out there that offer woodworkers endless possibilities for creativity; Wenge displays dark brown coloration with fine black grains running within the heartwood or Spanish Cedar which appears yellow-brown on growth lines but ages glossy golden brown – just some examples of how diverse options are in choosing the right speies for projects.

Pros and Cons of Exotic Woods

When it comes to woodworking, one of the biggest decisions you will have to make is what type of wood you will use for your projects. One popular choice among craftsmen is exotic woods. Exotic woods are unique in that they are imported from other countries and often feature beautiful grain patterns or unique grain colors. While these woods can greatly enhance any project, there are pros and cons to consider before deciding if they are right for your projects.

One advantage of using exotic woods for woodworking is that they can add beauty and elegance to a project that cannot be achieved with more traditional woods. The wide variety of colors and grain patterns allows the craftsman to create truly unique pieces for their homes or businesses. In addition, many species of exotic woods are extremely durable and long-lasting which makes them ideal for outdoor furniture or items exposed directly to the elements such as decking or cladding.

On the other hand, there are some downsides of working with exotic wood as well. Many species of exotic wood come at a premium price due to import taxes and shipping costs.

This scarcity also means that many craftspeople may struggle to find enough lumber from the same species to complete their project, making their designs difficult in practice or costing even more money than expected. Additionally, some species have proven especially difficult to work with due their unusual properties such as shrinking or warping when drying out after cutting.

Ultimately whether exotic woods should be used will depend on the specific needs of your project and budget constraints but with careful consideration it is possible for woodworkers to successfully incorporate these special types of timber into their creations without too much difficulty. With enough research, you may even find rarer varieties that can give you an edge over your competition while also bringing something truly beautiful into your workshop.

Popular Exotic Woods for Woodworking

In woodworking, there is a growing trend amongst craftsmen and hobbyists to work with exotic woods, also known as tropical hardwoods. These woods come from all around the world and offer unique characteristics in terms of looks, strength, coloration, and more for a wide variety of applications.

There are numerous options when it comes to selecting an exotic wood for your project. While each type of wood has its own unique characteristics, certain varieties stand out amongst the others for their particular features. Here’s our list of some of the most popular and desirable exotic Woods for carpentry:

  • Cocobolo: A South American hardwood that is reddish-brown in color and offers great strength and durability.
  • Padauk: This unique African hardwood is known not only for its deep red hue but also its resistance to fading over time.
  • Wenge: Another African hardwood prized by woodworkers widely due to its striking black grain pattern.
  • Ebony: Legendary in both durability and beauty, ebony comes from Southeast Asia and ranges from jet black to milky white colors.
  • Teak: One of the most durable types of wood available anywhere, Teak is a golden-brown tropical timber grown primarily in Southeast Asia.

Working with these exotic woods can be a pleasurable experience if done properly. Depending on your desired results and budget constraints it pays to do some research beforehand to decide on which variety would be best suited for the application at hand. Different woods have different levels of density which would determine how easy or difficult certain tasks will be when working with them.

Generally speaking, denser woods require special techniques as well as cutting tools made specifically for use with those types of lumber. Occupational safety must also be factored into any project involving powerful tools such as table saws that generate heavy vibration while in operation.

Storage and Preservation for Exotic Woods

Exotic woods are becoming increasingly popular among woodworkers due to their unique color, texture, and grain pattern. As with any type of wood, proper storage and preservation is essential if you want to continue to enjoy the beauty of these special pieces of wood. Here are some tips for storing and protecting your exotic woods so they can remain in excellent condition for years to come.

Keep Your Woods Separate

It is important to keep your exotic woods separate from other types of lumber in storage. The different varieties of woods have varying qualities that can affect the properties of other species when stored together. For example, some varieties can absorb moisture from others if stored together, causing them to warp or rot more quickly.

Protect Against Moisture

When storing exotic woods it is important to protect them from excess moisture exposure. Keeping the wood in a dry and ventilated area is critical as well as wrapping each piece individually before storing them away. This will prevent water infiltration which could affect the quality of the lumber over time, resulting in warping or splitting.

Avoid Unnecessary Handling

The less handling an exotic wood receives the longer it will last because you’re not exposing it to potential dings or scratches that could happen while unpacking or moving around in storage. If you must handle it wrap it in a soft cloth or towel before doing so and always lift rather than dragging so as not to damage the surface of the lumber pieces.

Sourcing Exotic Woods

When it comes to woodworking, one of the things that makes it so enjoyable is the large variety of materials available. For those looking to create unique and luxurious pieces, there are a number of exotic woods on the market that can be used.

These materials come with their own look, feel, and even smell that can help give a piece an extra level of quality and style. However, sourcing these rare woods in good condition can be a bit of a challenge for those just beginning their woodworking journey.

Where To Find Exotic Woods

At first glance, finding exotic woods may seem tough but luckily there are a few places to check if you’re looking for high-quality materials in excellent condition. One option is your local lumberyard which stocks both domestic and exotic species such as teak, rosewood, mahogany etc. These suppliers often have staff members knowledgeable about their selection who can guide buyers through the process of selecting the right wood for each individual project.

Another option is online retailers who specialize in rare woods from around the world. Not only do these shops have more extensive catalogs than local lumberyards, they also offer detailed descriptions alongside photos helping customers make an informed decision regarding what type of wood best suites their project’s needs and aesthetic desires.

Sourcing Responsibly Sourced Exotic Woods

Although some may think it’s ok to purchase indiscriminately from whichever supplier has the materials they need available at the most competitive price – when it comes to manufacturers specialising in exotic woods there can be additional considerations worth making before purchasing from them. One thing to watch out for is making sure any suppliers you do use source responsibly with responsible forestry practices being carried out throughout any harvesting process.

