Building Materials

10 of the Best Woods that People Didn’t Know Existed

10 of the Best Woods that People Didn’t Know Existed

When it comes to wood, the most common ones that come to mind are popular US hardwood like the oak, walnut, birch, poplar, cherry, mahogany, and maple. Of course, these woods make great options in building a home as these are not just durable, they also look great!

But many people have no idea that there are a lot of other great woods that would actually be perfect as materials for their home. However, the ‘great’ part there is that these woods are among the best materials in terms of appearance and durability, but most are rare and quite expensive!

Here are the top 10 best woods that people didn’t know actually existed:

10 – Mopane (Colophospermum mopane)

Mopane - Colophospermum mopane

With its interesting color and grain patterns, mopane actually has a lot of potential uses not just in building a house but also for furnishings, shelves and cabinets, and décor. This extremely dense wood turns wonderfully and has excellent acoustic qualities.

But though this is an impressive hardwood, a lot of builders and homeowners don’t even have an idea it existed! Plus, with this wood being so expensive owing to it being rare and is usually available only in small chunks, most people would not think of even trying to buy a sample to use in their homes.

9 – Paulownia (Paulownia tomentosa)

Paulownia - Paulownia tomentosa

Considered to be among the most stable woods even in humid conditions, paulownia would have made a great option for many homes across the world. What makes this wood actually popular among builders is that it is relatively easy to find as it grows like a weed and are often grown in plantations.

However, you must be living in Japan to fully enjoy this beautiful wood. Paulownia is a popular wood in Japan but it can be quite expensive to buy in other places. Thus, despite its excellent characteristics and ready availability (in Japan, anyway), this wood is unknown in most parts of the world.

8 – Greenheart (Chlorocardium rodiei)

Greenheart - Chlorocardium rodiei

It is considered to be one of the strongest and hardest woods in the world! It is great for use in the marine environment and is quite resistant to rotting.

But though this might be the best wood of all in terms of strength and rot resistance, it is also one of the hardest to work with. Not only is it hard to saw and hard to glue or hammer, it is also hard to find!

7 – Chakte Viga (Caesalpinia platyloba)

Chakte Viga - Caesalpinia platyloba

With its orangish or reddish coloration that actually lasts, plus the fact that it has excellent tonal or acoustic qualities as well as a unique natural iridescence, the chakte viga seems to be the ‘perfect’ wood around the house.

But because this wood is really quite expensive and still relatively unknown, this wood is rarely used in homes.

6 – Burmese Blackwood (Dalbergia cultrata)

Burmese Blackwood - Dalbergia cultrata

Having a beautiful grain pattern that’s quite unique, this wood would have made a great option to use for any home, whether for the walls, ceilings, floors, or furniture.

But because this wood is really difficult to find, it can be quite expensive – and that’s a major turnoff to builders, especially because this wood is really quite unknown.

5 – Desert Ironwood (Olneya tesota)

Desert Ironwood - Olneya tesota

With excellent turning, great graining, and its beautiful colors, this wood is such a wonderful piece to work with. Woodworkers who’ve made use of this material love how this wood is dimensionally stable.

The only downside to this wood is that it is only available in small piece that come from a short, crooked tree. Thus, the actual piece available for use are often small and very limited, making this wood quite expensive.

4 – Pistachio (Pistacia vera)

Pistachio - Pistacia vera

Having an excellent color, impressive grain, and beautiful stripes, the pistachio wood looks awesome! There are lots of variations even in wood that come from the same tree, making pistachio an interesting wood to use.

However, aside from being a relatively small tree with thin branches, pistachio is prized more for its nuts/seeds than its wood. Thus, it is rare for builders to find this wood readily available.

3 – Black Locust (Robinia pseudoacacia)

Black Locust - Robinia pseudoacacia

A durable wood that is actually available in large, lumber-sized cuts, the black locust is available at budget-friendly prices. This durable wood lasts for decades, possibly even centuries.

It’s quite puzzling why this wood isn’t as popular as the other woods; though this might probably be due to its weird name. No one probably wants to have a ‘black locust’ wood in their homes.

2 – Katalox (Swartzia spp.)

Katalox - Swartzia spp

Greatly available in Southern Mexico, Central America, and northern South America, the katalox is a dark wood that’s similar to true ebony.

It can also have variations like those featuring black or reddish-brown streaks.
But those the katalox is popular in its native hometown, this wood becomes quite expensive. Plus, although it is hardwood, there is plenty of sapwood in between the good ones.

This makes this wood not so ideal for use in most homes.

1 – Macacauba (Platymiscium spp.)

Macacauba - Platymiscium spp

A beautiful piece of wood that comes in varying colors of rich reds and oranges, the macacauba would make a great furniture piece or even as wood in building a home. But with its many ugly names, the macacauba isn’t really going to be a popular wood even in the near future.

The wood is relatively expensive, but with hideous names like orange agate, coyote, macawood, and hormigo that are used for this piece, it’s no wonder many builders don’t consider this material at all.

(Source: Eric Meier of Wood Database)

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

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