LumberJocks

What is the rarest wood that you know of, that is still available?

  • Advertise with us

« back to Wood & Lumber forum

Forum topic by Jonathan posted 01-21-2011 12:04 AM 14051 views 0 times favorited 27 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View Jonathan's profile

Jonathan

2605 posts in 1805 days


01-21-2011 12:04 AM

I an toying with the idea of building a very small project for a loved one, so that’s why I’m asking the question. It might be a small piece of jewelry, or maybe a smallish box, at the most. It sort of depends on the wood.

I am looking for something I can actually currently purchase.

Please list the name of the wood, and if you have any more information, such as price/BF, source for the wood, links, a story about the wood, etc.

Even if you have a piece of a particular wood that you’re willing to part with, I’d be interested in that too. With that caveat, please don’t send me PMs saying you have 50-BF of oak that you want to unload.

-- Jonathan, Denver, CO "Constructive criticism is welcome and valued as it gives me new perspectives and helps me to advance as a woodworker."


27 replies so far

View Raftermonkey's profile

Raftermonkey

560 posts in 1667 days


#1 posted 01-21-2011 12:26 AM

I have read a list somewhere online that Snakewood is the rarest, Pink Ivory is second rarest then Bolivian Rosewood. I’m not sure on the availibilty of the Snakewood and Rosewood but I know you can pick up a piece of Pink Ivory on ebay. It is a little pricey though. Good luck with whatever you find.

Zeke

-- -Zeke- "I hate to rush off, but I gotta go see a man about a log"

View botanist's profile

botanist

152 posts in 2293 days


#2 posted 01-21-2011 12:32 AM

What about Kauri? It might not be the most expensive, but you’re using wood that’s over 50,000 (not a typo) years old.
http://www.ancientwood.com/press-kit/50000-year-old-wood-available-us

Here’s another source of info:
http://most-expensive.net/wood

Here’s another Lumberjocks post about this topic:
http://lumberjocks.com/woodspark/blog/16574

View HokieMojo's profile

HokieMojo

2103 posts in 2482 days


#3 posted 01-21-2011 12:44 AM

Rather than try to get a wood that is rare (and if it is the rarest without being endangered, it would just push it one step closer to being endangered), why not just pick something that you like? I suppose from a more sustainable perspective, you could go with AAAAA+ figured maple. It’s rare, but maple is not an endangered species.

View reggiek's profile

reggiek

2240 posts in 2024 days


#4 posted 01-21-2011 12:47 AM

Every piece of wood truly is one of a kind. Snakewood is rare…but attainable….so are alot of other exotics….woods that have burls or interesting figuring can be extremely rare in some species….It all really depends on whether you mean the rarest species? Or the rarest variety? or the rarest color? ....etc…etc.

On the other hand I think the thought that goes into a gift will be better received then whether it is a rare wood or such. I have also seen folks make things out of items from the past or that have an emotional tie….such as a tree planted by an ancestor….or a piece of the house you grew up in….something of that nature. I made something for a friend using some pieces of broken china that her great great grandmother brought here from Italy (inlayed it into the top of a blanket chest). I made a picture frame from pieces of a solid wood door from a sailboat that had won several races and was being re-modelled inside….the previous owner’s family (the owner had died recently) was very happy to have a piece of their loved one’s past.

Anyway…just some thoughts on the subject.

-- Woodworking.....My small slice of heaven!

View Jonathan's profile

Jonathan

2605 posts in 1805 days


#5 posted 01-21-2011 01:24 AM

This was actually originally only a thought that popped into my head a few days ago, then it sort of evolved into the possibility of making something with it. I am not ready to make anything. It’s just something floating around in my head right now.

I had thought of the Kauri, and will probably buy some of that eventually anyway to make a unique piece with it, or maybe spread it between several pieces.

I sort of starting thinking about the idea with the same sort of equivalent rareness as a flawless or even internally flawless color D-F diamond in-mind. That was kind of the basic thought.

Thanks for the ideas so far. Unfortunately, we don’t have any special trees, pieces of meaningful wood, etc. to incorporate.

-- Jonathan, Denver, CO "Constructive criticism is welcome and valued as it gives me new perspectives and helps me to advance as a woodworker."

View SPHinTampa's profile

SPHinTampa

548 posts in 2440 days


#6 posted 01-21-2011 01:33 AM

Amboyna Burl is pretty rare. You can usually find veneer and turning blanks on eBay. The veneer makes spectacular small boxes.

-- Shawn, I ask in order to learn

View Raftermonkey's profile

Raftermonkey

560 posts in 1667 days


#7 posted 01-21-2011 01:41 AM

What he^ said. Amboyna burl is some of the coolest wood I’ve ever seen.

-- -Zeke- "I hate to rush off, but I gotta go see a man about a log"

View richgreer's profile

richgreer

4525 posts in 1829 days


#8 posted 01-21-2011 01:53 AM

I am sort of a connoisseur of rare exotic woods. I have some Amboyna Burl, Pink Ivory, Bolivian Rosewood and Kauri in my inventory. The only wood mentioned above that I have not had experience with is Snakewood.

