At Knotty Lumber Co. we pride ourselves in the selection and exclusive woods we are able to carry. Being a Canadian-owned, and operated company, also ensures ethically sourced and high-quality woods. What we are known for is our wide selection of Dimensional Exotic woods.

Exotic woods refer to wood species that are not commonly found in the region where they are used or are not part of the typical local forestry industry. These woods are often sourced from tropical or subtropical regions and are valued for their unique characteristics, such as distinctive grain patterns, colors, and durability. Exotic woods are often sought after for their aesthetic appeal and can be used in various applications, including furniture making, flooring, cabinetry, musical instruments, and other high-end woodworking projects.

Here is a small overview of some of the exotic woods that we carry and their uses:

  1. Teak (Tectona grandis): Known for its natural oils that make it resistant to decay and insects, teak is often used for outdoor furniture, boat decking, and marine applications.
  2. Mahogany (Swietenia spp.): Mahogany is prized for its rich, reddish-brown color and straight grain. It is commonly used in high-quality furniture, cabinetry, and musical instruments.
  3. Canary Wood: Canarywood, scientifically known as Centrolobium spp., is a type of hardwood that is native to Central and South America. It is named for its striking yellow-to-orange coloration, which can resemble the plumage of canaries.
  4. Spanish Cedar (Cedrela odorata): Spanish Cedar is a tropical hardwood species native to regions in Central and South America, including Mexico, Central America, and northern parts of South America. Despite its name, Spanish Cedar is not a true cedar (Cedrus spp.), but rather a member of the mahogany family (Meliaceae). Zebrawood (Microberlinia brazzavillensis): Named for its distinctive zebra-like stripes, zebrawood is used in furniture making, cabinetry, and decorative veneers.

Teak

Teak (Tectona grandis) is a tropical hardwood tree native to the south and southeast regions of Asia, primarily found in countries such as India, Indonesia, Malaysia, and Myanmar. It is highly regarded for its exceptional durability, natural oils, and resistance to decay and insects. Teak has been used for centuries in various applications, making it one of the most sought-after and well-known exotic woods.

Here are some key features and characteristics that make teak an exotic wood:

  1. Natural Properties: Teak wood is known for its high oil content and natural silica, which contribute to its remarkable resistance to decay, insects, and fungal infestations. These properties make teak well-suited for outdoor applications, where exposure to the elements can be harsh.
  2. Color and Aging: When freshly cut, teak has a golden to medium brown color. Over time, teak naturally weathers to a silvery-gray patina when exposed to the elements. Some people appreciate this weathered look, while others prefer to maintain the original color through periodic sealing or oiling.
  3. Density and Strength: Teak is a dense hardwood with high strength, making it durable and resistant to damage. This density also contributes to its natural resistance to moisture and decay.
  4. Workability: Despite its density, teak is relatively easy to work with. It has a straight grain and a fine, even texture, allowing for smooth finishes and intricate detailing. Teak can be cut, shaped, and machined with relative ease.
  5. Uses: Teak has a wide range of applications, and its versatility contributes to its popularity. Common uses include outdoor furniture, boat building (particularly for decks), decking, flooring, interior and exterior trim, and high-end cabinetry. Additionally, teak is favored for its use in the construction of garden furniture and other outdoor structures.
  6. Exotic Wood Status: Teak is considered an exotic wood, primarily because it is not native to regions where it is often used. While it originates from Southeast Asia, teak is now grown in plantations in various tropical and subtropical regions around the world to meet the global demand for this prized hardwood.
  7. Sustainability: Due to high demand and historical overharvesting, teak plantations and sustainable forestry practices are crucial for maintaining a steady supply of this valuable wood. Plantations and responsible harvesting practices, often certified by organizations like the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), help ensure the long-term sustainability of teak.

Teak’s combination of natural durability, aesthetic appeal, and versatility has made it a highly desirable and sought-after wood for centuries. Its status as an exotic wood is often associated with its origin outside of the regions where it is commonly used, and it remains a popular choice for a variety of high-quality woodworking and outdoor applications.

