Woods I work with

I work with a variety of colorful and interesting woods.  My work includes both select domestic and tropical hardwoods.  Almost all of the domestic wood is from the estate of a local woodworker that I purchased last year.  All of it at least 20 years old.  The tropical woods comes from established retailers importing from legal, renewable sources.

I don’t use any stain or coloring agent to enhance the appearance of the wood. My finish comes from the natural properties of the wood, tung oil, elbow grease and a coat of Renaissance Wax.

If you have a combination of woods you are interested in, I am always happy to do custom work.

Argentine Osage Orange This yellow-orange wood grows in the West Indies, Central and South America. It is related to domestic osage orange, and makes nice paddle blades.

Basswood A pale cream to white colored wood is one of my favorites and is often used for woodcarving. It grows in Eastern North America. Because it is lightweight and strong, it is one of the two woods I use for the core in my light sticks. Because of it’s low weight, strength, and ease of shaping, I also use it for my butter paddles.

Birch Is a staple of woodworkers and native to North America. It is a beautiful, pale yellow to nearly white wood and makes very stingy paddles.  The figured variety makes lovely paddles.

Bloodwood Native to tropical South America, this wood varies from cream to deep red in color. It is rather hard, and takes an outstanding finish. My current supply of bloodwood is beautifully variegated and used for most of the things I make.

Bocote Boldly marked, this wood grows in Mexico, Central and South America. Because of it’s unusual coloration, I like it for a variety of handles and the blades of my larger paddles.

Bubinga   Reddish brown in color, this fine wood comes from Equatorial Africa. It has been used in place of rosewood. Because of its beauty and strength, I like it for paddle blades.

Canarywood   This lovely tropical heartwood comes from Central and South America. It is predominantly yellow, but can manifest a near rainbow of colors. The blades I cut from it are very beautiful.

Catalpa  is an American species that varies in color from pale yellow to golden brown.  It is a light weight wood that is easy to work.  I use it for handles only.

Aromatic Red Cedar Ranging from near violet through reds, browns, and a creamy white aromatic red cedar is rarely uniform in color, and offers lovely patterns in the colors. I like to use it for the core of some of my sticks.

Chakte Viga A recent addition to my line, this yellow orange wood makes beautiful shimmering blades. It comes from tropical Mexico and points South.  I have a matched set of flogger and thumper cut from one piece in my bag.  That piece of wood was so spectacular I decided to hang onto it.

Chechen Growing in the Caribbean and South America, this beautiful wood is often mis-named Caribbean rosewood. It’s colors can vary from reds to browns, tans and near black.

Cherry Growing in America, this beautiful wood varies in color from cream colored sapwood to reddish brown heartwood. Because of the beautiful finish it takes, use it to make some of my display units.

Cocobolo This is a true rosewood and comes in a kaleidoscope of colors. Because of it’s high price, I only used it for handles.  However, in the last few months I have stumbled over a few board feet that are fairly nice, and not to horribly priced.  There are a few paddles and devil pops made from cocobolo in my display these days.

Dalmata A fairly ‘new’ wood, it varies between a bit of cream, but mostly brown streaked with black. Since it is only available in smaller pieces, I cut handles from it.

Gaboon Ebony   The most expensive wood I cut, it is a lovely deep black with a very smooth finish. I use it for most of my products. Although some is endangered, I purchase mine from legal sources.  It has an occasional habit of splitting at exactly the wrong time.  Of late, some of my stock has come with small patches of tan in the wood.  Due to the super fine grain of ebony, they almost look a bit cloud like.

Katalox   This wood comes from Mexico and Central America.  It is also known as Mexican Royal Ebony.  It is extremely dense and tight grained which helps me to product a very fine finish.  The colors in the wood I have range from almost a creamy tan through pale and deep purples with some black thrown in at times.  It is a tonewood and has become popular with luthiers for fingerboards and bridges.  I’m really excited by this wood and hope to snag more when I am back near the store where I first got it.

Koa   From Hawaii, this lovely wood may look a bit drab, but in the right light it shimmers with a radiant golden glow.

Lignum Vitae   This wood is extremely dense and strong.  The high resin and oil content make this wood difficult to sand as they combine with sawdust to clog up sandpaper.  It has a surprisingly lovely grain pattern and makes powerful thuddy toys.  The pieces I get are old stock cut offs.

Mahogany A lovely brown wood, this comes from a variety of sources and is priced accordingly. Most of my wood is Honduran mahogany, with a rich brown color and a very fine grain. I also have some that is probably Cuban and was taken from an old kitchen during re-building.

Maple One of the most common hardwoods, it also has a number of lovely figures. I am very fond of quilted, flame, and birds eye varieties.  Normally I use it for blades and where I need a white accent.

Osage Orange   This beautiful golden yellow American wood is very strong and takes a great finish.  It also makes a wonderful accent piece in my laminated handles.

Padauk One of my most favorite woods, it is predominantly red, but does vary in color. I make everything with padauk because of its workability and color. It comes from Western and tropical Africa.

Poplar Rather plain, but a nice easy wood to work with that combines decent strength with moderate weight. I make some paddles from this, and it is the only wood that may show a bit of green.

Purpleheart   Aptly named, this South American wood is very purple after it has been cut. It is rather hard on tools, but finishes out very smoothly. I use it for everything I make.

Redheart   Similar to purpleheart, but more of a pinkish red with a hint of blue. This wood is also from South America. I only use it for handles.

Walnut   This is a lovely American wood that I use quite a bit due to it’s strength and beauty. I prefer figured walnut for handles and straight grain for paddles.

Mystery Wood  From time to time I find something interesting in a sale bin that is not identified.  I have a good idea what some of it is, but not always.  Still, if  I like it, I’ll buy it, use it, and identify it as such.

1 Response to Woods I work with

  1. Becky Marquez says:

    I was recently at the lf&p in Baltimore and bought a few of your pieces. I had expressed an interest in your personal cudgel, and would like to see about having a similar one made. Please drop me an email to discuss specifics.

    Becky M
    JustBek on fet

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