For me, the rarest wood that I have found and purchased is Tsin Win. I saw it for sale once. I bought some and I have not seen it since.

Here is a product made with Tsin Win

http://www.etsy.com/listing/50477875/tsin-win-nostepindenostepinneball-winder

Other rare woods in my inventory are Blue Mahoe (yes, it is blue) and Rambutam.

Cedar of Lebanon is a biblically significant wood (it was used to build the first Jewish temple). It’s pretty hard for me to get. I’m not so sure that it is rare – just hard to get in the US. If you look at my projects you will see a Cedar of Lebanon bowl. That was the first piece I ever got. I now have a second.

I have a lot of other interesting woods in my inventory but I don’t think any others would fall into the rare category.

Regarding Amboyna Burl (of which I have quite a bit). It comes from the Narra tree. So why isn’t it called “Narra Burl”? The Narra trees on Amboyna Island became famous for their burl and people kept referring to it as Amboyna Burl (Burl from Amboyna Island) and the name stuck. All burl from the Narra tree is called Amboyna burl regardless of where it is from. I know. I can be real boring.

-- Rich, Cedar Rapids, IA - I'm a woodworker. I don't create beauty, I reveal it.

View TMcG's profile

TMcG

182 posts in 1755 days


#9 posted 01-21-2011 02:18 AM

Actually, Rich, I found that kinda fascinating !

So Rambutam, as in the fruit tree from SE Asia ?

That Kauri looks amazing, 50,000 years old !, so a 12” x 4’ pice of 4/4 would only be…....

-- http://wood.mcgivern.org

View racerglen's profile

racerglen

2406 posts in 1535 days


#10 posted 01-21-2011 02:56 AM

The Kauri is amazing, even the couple of contemporary pieces I scored in January of 2000
while in New Zealand are pretty fine. N/Z has all sorts of restrictions on their native woods due to the intense harvesting that virtualy wiped hem out in the 18/19 hundreds, but a friend building a house near the Bay of Plenty had to clear some land..GLOAT..the neatest woody part of that trip was visiting a park nearby just after a storm..you aren’t supposed to be able to get or export some of the woods..but the rangers were cleaning up and I asked..hhmm..should be dry by now
;-)

What’s realy weard to a North American is the Crown Zellerbach seed orchard/test forest thats been going for a long time.. “and here’s some trees you should be familiar with..Redwoods..(you mean the red cedar..?)
along with Douglas Fir and others brought in to replentish the clear cuts.
Weird to see the tree plantations going up and over hills elswhere that are straight rows where we couldn’t get a planter to walk, let alone climb !

And I’d love to go back….but I didn’t like the hours cramped in the plane..

;-)

-- Glen, Vernon B.C. Canada

View richgreer's profile

richgreer

4525 posts in 1829 days


#11 posted 01-21-2011 03:47 AM

TMcG – I bought a sample pack of Kauri. It consists of 4 bf and the pieces are of varying sizes. Nothing longer than 2’. If I remember correctly, I paid $89 for it. That’s about $22/bf.

I know the Rambutan is from SE Asia. I did not know it was a fruit tree.

-- Rich, Cedar Rapids, IA - I'm a woodworker. I don't create beauty, I reveal it.

View Gofor's profile

Gofor

470 posts in 2541 days


#12 posted 01-21-2011 05:10 AM

The rarest wood would be a piece of something your loved one cherished in the past.

Go

-- Go http://ncwoodworker.net/pp/showgallery.php?cat=500&ppuser=730

View TMcG's profile

TMcG

182 posts in 1755 days


#13 posted 01-21-2011 05:29 AM

And they have veneer ! Hmm..

Yep, Rambutan is a red spiky outside with a white fruit inside, sorta like a lychee but sweeter, really spindly tree though so I’m sure it’s an interesting lumber.

-- http://wood.mcgivern.org

View stefang's profile

stefang

13633 posts in 2088 days


#14 posted 01-21-2011 01:33 PM

A rare wood makes a good story, but personally I think jewelry is all about how the light reflects on it (cut diamonds for example). A nice piece of curly maple or some other species where the rays catch the light and give depth could also be very attractive. Just a thought.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View dbray45's profile

dbray45

2618 posts in 1531 days


#15 posted 01-21-2011 02:35 PM

My take on it, and this is a good topic – some of the burls can be beautiful and each are unique so each slice is a one of a kind piece of wood.

When you get right down to it, every piece of wood is unique and what you do with it makes it special. If you are making something for a loved one, take your time, treat every cut as if it is special, because it is, and what ever you create will be from your heart. How rare the wood is or how much it cost is over rated, just makes you go broke faster – it is all in what you put into it that really matters.

-- David in Damascus, MD

showing 1 through 15 of 27 replies

Have your say...

You must be signed in to reply.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics

HomeRefurbers.com

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics

GardenTenders.com :: gardening showcase