What's in my Bespoke Fox creation?
American Oak -Quercus alba
One of the most popular hardwood species in North America, the American White Oak is strong and durable, with a moderate pore size. It is moderately resistant to decay and insect damage. Used extensively in fine furniture and where uniform wood grain is important.
Found throughout the world, the Ash is related to the Olive tree among between 45-50 other species of deciduous plants. Ash can be used in food contact situations, most commonly as serving platters. Ash has dense, tight grain but it is not strong, so is often not used in cutting boards. Ash trees are susceptible to insects and rot.
Bloodwood -Brosimum rubescens
From tropical South America, the Bloodwood tree was traditionally known by the name Satine. It is highly dense and resistant to rot and decay. Though it poses some challenges in working characteristics, its hardness, strength, and color make it a favorite.
Cherry -Prunus serotina
There are a couple of different Cherry species, however I typically source Black Cherry, a native to eastern North America. Cherry has a well-deserved reputation as one of the woodworkers favorites, with straight grain, closed pores and a higher density for hardwood species found domestically. It is moderately resistant to rot and insects.
Hickory -Carya ovata
One of the hardest domestic options, there are several subspecies of Hickory. I typically use the Shagbark sub-species, which has fairly large pores and while dense, is prone to insect attack. This is a great option for tables, desks and non-wood contact applications.
Jatoba -Hymenaea courbaril
You will find Jatoba or Brazilian Cherry from Central America to Southern Mexico. This exotic hardwood can be difficult to work, but it makes a great addition to food-contact art, with a tight grain composition that is resistant to most insects.
Juniper - Juniperus deppeana
This tree may be known as Alligator Juniper due to its bark pattern resembling that of the amphibious animal. Juniper is on the softer side of the woods that I work with. It is found in the Southwestern United States and Northern Mexico. It has a distant cousin in the Eastern Red Cedar tree.
Mahogany -Swietenia macrophylla
True Mahogany was commercially harvested from Cuba almost to the level of extinction. Since its exportation has been banned, most mahogany that is available is actually Honduran Mahogany, and following in its cousin's footsteps, it listed on the endangered species list and will eventually be very hard if not impossible to find. We can still use it and I have a couple of solid sources, its price point can make any project with this dense hardwood on the expensive side. (I have created with Mahogany, but would suggest you look at other options, including one of my favorites, Sapele.)
Maple, Ambrosa. -Hippocastanoideae Acer
This is not a distinct species of the Maple tree, but rather called Ambrosia Maple due to the tree being infested with the Ambrosia beetle. Maple is found throughout North America, most commonly in the eastern part of Canada and the United States. A sturdy, closed-pore option, Maple makes a great food contact surface.
Maple, Rock - Hippocastanoideae Acer
The harder of the two common Maple species, mature Maple trees produce Maple syrup! Light compared to Hickory or Oak, but with pores that are closed off, Maple is a woodworkers best friend as it can be sanded, stained and is easy to work with.
Maple, Soft. -Acer saccharinum
Closely related to the Hard Maple, the only major difference is the density. Both Hard and Soft Maple have closed pores, but when given the choice for dimensional applications, Soft Maple will commonly lose out its Hard Maple relative. Soft Maple slabs and solid pieces of Soft Maple in Charcuterie trays are a very safe and beautiful option.
True Paduak is found in African tropical environments and is an often sought after accent wood in tables, desks and cutting boards. This red and black striped wood is highly patterned, and while close-grained, is not as dense and Maple or other hardwood species. It is easy to work with, however its dust can be an irritant for wood workers if sensitive skin is involved.
Poplar trees, while technically considered hardwood, are on the softer side of the spectrum. Like Walnut, Poplar and its related species can be found in many climates throughout the world. Poplar is easy to work with, having a light uniform color that stains well. While not the first wood of choice for food-contact situations, a carefully maintained Poplar Charcuterie tray can make a beautiful centerpiece.
Another South American species, PurpleHeart is many times used as an accent wood in tables and butcher blocks. Tight, dense with closed-pores, Purpleheart tends to slowly lose its color over time, mellowing to a rich brown.
Sapele. -Entandrophragma cylindricum
Sapele is a great alternative to Mahogany in almost every application. From Africa, it is dense with tight grain pattern, making it a good choice for a cutting board. It is also very sturdy, so a desk or table made out of Sapele is a super solid piece of furniture. Sapele has a unique characteristic when compared to Honduran Mahogany in that Sapele often has a ribbon or grain pattern that when properly finished, is quite breathtaking.
Another mainstay of the woodworker, Walnut is a softer of the hardwoods but has a closed pore structure which makes it ideal for cutting boards and foot-contact surfaces. Walnut trees are found across the globe, however the Walnut I source comes from the United States (Pennsylvania, West Virginia, North Carolina) or eastern Canada. Walnut can range from very light almost blonde coloring to a deep dark, almost black appearance. Some Walnut even shows signs of red and green!
Wenge -Millettia laurentii
Another exotic species that woodworkers love, Wenge is a highly figured (patterned) wood that when properly finished, comes out black. Solid, closed-pore, Wenge can be used as a main wood or as accent in almost any application.
Yellowheart -Zanthoxylum flavum
The blond cousin of the Purpleheart, Yellowheart is also a dense and closed-pore wood that can be found in tropical environments. When finished, it can look like Pine or even Ash, so it is most often not used as a main wood, but makes a great accent wood to contrast with.
Zebrawood has a unique pattern of light and dark figures running throughout, making it a great wood as the star of the show or as an accent. Zebrawood is not easy to work with, but its closed-pore dense structure make it a great choice for wood projects. True Zebrawood comes from Africa, however closely related species that are often marketed as Zebrawood do come from tropical South America