The Top 10 Most Expensive Wood Species In The World

The Top 10 Most Expensive Wood Species In The World

Many people turn towards woodworking as a creative hobby in a world where the average person always wants to save money. However, this can also prove costly when buying wood. So how much is that unique log worth, anyway?

You can find the answer to this question by looking at what raw material other people are using in their interior design projects. Many different sorts come with a hefty price tag when it comes to priceless wood.

What are the factors that make wood expensive?

Many factors affect wood price, foremost of which is scarcity. Certain types of woods are getting scarcer by the day, and their prices are constantly rising. As a result, these woods can be considered rare or even priceless in some cases.

The Global Trees Campaign has revealed an estimated 60,000 different varieties in the world – with over 10% of them globally threatened.

The increasing demand for certain varieties has resulted in higher prices for black wood, Cocobolo, Purpleheart, Walnut, Ebonys and Mahogany. This article will go over the top 10 varieties ranging from £6 to infinity.

Bocote

Bocote (Cordia gerascanthus) is a hardwood native to Central America, Mexico, and the West Indies. It has a medium- or dark brown colour with an attractive grain pattern that resembles a zebra. Unlike most other wood, it does not ring when struck because it is solid throughout its trunk. This makes it perfect for guitars and ukuleles and high-value cabinetry and doors due to its ability to resist warping from changes in humidity levels.

It is easy to work with because it doesn’t splinter or warp easily when applying heat processing techniques like steam bending. Bocote wood is £27 ($36), often used in pieces of furniture, veneer and pool cues. The inherent beauty allows it to stand out among its peers.

European ovangkol pen

Bubinga

Bubinga wood (Guibourtia) is an African import sometimes called amazique, ovangkol or Kevazingo. It resembles rosewoods and features stunning figures such as flamed, pommel, and waterfall. It’s warm-toned with a reddish-brown tint (not as crimson as Padauk). Bubinga’s strength-to-weight ratio is an excellent choice for machining operations like turning or milling.

From Equatorial Guinea, Cameroon, and Gabon, used for centuries in some of the most sought after furnishings available today. A very dense wood, so it isn’t easy to work with, but it’s also durable. It can withstand extreme heat without being burned up. It is not as overpriced as other types of wood, but still very costly, £14.66 ($19.87).

 ivorywood pen

Pink Ivory

Pink Ivory £6.17 ($8.37) is one of the best quality woods not listed with CITES. It has an interlocked grain with a pronounced blunting effect on cutting edges. Demanding to process in plank form, but it turns and finishes nicely.

Reports state that it is relatively common in some areas of South Africa, though large straight, defect-free trunks are much more scarce. The Zulus considered it sacred, reserved only for royalty in its locality of S. Africa.

The most valuable wood has rich pink heartwood, making them more desirable than other lesser coloured sections. The color of Pink Ivory (Berchemia zeyheri) ranges from a pale brownish pink to a deep red. The sapwood is pale yellow, but the colour changes have not been fully understood.

Popular uses include carving, veneers, inlay, knife handles, chess pieces and other turned objects.

mpingo wood cigar pen

African Blackwood

African Blackwood, mpingo or grenadilla (Dalbergia melanoxylon), is the national tree of Tanzania. Among the most expensive wood in the USA due to its rarity and difficulty obtaining any. Growing very small is often twisted and bent, making it demanding for woodworkers to acquire wider boards. Costing £6,657 ($9,030.22) per log or £12.68 ($17.20) per foot, though these unusual woods constantly fluctuate.

A dark, dense wood species with great value and rarity sought after for centuries. It’s very strong and durable and can show incredible detail in fine carvings. It is used for things like cabinets and furniture or musical instruments because it has no visible grain patterns that interfere with its use.

It contrasts beautifully against other woods such as walnut, maple, ash. Ideal for embellishment projects where you want something contrasting to what you see every day!

Sandalwood

Sandalwood (Santalum album) retains its fragrance for decades and is the second most expensive in the world. It is used for manufacturing perfumes, incense, and fine furniture. Production has decreased while demand continues to increase, so more cherished than ever before. It could be on its way to becoming extinct soon and is the reason why it’s so outrageous today.

The most sought after grows in India, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Hawaii, Indonesia, Australia. Sandalwood can be used in many religious rituals by varied religions. Other uses for the expensive wood oil in aromatherapy, perfumery and medical trades. A kilogram or 2.2 pounds costs up to £1,477.98 ($2,004.95).

wood and money quote

Snakewood

Snakewood (Brosimum guianense) is rare and limited to coastal regions of northeast South America. The price for this exotic wood can reach £1,843.09 ($2,500) per pound. Commonplace names also include Letterwood or Amourette.

Snakewood can grow to be 65-80 ft (20-25 m) tall but have trunks as narrow as 6-12 in (15 cm). The most commonly sold is either half logs or full logs with both figured wood and non-figured, resulting in enormous wastage. With contrasting light and blacker patches, the grain mimics a snakeskin.

