African Blackwood is an exceptionally dense, very hard wood that works well and needs no finish. It is a rich dark brown with contrasting tan to set off the figure. Weighs 82 lbs. per cubic foot.
Arizona Ironwood is a rich, golden brown wood with strong chocolate brown to black figure. It is very heavy, hard and oily and finishes to a smooth satin finish. It makes a beautiful presentation knife when paired with gold or brass hardware. The best grades, i.e., figure and color come from deep in the Mexican Sonoran desert and are becoming very scarce. Supplies are dwindling and prices are increasing. The presentation grades are the most beautiful of all woods. It weighs 68 lbs. per cubic foot.
Bloodwood is brilliantly colored wood and, as the name implies, is a rich deep red with undertones of purple, but very little figure. It is not as dense and heavy as some other woods, but is free from warpage and shrinkage. Weighs 60 lbs. per cubic foot.
Bocote is yellow to brown with black stripes, often highly figured with eyes. Appears oily with a medium luster. Is hard and heavy and takes a natural polish and is found in Mexico and Central America. Weighs 50-60 lbs. per cubic foot.
Bolivian Rosewood is a heavy, dense wood that is naturally oily and needs no sealer. Color varies from light rose to dark violet with irregular black stripes. It grows in Brazil and varies greatly in color, depending on the area in which it is grown. Weighs 47-56 lbs. per cubic foot.
Cocobolo, one of the most colorful woods available, varies from red to black, gold and yellow. It is imported from Panama, Costa Rica and Nicaragua. The dust resulting from sawing and sanding is hazardous to those who are allergic to it. A good mask should be worn while processing. Despite this problem, it is one of the all time favorites for knife handles. Very durable. Weighs 60-77 lbs. per cubic foot.
Ebony exists in many varieties, varying from black (from Gabon, Central West Africa and Ceylon) to black streaked with yellow and yellowish brown (from East India). All ebony is hard and dense, and, as a result, is durable and takes a very fine polish. We also have Macassar Ebony which is black striped with grey-tan. Weighs 50-75 lbs. per cubic foot.
Honduras Rosewood is another variety of the rosewood family with the same characteristics. It is heavy, hard and has some natural oil. Honduras varies from a light tan to a light purple in color, generally lighter than Brazilian. It grows in Honduras and weighs 56-68 lbs. per cubic foot.
Kingwood is a dense, hard wood with blue to purple figure-either a highly figured pattern or closely spaced lines, depending upon the way it is cut. This wood is imported from Mexico. Weighs 75 lbs. per cubic foot.
Maple (Bird’s-eye, Curly, and Fiddleback) are all white or cream to light brown in color. Bird’s-eye has small eyes scattered throughout the surface. Curly has wavy lines that make shell patterns or parallel curving lines depending on the direction in which it is sawed. Fiddleback possesses parallel lines of wavy grain from 1/8″ to 1/4″ apart. All of these figures can be enhanced by staining and sanding. The stain penetrates into the figure more deeply than does the surrounding area. The result is a darker figure against a very tight background. Weighs 45 lbs. per cubic foot.
Paduka is a dense, easy working wood that is rich red to orange-red with alternate layers of hard and soft open grain. It is a beautiful, exotic wood highly prized because of its coloration. When exposed to light, this wood becomes a rich brown with red undertones. Weighs 45 lbs. per cubic foot.
Purpleheart or Amaranth originates in Mexico, Central America, Brazil, and British Guyana. It is dull brown in color which turns to a deep purple upon exposure to air. It has little figure, even texture, hard and heavy, and works well. It must be sealed. Weighs 65 lbs. per cubic foot.
American Walnut – Exhibition Grade, highly figured, dark brown to light brown bands of color.
Wenge color is dark brown to black with fine black veining. Hard and heavy. Coarse texture but works easily. Comes from Congo Brazzaville and Zaire. Weighs 60 lbs. per cubic foot.