Exotic Hardwoods

These woods are what we normally work with, but are not limited to.
To see more options download our Unusual Wood Types PDF.


Genus: Khaya
Principal Lumber Species: K. Ivorensis & K. Anthotheca

General Characteristics: Moderate density & hardness. Polishes to a high luster. Texture even. Color medium reddish brown, darkens considerably with age.       

African & American mahoganies are very closely related botanically and are similar in physical structure and appearance. African mahogany tends to be more prominently ribbon-figured.  

The texture of African mahogany is slightly coarser than American mahogany and hence a little more absorbent. The same stain will produce different colors on the two.  

A fine decorative wood.


Genus: Pericopsis
Principal Lumber Species: elata

General Characteristics: Hard, heavy and strong, similar to teak in most technical properties, but not difficult to work and can be glued successfully employing ordinary techniques.

Afrormosia is similar to teak in color, texture and graining. A first class cabinet and furniture wood, it is not well known in the United States, but admired by all those who know it. Some of the “teak” furniture imported from Scandinavian countries is actually Afrormosia. 

Afrormosia does not contain the heavy concentration of silicates and minerals characteristic of genuine teak, and for this reason is not suggested as a teak substitute in critical marine work.

From Ghana area of West Africa, it is occasionally called Kokrodua and sometimes referred to as “African teak,” although not related to genuine teak.



Genus: Alnus
Principal Lumber Species: rubra
Other Common Names: Red Alder, Western Alder

Alder is one of the most common of the Pacific Coast commercial timbers. It is the only broadleaf tree with cones. Alder grows best in moist conditions at lower elevations throughout its range. The greatest volume occurs around Washington’s Puget Sound and in Northwest Oregon. Alder has become the third most extensively exported hardwood in the United States. The biggest importers of alder are Germany, Japan and Italy, while half of what is cut annually is used in the domestic market. 

Alder is a good utility furniture wood. Exposed parts stain to blend with walnut, mahogany or cherry veneers. This hardwood is used to make cabinets, fine furniture, furniture frames, pallets, plywood, veneer, specialty items and paper products. It is also considered a good turnery wood.


Genus: Turraeanthus
Principal Lumber Species: africana

General Characteristics:  Next to Satinwood, Avodire is credited as being the most beautiful of all blonde woods.  Even the less decorative boards offer the attractive graining typical of fine tropical woods.  Sands, glues and finishes easily.

This extraordinarily beautiful blonde furniture wood is found in limited quantities in the Ivory Coast area of West Africa.  Color is very pale, varying from off-white to a creamy golden shade.  Often highly mottle figured.  Most logs today are used for veneers.


Genus: Guibourtia
Principal Lumber Species: tessmannii

General Characteristics: Hard and heavy with some of the characteristics of rosewood, to which it is said to be distantly related.

A fine cabinet wood closely related to benge (G. arnoldiana), another rare and beautiful wood and Shedua or Amazakoue (G. Ehie) from Africa’s Ivory Coast.

Over-all color, after some exposure, is a deep, opulent-looking red, sometimes displaying fine, evenly spaced lines of darker hue. Also used as a decorative plywood


Genus: Pterocarpus
Principal Lumber Species: soyauxii (African), dabergioides (Anadaman Islands), macrocarpus (Burma)

General Characteristics: Generally coarse texture with interlocking grain. Sawdust may cause respiratory problems (African Padauk only) Rosy to crimson red in color with contrasting streaks; the variety from Africa is almost entirely red.

Padauk (pronounced Pa duke) is commonly known as vermillion. It is one of the truly beautiful woods of the world. There is a padauk species in the Philippine Islands known as NARRA. Pradu, another closely related wood, is imported from Thailand.


Genus: Juglans
Principal Lumber Species: nigra

General Characteristics: Moderately dense and hard. Strong in camparison to weight. Excellent machining properties. Superb finishing qualities. Tree is deciduous, wood ring porous. Open pores require filling in conventional finishing. Annual growth clearly marked. Texture fine and even. Polishes to high luster. Heartwood variegated dark, chocolate brown, sometimes with a purplish cast. Sapwood nearly white.

Walnut is the most valuable furniture and cabinet timber of the United States. It is scattered and in small groves over the entire United States east of the Great Plains, with the best growing in the Middle-West, the Mississippi and Ohio valleys, Tennessee and the lower Appalachian mountains.  

Walnut is principally used in fine furniture, fixtures and cabinets, gun stocks, interior trim, radio and television cabinets, musical instrument cases and the like. Much is made into veneers for walnut faced plywood.


Genus: Millettia
Principal Lumber Species: M. laurentii (Wenge), M. stahlmanii (Panga Panga)

General Characteristics: Hard, dimensionally stable and durable. Machines, carves and finishes very satisfactorily. Heartwood is chocolate to almost black in color. Close inspection shows the wood is actually comprised of alternate layers of distinctive dark and light-colored tissue.

This species grows in many tropical countries but the only important lumber producing trees are found in Africa. Wenge is a product of West Africa (Zaire, Cameroon and Gabon), while Panga Panga is found in East Africa (Mozambique, Tanzania and Kenya). Except for tiny white deposits in Panga Panga grain, the two woods are indistinguishable from each other.

Well known locally as a carving wood, and long prized on the continent as a cabinet wood. Wenge is used for fine furniture, interior and exterior joinery, paneling and turning. Regarded as a premier flooring wood as well.

These woods are what we normally work with, but are not limited to.
To see more options download our Unusual Wood Types PDF.