Exotic woods are in great demand in many parts of the world. These rare and beautiful wood species are known for their unique properties and restricted availability, like a limited edition product.
If you are looking for the best exotic wood for your next project or want to know about the different types of exotic wood, you’re at the right place.
What is Exotic Wood?
According to Google, the term “exotic” means something “unusual or interesting because it comes from a different country or culture.”
Exotic can refer to something that is different or rare but also interesting or beautiful.
Exotic woods are rare and beautiful wood species found in different parts of the world. Most of these are hardwoods that originate from tropical regions.
Exotic wood can also refer to a wood species that is not native to a particular country and is imported from a foreign, usually distant, country.
One thing common in almost all exotic woods is that they are scarce. This is because these woods are usually concentrated in a single location or region. Exotic hardwoods are also generally very beautiful, durable and strong.
Top Types of Exotic Wood Species
If you’re curious about exotic woods or want to know more about them, feel free to reach us at our official website. CameroonTimberExportSARL is a top supplier and exporter of premium-quality African exotic woods. We are based in Douala, Cameroon.
Here are our top 16 varieties of exotic timber:
1. African Blackwood
Native to the savanna regions of central and southern Africa, this wood is often completely black and is known for its extreme hardness and durability. The Janka hardness score is 3,670 lbf (16,320 N) and the average dried weight is around 1,270 kg/m3.
The wood is very durable in terms of decay resistance. It is usually difficult to work with and is very expensive. Common uses include bodies for musical instruments, tool handles, carving, etc.
Found in the tropical areas of East Africa, Anigre has a light yellowish-brown heartwood that becomes darker with age. It is very hard (990 lbf Janka score) but almost non-durable. It is generally easy to work with. Common uses include veneer, carpentry, plywood, boatbuilding, and interior furniture.
Usually found in the tropical regions of the Americas, Balsa is an exotic hardwood. However, it’s quite soft (67 lbf Janka rating) and lightweight and has zero resistance to insect attack or decay. The reddish-brown heartwood is not very useful. The off-white sapwood is the one that is commercially used in buoys, musical instruments, rafts, packing cases, surfboards, etc.
Bubinga is another African wood that is considered exotic timber. It is native to Equatorial Africa and is very hard (2,410 lbf) and heavy (890 kg/m3 density). The reddish-brown heartwood can be moderately to very durable and is resistant to termites. It is easy to work with and is considered suitable for fine furniture, cabinetry, tabletops, veneer, and speciality items. Bubinga is particularly known for its exotic grain patterns which include pommele, waterfall, quilted, flamed, and mottled.
5. Black Ebony
Black Ebony, commonly known as Gaboon Ebony or African Ebony, is a hardwood with a jet-black heartwood. It is extremely hard (3,080 lbf) and dense. It is considered very durable in terms of resistance to insects and decay. However, it can be difficult to work with. It is one of the rarest and most expensive woods and is used in piano keys, ornaments, carvings, and other speciality items.
Cumary, also called Brazilian Teak, is found in Northern South America. This exotic wood is known for its unparalleled density (1,085 kg/m3) and Janka rating (3,330 lbf). Due to its high density, Cumary can be difficult to work with. However, it has excellent durability in terms of resistance to decay and termites. The dark brown heartwood sometimes has a reddish hue and yellowish streaks. It is a low-cost lumber used for cabinetry, furniture, flooring, construction, railroad ties, docks, handles, and turned objects.
7. Jatoba (Brazilian Cherry)
Jatoba is found in Central America, southern Mexico, northern South America, and the West Indies. The reddish-brown heartwood is hard (2,690 lbf) and heavy (910 kg/m3) and sometimes has darker greyish-brown streaks. Brazilian Cherry is rated as very durable in terms of resistance to rot and insects. It is generally difficult to work with and used in furniture, flooring, shipbuilding, tool handles, cabinetry, and turned objects.