African Mahogany

African Mahogany” is a term commonly used to refer to several species of hardwood found in Africa that share similar characteristics to the true mahogany (Swietenia) found in the Americas. The African species, often belonging to the Khaya genus, are valued for their attractive appearance and versatility in woodworking.

Here are some key features and uses of African Mahogany wood:

  1. Species: There are several species of African Mahogany, with Khaya ivorensis (Ivory Coast Mahogany) and Khaya senegalensis (Senegal Mahogany) being among the most well-known. Other species within the Khaya genus are also used.
  2. Color and Grain: African Mahogany typically has a medium to reddish-brown color with a straight to interlocked grain. The wood often exhibits a ribbon-stripe figure, enhancing its visual appeal.
  3. Workability: African Mahogany is known for its workability, making it a popular choice for furniture, cabinetry, and joinery. It can be easily machined, carved, and finished, and it takes stains and finishes well.
  4. Durability: While not as durable as some other exotic hardwoods, African Mahogany still offers good stability and moderate resistance to decay and insects. It is suitable for indoor applications but may require protection if used outdoors.
  5. Uses: African Mahogany is commonly used in high-quality furniture, cabinetry, interior trim, and decorative veneers. It’s also favored for boatbuilding, musical instruments, and turnery.
  6. Sustainability: As with any wood species, it’s important to consider the sustainability of harvesting practices. Some species of African Mahogany have been overharvested in the past, leading to concerns about their conservation. Look for products certified by organizations such as the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) to ensure responsible and sustainable sourcing.
  7. Availability: African Mahogany is commercially available and can be sourced from various regions in Africa. It is exported globally and is a popular choice for those seeking an alternative to American mahogany.

Canarywood

Canarywood, scientifically known as Centrolobium spp., is a type of hardwood that is native to Central and South America. It is named for its striking yellow-to-orange coloration, which can resemble the plumage of canaries. The wood is highly valued for its vibrant appearance and unique grain patterns.

Here are some key characteristics and uses of Canarywood:

  1. Color and Grain: Canarywood is renowned for its distinctive coloration, which can range from pale yellow to deep orange, often with streaks of darker red or brown. The wood’s grain is typically straight, and it may have occasional interlocking patterns.
  2. Density and Hardness: Canarywood is a dense and hard hardwood, which contributes to its durability and suitability for a variety of applications.
  3. Workability: The wood is generally considered to be moderately easy to work with. It machines well, and it is known for its ability to take a smooth finish. However, it may have a moderate blunting effect on cutting tools due to its density.
  4. Stability: Canarywood exhibits good dimensional stability, meaning it is less prone to warping or shrinking when subjected to changes in moisture and temperature.
  5. Uses: Due to its vibrant color and attractive grain, Canarywood is often used in high-end woodworking projects. Common applications include furniture, cabinetry, flooring, turned items, and decorative veneers. It can also be used for specialty items such as musical instruments.
  6. Availability: Canarywood is available, but its supply may vary depending on the region. Sustainable harvesting practices are important to ensure the long-term availability of this wood.
  7. Sustainability: As with any wood species, it’s essential to consider the sustainability of harvesting practices. The Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certification is a recognized standard for verifying responsible forestry practices.

It’s important for woodworkers and consumers to be aware of the origin and sourcing of Canarywood to make environmentally responsible choices. Additionally, the vibrant color of Canarywood may change over time due to exposure to light, so it’s advisable to consider this factor in design and application.

Ziricote

Ziricote (Cordia dodecandra) is an exotic hardwood that is native to the tropical regions of Central America, primarily found in Mexico and Central America. It is known for its striking and highly decorative appearance, featuring dark brown to black coloration with irregular, spiderweb-like patterns of lighter gray or tan. Ziricote is highly valued for its aesthetic qualities, and it is commonly used in fine woodworking and musical instrument construction.