This helps ensure each species remains viable along with aiding in preventing any deforestation issues brought about by irresponsible manufacture or mass production methods. Being aware of different types of certifications held by suppliers can also help inform customers as to what tier of quality being offered as well as provide an extra layer of assurance that all products bought come from sustainable sources.

Power Tool Selection for Exotic Woods

For ambitious woodworking projects using exotic woods, selecting the correct power tools is a crucial part of the process. By understanding what material is being used, you can better determine what type of tool will be most effective and safe to use. Exotic woods are generally harder than standard hardwoods and can be prone to heat buildup when used with certain tools, so it’s important to know which hardware works best.


When selecting drills for use on exotic woods, a consumer should choose high-speed steel drills that feature a 135 degree split point tip. This gives the drill a sharper point which makes it easier for it to penetrate the wood, making fewer splintering cuts and reducing tear out.

In addition, drilling holes in exotic wood by hand should only be done with the aid of drill stops which prevent over-drilling and help maintain accuracy in hole depth as well as making sure hole alignment is correct.


Using only high-quality saws is also essential when working with an exotic wood. While standard hardwood saw blades work well for softer types of wood, they won’t necessarily produce smooth cuts in exotic woods like ebony or rosewood.

That’s why high-grade carbide blades that feature at least 18 teeth per inch are recommended for doing cleanly cut jobs that won’t leave ragged edges behind. When cutting thinner pieces of timber on table saws or miter saws prone to kickback, a riving knife should always be utilised as an extra safety precaution.


Routers are an important tool when shaping curved creations from exotic woods; solid carbide bits guarantee longer life while producing superior results for heavier materials like teak or African mahogany compared to those made from cheaper metals such as High Speed Steel (HSS). Richer cutter styles enable fast cutting movements across grain surfaces while improving life expectancy for bits used more frequently on harder woods.

When completing any routing job it’s important to remember dust collection equipment must always be utilised and maintained properly to reduce long-term health risks associated with exposure to airborne particles such as general dust and fibres related to the material being worked on.

Craftsmanship Tips for Working with Exotic Woods

The use of exotic wood in woodworking is a favourite amongst hobbyists and professionals alike. Allowing for high quality, custom builds without the hefty price tag of more commonly used hardwoods, these more obscure species offer both aesthetic qualities and affordability.

While it can be intimidating to tackle a project with new and unfamiliar woods, understanding the fundamentals of working with exotic woods will give you the confidence to make professional-quality finishes that you can be proud of. Here are four tips for artisanal success when working with these types of woods:

  • Get Acquainted: Learn about the characteristics and physical properties of each type of exotic wood before you get started to ensure that your desired techniques and tools will provide the best results;
  • Test & Records: Whenever possible, test out tactics on a scrap piece first in order to prevent costly mistakes;
  • Protect Your Investment: Preserving exotic woods is often more complicated than everyday hardwoods since they require additional protection from decay caused by humidity. Applying a quality sealant or oil finish before use is recommended.

Once you have achieved a basic understanding of the species at hand, proper cutting techniques are critical for success. Exotic woods have unique traits such as mineral streaks that can cause tear-out or excessive burning when sawing if caution is not taken. Determining the optimal speed settings for your saws and preparing them beforehand with sharp blades customized for different cuts ensures consistency throughout the job.

By contrast, planers should always be suitable adjusted to remove minimal material in order to avoid damaging valuable high-end grains that define most exotic woods when being shaped according to design specifications.

For hand tools like chisels and gouges, honing using various grits is mandatory before cutting in order to not damage the teeth which could produce rough surfaces instead of clean finely crafted edges. Moreover, jigsaws provide excellent flexibility depending on the shape required; however caution must be taken when using course blades since shearing fibres could lead chipformation beyond repairr. In summary – precision coupled with attention to detail is vital for success when handling rare wood specimens.


Exotic woods are an especially attractive choice for woodworking due to their unique patterns and exceptional strength. A craftsman can create beautiful pieces of furniture, flooring, and other wooden products without the need for excessive bracing by using these strong woods. Additionally, exotic woods offer a diverse range of colors and grain patterns that can be used to create truly unique and visually appealing projects.

The natural oils in these woods also provide a long-lasting sealant that keeps their surface safe from moisture damage, decay, and insects. These woods are not only durable but also have an inherently luxurious appearance that will draw attention wherever they are used.

Though they tend to cost more than traditional hardwoods due to their rarity and shorter availability span in certain locales, the small investment is well worth it when considering the lifetime of enjoyment that comes from utilizing such materials for woodworking creations. After a little effort spent researching desirable types, suppliers and prices, anyone looking to embark on a new woodworking project should consider using exotic woods for their design as opposed to traditional ones.

The distinct look combined with the exceptional durability makes them a premium material capable of creating an unforgettable beauty out of any structure or product created from such materials.

Additionally, investing in quality exotic woods helps support local economies around the world by providing vital revenue streams for struggling populations who rely on this income source as opposed to illegally obtained goods obtained through deforestation or illegal logging operations conducted in areas with little government oversight.

This not only benefits these regions but has global benefits as well – helping reduce carbon emissions that contribute greatly to climate change around the globe while protecting various regional habitats at risk for destruction due to unregulated logging operations and land grabs by private interests.

Therefore not only do these beautiful materials come with substantial aesthetic rewards but environmental benefits as well – making them all the more appealing when considering your next woodworking endeavor.