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Thread: Most sought after exitic woods?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2007

    Most sought after exitic woods?

    A question for you guys.

    What are the most highly prized and hardest to get exotic woods?

    My brother-in-law is visting from south America and come to find out he's in the lumber business down there and says he has access to whole Amazon region trees of some rare lumber(not region of trees but trees from that region)....he doesnt speak English so I didnt recognize any of the names of woods he gave me but he says hes gonna send me some wood samples when he gets back.

    Here'a a curious fact...pine is rare down there

    I told him to look into shipping and customs regulations too explore the possability of exporting in small quantities.

    I want to get an idea of what south american lumber is popular but hard to get.

    He's thinking full containers of lumber, I am thinking suite case size packages fedexed or UPS'd.

    Provided the business angel is not a factor...any thoughts?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    somewhere east of Queen Creek, AZ - South East of Phoenix
    I've discussed the problem with brining in wood from south America with my lumber supplier here in Arizona and he says that all wood brought in need to be fumigated first. Thats about all I know about it.
    "There’s a lot of work being done today that doesn’t have any soul in it. The technique may be the utmost perfection, yet it is lifeless. It doesn’t have a soul. I hope my furniture has a soul to it." - Sam Maloof
    The Pessimist complains about the wind; The Optimist expects it to change;The Realist adjusts the sails.~ William Arthur Ward

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Central CA
    I see a bulk buy coming up!!!...........................
    Thanks, Mark.

    Custom Bonehead.

    My diet is working good. I'm down to needing just one chair now.

    "Just think how stupid the average person is, and then realize that half of them are even stupider!" --George Carlin

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Waterford, MI
    Probably Bolivian rosewood would rank high on the list.
    Link to my ongoing ClearVue DC Install on CV's site: http://www.gallery2.clearvuecyclones...s-Mini-CV1400/

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Mountain Home, Arkansas
    Ask Jim King, a member here. He lives in Peru and exporting exotic lumber is his business.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Houston, Texas
    Hi Julio,
    I've seen some snake wood that is really awesome, a bit like zebra wood.
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  7. #7
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Villa Park, CA
    If he could get some good brazilwood, that would be worth quite a bit. I'm pretty sure that the export of brazil wood is tightly controlled, however.

    Any rosewood species would be worth a lot here in the US.

    Ancora imparo
    Go into the world and do well. But more importantly, go into the world and do good.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Heathrow, FL
    Use this link as a guide. The species he should have access to are listed on the left.

  9. #9

    Tropical wood value


    My answer is too long so I have to put it in three pages But here it is.

    I will try to answer what seems to be a simple question. I export tropical wood from Iquitos , Peru which is a seaport located 2500 miles up the Amazon. We ship to Houston every six weeks on ocean going vessels.

    Dealing in tropical wood has about the same reputation as a blood donor with AIDS. Thousands of people make very good livings spreading fear that the tropical forests will be gone by next Christmas. The reality is that the Amazon spread across many countries is about the size as the continental US and produces a little more in total yearly than twice the annual production of Oregon. There is not yet what any sane person could call a lumber industry in the Amazon.

    I actually think that there is hope that the world will wake up to all the hustlers such as the WWF and others and figure out the real facts someday. Anyway that is a subject worthy of a book and not for this limited answer.

    Tropical woods can be exported with only a “sanitary certificate” signed by authorities of the exporting countries certifying that the wood left with no insect infestation. No fumigation needed. Now we will talk about the pallets that the wood is exported on. They are generally made of the same wood being exported which is untreated but the pallets must have a special treatment. This law “ISPM 15” Google it, it was made by your United Nations at their best.

    Now as for what woods are valuable. Rosewoods are a great example of tropicals.
    Read the article below: “THE ROSEWOOD JUNGLE”

    Many tropical woods sold are sold as something they are not. Rosewoods are one of the finest examples as is well explained in the article below. There are two main reasons. The first is that there is very little knowledge about tropical woods and the identification is at a very primitive stage. The second is that a lot of wood is sold as something it is not either on purpose or by ignorance.

