Wood & Other Materials
Wood Used In Wooden Crafts & Gifts
This is a list of woods that having used over time while making these wooden pens or other wooden crafts and gifts. I have tried to describe some of them and their properties and include a link to a better technical description and all so to an actual wooden pen.
This is just an opinion on using them and things learned while using these woods over the past fifteen years. The list is work in progress so please be patient.
Ash Olive, there seems to be a difference of opinion on what this is depending on where you read but it is figured and just as easy to work with as normal Ash. This Olive Ash pen is a great example with lots of character.
Beech Spalted is sought after by woodworkers for the figured wood. Sometimes black lines to varying degrees are present and this is the most desirable. The wood can cause problems if not caught at the right time as the fungi eat the wood and make it too weak and punky. This wooden Beech pen is a good example showing lots of Unique character.
Bubinga is a dense reddish African hardwood (not as red as Paduak) that has tight grain perfect for boxes, turning, and pens or accent pieces in any of these.
Buckeye Burl, I have not linked to a technical description as I cannot find one that does it justice. To be usable this wood needs impregnating with resin in a vacuum chamber and has one or two dyes added for effect. This is a stunning wooden rollerball pen.
Burl, Burr is a growth on the side of the tree caused either by insects, disease, or fungi. The burl is one of nature's Beauty's they can produce stunning figure and grain though they will also be the most difficult to work with because of the conflicting grain directions. I have some stunning examples such a the Buckeye above or this Burl Oak Rollerball pen.
Cherry The Wood is easy to work with and turns a golden colour as it ages. Used a lot in furniture, I tend to use it in conjunction with other woods for pen turning with little figure to show on something as small as a wooden pen.
Coolabah Australian woods are hard and this one is no exception although this one is not as dusty as some. The wood has beautiful colours and figure, also expensive and not available in large quantities. This wooden fountain Pen is Stunning.
Cocobolo is a hard, dense oily wood from the rosewood family. Sharp tools are a must then no problem working with it. This is a favourite wood of mine as with many woodworkers for the colours and density it makes beautiful wooden pens and other woodturning.
Elm an open pored hardwood that is darker than oak but not as dark as walnut, the pores will need filling if used for fine furniture. The Elm was once apart of the English countryside but now long gone, what we use now comes from America. This is a beautiful wooden pen set made with Elm.
Holly is hard to come by and find that has been conditioned well. Because it grows so slowly it is difficult to get in quantity. Dense and white this is used for turning or inlay banding with the American federal period a good example.
Iroko is a coarse grained wood suitable for external use. The Iroko wooden pen is a golden brown colour.
Kingwood Originally called Princes Wood it was used in the 17th century by the French Kings for furniture. It makes a beautiful Kingwood pen with a nice figure.
Kingwood Mexican as above. The Mexican Kingwood pen.
Lacewood when English woodworkers talk of this wood they are meaning quarter sawn London plane. Those from America may know other types of wood as lacewood. Two examples of these wooden pens are in the blog post - handmade pens offer more variety than mass produced.
Lignum Vitae the hardest commercially available wood ( Bull oak from Australia is harder but not commercially available). Lignum vitae is also oily, so oily it was used as self-lubricating bearings on propeller shafts, care is needed when glueing for a good joint. This wood is also green so aside from pens it has its uses in wooden intarsia and other crafts.
Lime a soft pale white/cream wood used by woodcarvers. Who would have thought it would make such a beautiful wooden pen. Lime being pale in colour is also good for intarsia.
Mahogany African is a close relation to Cuban mahogany and one of the three true mahoganies. The mahogany is not hard nor dense and is easy to work with sharp tools and takes a nice finish as on this wooden slimline pen.
Masur Birch not a species, this wood is beautiful and one of my all time favourites with the grain, the eyes of the pin holes and chatoyance there is lots going on with this wood. This Wooden Fountain Pen is stunning.
Oak has been used throughout England for hundreds of years both on land and sea. Lots of the wall panelling in the grand old English houses was Oak, parts of the English Battleships that Lord Nelson commanded where English Oak. Lots of furniture both inside and out has been made with it over the years and still used today. This was also one of the woods favoured by the old craftsmen, although hard it is easy to work with and makes a good Oak pen.
Padauk a beautiful dark red in colour, used by cabinet makers for furniture accents and liked by woodturners. It is easy to work with but the open pores can make it hard work for pen turning. This particular Padauk pen is a nice example.
Pau Rosa part of the rosewood family it is colourful and takes a nice finish. It is expensive and hard to get in any quantity. The Pau Rosa fountain Pen made with it is eye catching and Unique.
Pink Ivory a beautiful wood a delicate Salmon Pink in colour. This wood is a fantastic combination with the diamond pattern on this Pink Ivory wooden Pen.
Purpleheart a hard wood and hard on the cutting edge of tools this wood can be difficult to work. There are many trees in the species group with not all able to hold the deep purple colour, yes the wood is a natural purple. I like this wood and have made lots of different style pens with it, I will link to a favourite but maybe you should try searching for "purple" to see what is current.
Thuya Burr is one of my favourite woods for pen turning with so much figure and character in the grain. The colours and figure on this particular Thuya Burr fountain Pen are stunning. The wood is hard so sharp tools and some skill may be required.
Walnut a dark brown wood that is nice to work with used for lots of wooden crafts by English craftsmen, I prefer to use this on intarsia or as accent pieces unless figured.
Walnut American Black is a dark coloured hardwood with a nice figure, it is also easy to work with and finishes well. Here is an American Black Walnut American Black Walnut pen.
Wenge an African wood chocolate and dark brown in colour used in high-class furniture and as a veneer. The wood can be difficult to work because it likes to splinter. A bit of care and thought is needed for wooden pens depending on the grain orientation and the finish, or the pen may turn out jet black. If the grain is running in the wrong direction there is a possible solution in the blog post - should the wood be left natural or treated.
Zebrano or zebra wood gets its name from its resemblance to zebra stripes. Attention to where the grain is going is needed to make good wooden pens showing figure.