Glossary of Woods

Acacia - A shrub yielding a yellow-coloured strong and durable hardwood, used in inlay work

Alder - Of light yellow-brown colour, widely used in turnery

Amaranth - see Purple Heart, Bois Violette and Brazilian Rosewood

Amboyna - An East Indian wood of yellowish-brown colour, often used for its distinctive 'birds-eye' burr figurings, used both on large surfaces, and as specific inlays

Apple - A heavy hardwood, reddish-brown in colour, with straight grain, used as both a veneer and inlay

Ash - Having a  deep yellow-brown colour of great depth, Hungarian ash has a strong 'watermarked' grain, as opposed to the standard European variety

Beech - Of brownish white colour, having a speckled grain

Birch - Colour ranging from cream to biscuit, and having a straight plain grain

Bog Oak - Oak, which has been preserved in peat, bogs, black in colour, and possessing great hardness and strength

Box - A very hard, extremely heavy wood of pale yellow colour, with a fine regular texture, used in stringing and inlay work

Brazil Wood - A hard, heavy wood strongly marked colouring from brown through to red, used in veneering, or as an inlay

Calamandar - also known as Coromandel, and Macassar Ebony; A strikingly marked grain, its colours ranging from yellow, through hazel brown, to black

Camphorwood - Of a brown to yellow colour, possessing insect resistant qualities, much used in 'campaign' furniture

Cedar - A fragrant, light, soft brown wood with straight grain, resistant to warping, used as drawer linings in better furniture, and humidors

Cherry - A hardwood with reddish-yellow close grain

Circassian Walnut - A generic name for the strongly figured wood, originating in the Caucasus and southern Europe, the colours having brown to yellow tones, and with the Italian variety having black inclusions

Coromandel - See Calamander and Macassar Ebony

Deal - A generic name was given to the timber of firs and pines

Ebony - A dense hardwood of black hue, the origin of the French term 'Ébéniste' denoting a master cabinet maker capable of working with this wood

Elm - A hard, durable wood of yellow-brown colour, with strong markings; burr elm is used in veneers

Gonçalo Alves - also known as Tigerwood and Zebrawood; reddish-brown in colour, strongly marked striations

Hare-Wood - the name given to  the cut sycamore, stained with ferrous sulphate, and used sparingly in inlays

Holly - An ivory white, hard, fine-grained wood, used in inlays and stringing

Kingwood - also, Bois Violette, Amaranth, Palisander, Purpleheart and Brazilian Rosewood; From the tropical Americas, strongly marked, colours ranging from yellow through browns, and having a violet hue

Laburnum - A hard fine-grained wood, the decorative burr grain used in 'oyster' veneers

Lacewood - Striped, and of a highly decorative yellow colour, used as veneers, and obtained from  quarter sawn Planes

Lignum Vitae - A very heavy dark wood of great strength; sinks in water

Lime - A light, soft, but tough and durable white wood, free from knots and cross graining, much used by carvers

Mahogany - The best is regarded as Cuban, hard, durable, well marked and easiest to carve; 'Honduras' or 'Spanish' has a less marked grain

Maple - A compact, fine-grained white wood, with noted 'birds-eye' markings, used for picture frames and drawer linings

Oak - A Highly durable dark brown wood of considerable strength; pollarded oak is used in decorative veneers

Olive Wood - Of a greenish-yellow colour with black cloudy spots and veins

Padouk - A hardwood, of a dark red colour, visually akin to mahogany

Palisander - See Kingwood

Palmwood - Banded, and of chocolate brown colour alternating with a lighter yellow, used sparingly in veneer work

Partridgewood - Chocolate brown with darker flecks, resembling the markings of a male partridge, and used sparingly in inlay work

Pear - A white, fairly soft, durable wood, often used in carving

Pitch Pine - A variety of wood from the North Americas; it is hard and of a striated yellowish colour with reddish tints

Plane - A white close-grained wood

Pollard Oak and Walnut - The wood of oak and walnut trees that have been polled, cut at the top to give a bushier head, and creating a 'speckled ' marking created by the outgrowth of multiple branches

Purple Heart - See Kingwood

Rosewood - A hard-wood from the tropics; having a marked grain, with colours ranging from yellow through the browns

Sandalwood - A fragrant, insect-resistant wood of yellowish hue

Satin Walnut - The English name for American Gum; a light brown sometimes with black striped markings

Satinwood - A hard, close-grained, heavy wood of yellow colour shading to a golden hue; often with a distinct rippled figuring, and extensively used in Adam, Hepplewhite and Sheraton designs. Originating in both the East and West Indies

Snakewood - A rare, very hard heavy wood of yellow colour, mottled with deep brown marks, arranged regularly and bearing a slight resemblance to the markings of a snake

Sycamore - A species of maple, hard and even-grained; in its natural state is of a light yellowish colour

Teak - A heavy, very hard wood of reddish-brown colour

Thuya - A North African wood used for inlay work, of a golden brown colour, with small "birds'-eyes" in a halo or circle

Tulipwood - A hardwood of yellowish colour with reddish stripes; it is usually cut across the grain and used in veneers for crossbanding

Walnut - A fairly hard fine-grained wood of rich brown colour, veined and shaded with darker browns

Yew - A very hard, tough, pliable wood of orange-red or dark brown colour, with strong markings

Zebra Wood - see Gonçalo Alves