8. Black Limba (Frake)
Black Limba, or simply Limba, is a Tropical western African hardwood with a light yellowish or golden brown heartwood. It has black streaks on the lighter surface. The wood is non-durable and easy to work with. It’s commonly used for furniture, plywood, veneer, turned objects, and musical instruments.
9. African Mahogany
African mahogany is one of the most popular varieties of mahogany hardwood timber. It’s sourced from the tropical regions of Africa. It’s a moderately hard and durable timber with a reddish-brown heartwood that becomes darker with age. Mahogany is generally easy to work with and is used in furniture, plywood, veneer, boats, interior trim, and turned items, and also as a low-cost alternative to Honduran (genuine) mahogany.
Makore hardwood is found in Western and Middle Africa (from Sierra Leone to Gabon). The reddish-brown heartwood is moderately hard and dense and has excellent resistance to decay and insect attack. Figured grain patterns are common. It is generally easy to work with and can be moderately expensive. Common uses include plywood, furniture, flooring, veneer, cabinetry, boatbuilding, turned objects, and musical instruments.
Merbau hardwood is commonly found in New Guinea, East Africa, Southeast Asia, and Australia. It is a hard and durable wood with good resistance to rot and insect attack. The orangish-brown heartwood turns darker (reddish-brown) with age. It is slightly difficult to work with and is moderately priced. Commonly used for furniture, flooring, turned objects, and musical instruments.
12. African Padauk
One of the most popular exotic hardwoods, African Padauk is native to Central and tropical West Africa. It has a beautiful pinkish or brownish red heartwood which becomes darker with age. The wood is outstanding in terms of decay resistance and is also resistant to insects. It’s also easy to work with and should be moderately priced. Common uses include veneers, furniture, flooring, tool handles, turned objects, and musical instruments.
African Rosewood is a popular exotic hardwood. It’s often confused with Bubinga, which is also sometimes called African Rosewood due to their similar appearances. It has a pink to reddish-brown heartwood with darker streaks or lines. It’s a durable wood with good stability and workability. It’s a popular choice for flooring, furniture, decking, millwork, boatbuilding, veneer, and speciality items.
Sapele or Sapeli is a hardwood species native to the tropical regions of Africa. It’s a beautiful and strong timber with good durability in terms of resistance to decay and insects. The golden-reddish-brown heartwood becomes darker with age and has figured grain patterns such as pommele, wavy, quilted, and beeswing. It’s a moderately expensive wood and used in plywood, furniture, veneer, flooring, cabinetry, boatbuilding, turned objects, and musical instruments.
Wenge is a beautiful exotic hardwood found in Central Africa. The medium brown heartwood is full of black streaks that can make it look all-black, especially after an oil finish. It is very durable in terms of decay and termite resistance. Wenge is generally expensive and used in furniture, veneers, panelling, musical instruments, and turned objects. It can be difficult to work with due to its high density.
As the name suggests, this hardwood has dark blackish streaks on its surface similar to a zebra’s stripes. It is native to West Africa. The light brown heartwood is durable in terms of resistance to decay and insect damage. It can be moderate to very expensive depending on availability. Common uses of zebrawood include veneer, furniture, tool handles, and marine applications such as skis and boatbuilding.
Some other woods such as Ipe, Lignum Vitae, Pink Ivory, and Purple Heart are also considered exotic timber for their unique appearance and/or strength.
Where To Buy Exotic Wood Online with Worldwide Delivery?
Now that you know all about the top types of exotic timber, I hope you’re ready to order your first exotic wood. Whichever type of wood you need in whatever quantity and size, we can make it available for you.
CameroonTimberExportSarl is a top manufacturer and supplier of African exotic hardwoods. We export our products to many countries, including but not limited to UAE, Saudi Arabia, Indonesia, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, South Africa, Brazil, Italy, the U.K., Germany, and more. Contact us if you need help choosing the right exotic timber for your project.