    Now to make a long story short what makes some tropical wood valuable is the fantastic color and grain. Known or unknown species with , burls, roots, crotches, defect in the grain and color sell. Wood like Mahogany is cheap but is an old standard that somehow is equated with quality even tho is looks like cardboard and is still accepted in many markets but dying fast.

    I could go on for pages but this should give an idea of what you were looking for.


    by Dick Boak, manager of the Wood Division of Martin Guitar Company, visit

    Rosewoods in general have been prized throughout history because of their richly exotic and vividly contrasting grain. In terms of sheer beauty, few woods can compete with Rosewood. There is however, a great deal of confusion and misinformation about the many varieties of genuine Rosewoods as well as the so-called "substitute" species. This article should clear up most of that confusion. In order for a wood to be considered "true" or "genuine" Rosewood, the tree must be a member of the specific genus Dalbergia (Leguminosae family).
    There are many species within the Dalbergia genus:
    BLACKWOOD (Dalbergia melanoxylon) Africa African Blackwood, also known as Grenadillo or Mozambique "Ebony", is dark purple to black in color with similar density and working properties of true Ebony. It should not be confused with Granadillo, a Rosewood substitute discussed later in this article. African Blackwood is traditionally used in the construction of the finest wind instruments, bagpipes, violin bows, ornamental turnings and precious treen. It is very rare, very expensive and is generally available in small dimensioned pieces only.
    BRAZILIAN ROSEWOOD (Dalbergia nigra) Brazil Sometimes referred to as "Jacaranda", this preferred species ranges in color from dark brown to violet with spidery black pigment lines that often overlap giving the illusion of landscape, hence the term "landscape grain". The smell is like roses when freshly cut. Brazilian Rosewood is the optimum species for the reflective back and sides of acoustic guitars. The species was so popular as sliced veneer for the furniture and plywood markets during the first half of the century that it has been driven to near extinction, though some sparse new growth timber has appeared on the market. The highly resinous wood turns beautifully, polishes well and is very durable. It is very expensive if available at all.
    COCOBOLO (Dalbergia retusa) Mexico & Central America This highly exotic wild grained species is brilliant orange, rust, purple and yellow with distinctive superimposed lines of purple and black. The brilliant color seems to oxidize gradually with air exposure after cutting. Some woodworker's react specifically to the cinnomon-like sawdust that typically causes itching or sneezing. Nonetheless, the unusual vivid beauty and color contrast of this wood overshadow the allergic risks. It is typically available in small cuttings due to the relative small size of the tree.
    EAST INDIAN ROSEWOOD (Dalbergia latifolia) India Predominantly light to dark purple, with occasional red and brown streaks, East Indian Rosewood is prized for it's consistency and it's size. When Brazilian Rosewood began to become scarce, East Indian Rosewood quickly filled the vacancy. The wood was more stable, met grade lumber specifications easier, and came in larger planks. Within the last ten years, embargoes and regulations have severely limited the sizes of East Indian Rosewood pieces allowed out of India. Some "plantation" growth of the same species is available as "Sonokeling" from Indonesia. Another close relative includes Dalbergia sissoo from the region in and around India.
    HONDURAS ROSEWOOD (Dalbergia stevensonii) C. America Honduras Rosewood is pinkish brown to salmon red with dark irregular grain lines. It is very hard, heavy, and durable. It is difficult to dry and prone to heart cracking which causes poor yield, but after drying the wood is quite stable. Honduras Rosewood is highly regarded within the furniture and musical instrument industry for its beauty, its strength and its tone quality. It takes a trained eye to differentiate between Honduras Rosewood and Guatemala Rosewood, Dalbergia tucurensis or Dalbergia cubilquitzensis (two botanical names for the identical species).
    KINGWOOD (Dalbergia cearensis) Brazil Kingwood, often referred to as Violetwood, is brownish purple with fine stripes of black and luminous violet that can approach royal blue. Appreciably denser than most other rosewoods, Kingwood is similar to Brazilian Rosewood in technical properties, but harder and stronger. The size of clear cuttings is very small but Kingwood works well and takes a high natural polish. It is especially popular for fancy trinkets and decorative marquetry.
    AMAZON ROSEWOOD (Dalbergia spruceana) Brazil Also referred to as "Jacaranda do para" or "spruceana", this species resembles Brazilian Rosewood somewhat and is used for similar purposes, though odor and subtle grain characteristics are noticeably different. The pores are often filled with a characteristic yellow sulphur deposit. The trees are generally logged during Mahogany harvests in the Amazon River region.
    TULIPWOOD (Dalbergia frutescens) Brazil Sometimes distributed as "Brazilian Pinkwood", Tulipwood has a rich pinkish golden hue with luminous salmon stripes. The general color is much lighter than any of the other Rosewoods. It is quite valuable and is generally available in small cuttings only.

