We use many different species of wood here at RedBeard, but these are some of our favorites.
Birdseye Maple is not technically a distinct species of Maple, but rather a figure that’s occasionally found in Hard Maple due to unfavorable growing conditions. It’s named "birdseye" maple because the figure--the small, circular knots of terminated branches--resembles small birds eyes.
Like Birdseye Maple, Ambrosia Maple is not a distinct species of maple, but rather another type of figured Hard Maple. The name "ambrosia" comes from the ambrosia beetle, which, when burrowing into the tree, brings in a non-toxic fungus that permanently stains the wood.
Known for its golden, ribbon-like figure, Sapele (sa-PAY-lay or sa-PEEL-ee) is a popular material for furniture, cabinetry, musical instruments, and, perhaps most notably, cigar boxes and humidors. Fun fact: Sapele is one of the woods that gives cigar shops their famous, cedar-like smell.
Yes, Purpleheart really is that purple. It's also extremely hard, and extremely dense. It dulls tools quickly, and is often difficult to work due to its gummy resin that can clog power sanders. Freshly-milled, it resembles a brownish pink, but over time it darkens into a rich, eggplant purple.
Does Black Walnut even need an introduction? It's been a mainstay of North American woodworking for decades. Strong, dimensionally stable, and easy to work, Black Walnut is a popular choice for just about every kind of project, whether it be for cabinetry, furniture, or wood turning.
Prized for its zebra-like figure, Zebrawood is one of the more expensive hardwoods we use here at RedBeard. Due to its price, Zebrawood is often used in smaller, more decorative applications, although it does sometimes find a home in luxury furniture, table tops, and even hardwood flooring.
Sometimes referred to as "faux-Ebony" due to its naturally dark color, Wenge (WHEN-gii or WHEN-ghay) is difficult to work and even more difficult to plane. Its tight, interlocked grain makes tear out extremely common, and when sawn it produces needle-sharp splinters.
Perhaps the most mispronounced wood on our list, African Padauk (pah-DUKE) is usually easy to work, easy to plane, and easy to sand. When freshly-milled, Padauk resembles a brilliant, fiery orange, but over time it darkens into a smoldering, russet brown.