Here are some key features and uses of Ziricote wood:

  1. Color and Grain: Ziricote is renowned for its visually stunning appearance. The heartwood ranges from dark brown to black, while the sapwood is usually a pale yellowish color. The wood often exhibits intricate patterns resembling spiderwebs, which enhance its aesthetic appeal.
  2. Density and Hardness: Ziricote is a dense and heavy hardwood with good strength properties. It is considered durable, making it suitable for a variety of applications.
  3. Workability: Ziricote is generally considered to be moderately easy to work with, although it may have some interlocking grain, which can affect machining. It has a fine texture and can take a smooth finish, allowing for high-quality woodworking projects.
  4. Stability: Ziricote is known for its stability, with relatively low movement in response to changes in moisture and temperature. This makes it a good choice for applications where dimensional stability is important.
  5. Uses: Ziricote is highly sought after for decorative and high-end woodworking projects. Common applications include fine furniture, cabinetry, veneers, turned items, and specialty items such as knife handles and other small handcrafted objects. It is also a popular choice for the backs and sides of acoustic guitars and other musical instruments.
  6. Availability: Ziricote is not as abundant as some other hardwoods, and its availability can vary. Due to its popularity and limited supply, it may be considered a premium and sought-after wood, often commanding higher prices.
  7. Sustainability: As with any exotic wood, it’s important to consider the sustainability of harvesting practices. The Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certification is a recognized standard for responsible forestry practices.

Ziricote’s unique appearance and desirable qualities make it a favorite among woodworkers and artisans for creating distinctive and visually striking pieces. When working with Ziricote or any exotic wood, it’s advisable to be aware of any regulations regarding the import and trade of these species and to support sustainable and responsible sourcing practices.

Spanish Cedar

Spanish Cedar (Cedrela odorata) is a tropical hardwood species native to regions in Central and South America, including Mexico, Central America, and northern parts of South America. Despite its name, Spanish Cedar is not a true cedar (Cedrus spp.), but rather a member of the mahogany family (Meliaceae). It is valued for its distinctive aromatic properties, workability, and resistance to insects and decay.

Here are some key features and uses of Spanish Cedar wood:

  1. Color and Grain: Spanish Cedar typically has a light pink to reddish-brown color when freshly cut, but it tends to darken over time to a medium brown with a pinkish hue. The grain is usually straight and even, and the wood has a fine to medium texture.
  2. Aroma: One of the notable characteristics of Spanish Cedar is its pleasant, distinctive aroma. The wood contains natural oils that give off a sweet and cedar-like scent, which can act as a natural insect repellent.
  3. Density and Workability: Spanish Cedar is a lightweight to medium-density wood with good workability. It is easy to machine, cut, and carve. The wood glues and finishes well, making it suitable for a variety of woodworking applications.
  4. Durability: While Spanish Cedar is not as durable as some other tropical hardwoods, it offers good resistance to decay and insect infestation, thanks in part to its natural oils. This makes it a popular choice for outdoor applications, such as exterior millwork.
  5. Uses: Spanish Cedar is used in a variety of applications, including interior and exterior millwork, doors, windows, cabinetry, and specialty items such as humidors. Its natural insect-repelling properties make it particularly well-suited for use in humidors for storing cigars.
  6. Availability: Spanish Cedar is commercially available, but the supply can be influenced by factors such as harvesting practices and conservation efforts. As with other tropical hardwoods, it’s important to consider the sustainability of sourcing.
  7. Sustainability: When using Spanish Cedar or any other tropical hardwood, it’s essential to be mindful of sustainable harvesting practices. Certification programs like the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) can help ensure that the wood comes from responsibly managed forests.

Spanish Cedar’s combination of pleasant aroma, workability, and insect resistance makes it a popular choice for various woodworking projects, particularly those where its aromatic properties are desirable, such as in the construction of humidors. When using Spanish Cedar, it’s advisable to be aware of its unique characteristics and to source it from reputable and sustainable suppliers.

Our team at The Knotty Lumber Co. will always be happy and willing to show you around our store and explain the best exotic wood for your upcoming project. Seeing the wood in person is always the best way to appreciate and understand the product. Contact us for store hours or visit our Exotic Dimensional Shop online.

Product Enquiry