A close relative of Bloodwood, it has a pronounced blunting effect on cutters. Known for splitting and splintering makes the timber challenging to work with because it tends to be quite brittle.

rollerball pen with expensive amaranth

Purpleheart

The scientific name for this is Peltogyne spp from central and South Americas. Purple wood is also known as violet wood and amaranth. Size is 100-170 ft (30-50 m) tall, 3-5 ft (1-1.5 m) diameter, and has a Janka hardness of 2,520 lbf (11,190 N) costing £10.27 ($13.93) per board.

Purple heart wood is found in some mandolins and violins. When freshly cut, it has a dull grey or brown colour, turning a rich shade that can be seen when exposed to UV light or sunlight for extended periods. This process will cause the eggplant colouration to appear on the dry wood, making it special because of its workability challenges. There are many plants in the genus group, with not all holding the vibrant colouring.

This beautiful wood is resistant to water, perfect for boat decks and flooring, cabinetwork and other heavy construction. It can cost between $10 and $40 per piece, depending on the size of the processed timber—very demanding and unforgiving with dull tools.

Ebony

Ebony in the genus Diospyros is a type of wood that is hard and fine-grained. It has an extremely high density for its weight. Ebony trees are found in tropical regions in Southeast Asia, including India and Ceylon, reaching heights up to 60 feet.

Initially valued for its beauty and durability, skilled craftspeople can polish it to a high gloss finish. It is typically used for cello fingerboards, violin chinrests, and bow frogs because it makes an excellent sound while playing the instrument. It can be tough to obtain because of the protected status.

A dense and heavy wood that is easy to salvage from old piano keys. It carves well with a smooth texture and allows detail for intricate carving designs. You can mimic the dark, rich black with cherry and staining for ornate jewellery boxes or accent details.

It is even more highly-priced than some precious metals! Price can reach £73.40 ($99.59) or £7,337.45 ($9,954.06) per kg.

opulent staircase

What Is The Most Expensive Wood In The World?

Top-grade agarwood £73,729.50 ($100,000) is one of the most expensive raw materials in the world. The age, cultural deposition, and section can affect quality. Agar wood is an essential oil as early as 1400 BCE in the Vedas of India. You can find the word in the Hebrew Bible for producing incense and perfume.

Also known as aloeswood, eaglewood or gharuwood from the Aquilaria malaccensis plant listed in Appendix II since 1995. Some countries have reservations about its listing due to environmental concerns.

The heartwood of an infected aquilaria tree is characterized by resin-embedded wood. It only darkens when the fungus infects. The mould forms in the heartwood as it progresses to cause the attack. This process takes between 3 months to 5 years, depending on the exposure to heat and air currents.

Oriental-woody notes distinguish the natural oils while burning incense; it has sweet-balsamic notes with vanilla and musk. So the most pricey wood in the world and worth more than its weight in gold.

What Is The Rarest Wood?

The worlds most rare wood option is Lignum Vitae (Guaiacum officinale) and grows in Southern and Central America but is threatened due to logging. The national tree of the Bahamas is on the CITES Appendix lists, which means that all trade must meet strict regulations.

Unusually durable and weighty, selling at £24.42 ($33.12) a board foot but can be salvaged from old bowling balls. The hardest commercially available only Australian Buloak is harder but unsuitable for commerce.

Growing to be 20 ft (6 m) tall and has a 1-2 ft (.3-.6 m) diameter. Ideal for carving or creating functional works of art because its surface won’t chip or splinter easily. So oily, it was utilized for bearings on propeller shafts and will polish to a lustrous finish.

Care is needed when glueing lignum vitae wood for a good joint. Also, green, aside from pens, has unique properties for intarsia and other crafts.

What Is the Most Expensive Furniture Wood?

Among the most expensive wood types for furniture is Brazilian Rosewood (Dalbergia Nigra). The many names also include jacarandá-do-brasil and pianowood.

Dalbergia wood has been listed in Appendix I of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) since June 11, 1992. According to the IUCN Red List, it has been assessed as vulnerable. It is threatened by habitat loss due to illegal harvesting, agriculture, road building and mining.

Colour variations in a wide range from carmine to colourful browns. It is a hard wood with yellowish streaks in some cases but can have a darker heartwood when it ages. People treasure it for its landscape grain (spider webbing) and unique characteristics, which are more precious than other rosewoods.

Luthiers use it as the back (rib) on lutes or various parts of stringed instruments like a guitar or violins. The choice in musical instrument building is because it sustains the tone if tapped on an evenly cut piece of wood.

Popular in 18th-century cabinetry. During the Regency period of the late 18th and early 19th centuries, Brazilian rosewood began to be used for this purpose.

Greatly prized and incredibly difficult to source from reputable dealers at £12.70 ($17.23). The trade is regulated, with most sales being pre-existing lumber or reclaimed.

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