  10. #10

    Tropical wood part II

    Sapwood & Wormholes: All of the genuine Rosewoods and many of the common Rosewood "substitutes" have a creamy white sapwood (similar to poplar in texture) which is slightly softer than the dark heartwood and as a result is more prone to attack by insects. When the insects get through the sapwood however, they generally have a very difficult time gnawing at the denser heartwood, so they give up, turn around and exit. For this reason, Rosewoods are considered fairly resistant to insect attack. If there are wormholes at all, they are usually extremely small and fairly close to the bark.
    Calcium & Mineral Deposits: Certain growing regions have a high concentration of calcium, sulpher, or other trace minerals in the soil or in the water table. These minerals are drawn up through the roots and deposited into the pore structure and heart of the tree. When the lumber is cut, mineral can cause problems for the sawyer, since deposits can sometimes be substantial resembling crusty rocks in both appearance and hardness. (See photograph of a typical sample of deposited calcium taken from an East Indian Rosewood log during custom cutting) In addition, calcium and other mineral deposits do not register on a metal detector. Once the lumber is cut, mineral deposits can show up as chalky white dots in the pores of the board. Extensive mineral will have a detrimental effect on the sharpness of planer blades and sawteeth. Small deposits can be removed after fine sanding by tedious digging with a needle or small Exacto knife, or they can be chemically neutralized (darkened) with muriatic acid. This will seriously alter the color and grain contrast of Rosewood if applied to the whole surface, so it is important that the acid be carefully applied to each spot with a metal quill pen.
    Plantation Growth: It has become viable to grow Rosewood trees commercially, though few countries have actually taken this idea seriously. Plantation growing is, however, seen in Indonesia and other areas of the orient. Sonokeling is the exact genus and species as East Indian Rosewood (Dalbergia latifolia). It is grown in Indonesia instead of India. The visual appearance of these transplanted species is different somewhat than trees grown in their natural wild. Trees grown in regular rows without underbrush or competition for light have wide and even fast growth rings, and their grain pigment is often less rich and diverse, perhaps more pastel, than the more unpredictable wild growth. Nonetheless, plantation growth is easier to harvest and can be replanted on a regular schedule so that the cost and any detrimental environmental effect can be minimized.
    Toxicity: Though rosewood is not actually toxic, most all of the varieties are classed as potential irritants. Many people who work with certain species (and some of the substitutes) have or acquire an acute allergenic reaction to the sawdust. In some cases, people react to skin contact with itching, rash or hives. Sometimes sneezing or headaches occur from breathing the sawdust. In most cases however there is no reaction. To be safe, wear a dust mask as you should during sanding of any wood species. If you react upon skin contact, you can try a heavy sweatshirt and a pair of rubber gloves, but you might decide to simply not work with that particular variety.
    Resin Content: Most all members of the Dalbergia genus have considerable resin content that can cause some problems in the machining, gluing, and finishing processes.

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