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The most expensive wood in the world?

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Blog entry by Div posted 07-01-2010 09:28 PM 43622 reads 0 times favorited 41 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I just looked through the latest price list from one of our local timber merchants. The most expensive wood listed is African Blackwood (dalbergia melanoxylon). It is also known as Mozambique ebony or Congo wood.

It is listed at a price of ZAR440 000 per cubic meter. ZAR is South African Rand. We use the metric system, same as Europe, so let me Americanize….One meter = 39.37”. A cubic metre equals 39.37” x 39.37” x 39.37” = 61023.38 cubic inches…. A board foot is 144 cubic inches…. Therefore 1 cubic meter = 61023.38/144 = 423.77 board feet.

With the exchange rate at about 1 US $ = ZAR 7.50, it means the price here for African Blackwood is around US$138/board foot. I have no idea of American timber prices, but that still sounds pretty expensive!

The second most expensive wood on my list is Brazilian Rosewood. This one converts to US $ 51.90 per board foot.

For comparison I converted a few more (Prices given are all per board foot)

Local Pine : US $ 0.90
African mahogany: US $ 5.38
White Oak Prime : US $ 5.50
Purple Heart : US $ 7.72
Walnut Prime : US $ 9.60
Native Hardwoods: US $ 2.20 These include woods like Assegai, Cape Beech, Candlewood, White Pear.

It will be interesting to compare. What is the most expensive, commercially available wood in your area?

-- Div @ the bottom end of Africa. "A woodworker's sharpest tool should be his mind."



41 comments so far

View PurpLev's profile

PurpLev

8476 posts in 2345 days


#1 posted 07-01-2010 09:44 PM

I’d put Lingum Vitae up there at the top (ironwood). very unique lumber, and trunks are generally only 12” wide making availability less then other trees that can yield more lumber.

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

View Dusty56's profile

Dusty56

11665 posts in 2384 days


#2 posted 07-01-2010 09:54 PM

A few years ago , one of my local lumber suppliers was selling exotic woods such as Ebony by the OUNCE , never mind by the board foot ! That was here in Massachusetts USA

-- I'm absolutely positive that I couldn't be more uncertain!

View SCOTSMAN's profile

SCOTSMAN

5450 posts in 2282 days


#3 posted 07-01-2010 09:58 PM

Lignum is very expensive I bought a smal piece about ten inches long by four inches by tw inches was nearly eighty pounds on ebay.Alistair

-- excuse my typing as I have a form of parkinsons disease

View richgreer's profile

richgreer

4524 posts in 1771 days


#4 posted 07-01-2010 10:00 PM

I’m probably one of the few people on this board who actually buys some of these expensive woods on a somewhat regular basis.

In my experience, gabon ebony and pink ivory are both more expensive than african blackwood. I’m guessing at the prices a little, but I know I am close. For me I pay approximately the following, per board foot for these woods -

Pink Ivory – $80 – 100
gabon ebony $70 – 90
african blackwood $60 – 80
amboyna burl $60 – 80
Brazilian Rosewood – - not available from any source I buy from
kingwood $40 – 50
lignum vitae $30 – 40

by contrast I buy – -

while oak $4 -6
red oak $3-5
purpleheart $8 -10
bubinga $12 – 25 or more depending on the amount of figuring
walnut $5 -7

As a note – I can never get african blackwood or amboyna burl in very big pieces.

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

View SCOTSMAN's profile

SCOTSMAN

5450 posts in 2282 days


#5 posted 07-01-2010 10:12 PM

Rich what do you think of Abura I have anice big thick kiln dried plank of it about 12 feet long by 4inches thick by12 inches wide I paid a lot for it but I think I’ll cut it up for woodblanks what dou you think how do you rate it quality/price wise?Alistair

-- excuse my typing as I have a form of parkinsons disease

View Div's profile

Div

1653 posts in 1637 days


#6 posted 07-01-2010 10:25 PM

Rich, thanks for the prices. Guess I am not so bad off after all and lucky with some:

Pink ivory $24 !!!!
Kingwood $43
Bubinga $12
Lignum vitae – Nowhere to be found

-- Div @ the bottom end of Africa. "A woodworker's sharpest tool should be his mind."

View Dennisgrosen's profile

Dennisgrosen

10850 posts in 1812 days


#7 posted 07-01-2010 10:31 PM

this is very interessting becorse is deffently not esay to get hardwood in Denmark
or at least I havn´t found a supplyer yet
but to see what prizes I can expect when I want to buy some hardwood is great
thank´s for bringing it up

Dennis

View grizzman's profile

grizzman

7111 posts in 2000 days


#8 posted 07-01-2010 11:31 PM

i just look for the latest limb that has fallen…...price…..free….....lol…..i sure love working with those exotics…but my wallet surly is in rebellion…..

-- GRIZZMAN ...[''''']

View Edward83's profile

Edward83

161 posts in 1593 days


#9 posted 07-02-2010 12:47 AM

Teak $27 BF
cocobolo $20 bf
Wenge $15 bf
These are the most expensive I can get without going online to order, but I am amazed to see the differances according to region because I get purple heart for $4 and bubinga for $6-12

-- Praise God in all things, especially the bad things because they make the best learning experiences.

View NBeener's profile

NBeener

4806 posts in 1870 days


#10 posted 07-02-2010 01:31 AM

I think you’ll find some rather pricey stuff … here

By the way … my birthday is in May ;-)

-- -- Neil

View Ger21's profile

Ger21

678 posts in 1827 days


#11 posted 07-02-2010 04:35 AM

I got some 1”x1”x12” Lignum Vitae at Rockler for $1 each few months ago.

-- Gerry, http://g-forcecnc.com/jointcam.html

View Mario's profile

Mario

106 posts in 2093 days


#12 posted 07-02-2010 04:55 AM

Hmmm, Veracruz, Mexico: maybe I´m not doing so bad afterall:
Spanish Cedar $3.00 bf
Teak: local $4.20 bf birmanian teak $20.00 bf
Pukte (Bulletwood) $8.00 bf
Jatoba $5.25 bf
Granadillo $8.00 bf
Black Walnut $11.00 bf
Chechen (black poisonwood) $8.00 bf
Melina $0.80 bf
Ziricote $45.00 bf
Lignum Vitae $65.00 bf

View Cher's profile

Cher

934 posts in 1790 days


#13 posted 07-02-2010 08:30 AM

Hi Div, what made me think you grow all those exotics out in your back yard….lol

-- When you know better you do better.

View Div's profile

Div

1653 posts in 1637 days


#14 posted 07-02-2010 09:46 PM

Hi Cher, I’ve actually planted around 300 trees, all sorts…my way of giving back for what I take…Now I only have to wait around 150 years before I can harvest some nice timber….!

-- Div @ the bottom end of Africa. "A woodworker's sharpest tool should be his mind."

View Cher's profile

Cher

934 posts in 1790 days


#15 posted 07-02-2010 10:32 PM

Hi Div, keep planting you never know what the scientists invent, a pill to live longer…lol.

Did you graft the trees or did you buy them?

-- When you know better you do better.

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