Colombian White Oak, Quercus humboldti

Origin: South America; Colombia, Chile, Panama

Common Uses: Cabinetry, furniture, interior trim, flooring, boatbuilding, barrels, and veneer.

Strong, beautiful, rot-resistant, easy to work, and economical: white oak represents an exceptional value to woodworkers. It’s no wonder that the wood is so widely used in cabinet and furniture making.

Almost exclusively located in Colombia, the Quercus humboldtii oak tree is distributed across mountainous regions of the country between 1,100–3,200 meters above sea level and is also present in the Darien region of Panama.

Teak, tectona grandis

Origin: Africa, Asia, Latin America

Common Uses: Ship and boatbuilding, veneer, furniture, exterior construction, carving, turnings, and other small wood objects.

Sometimes called Burmese teak, this name is used to differentiate natural-grown trees (typically from Myanmar, aka Burma) from teak grown on plantations. Used extensively in India and within its natural range for centuries, teak has grown into a worldwide favorite. With its superb stability, good strength properties, easy workability—and most of all, its outstanding resistance to decay and rot—it’s no wonder that teak ranks among the most desired lumbers in the world.

Despite its widespread cultivation on plantations worldwide, teak is very expensive. It is perhaps one of the most expensive lumbers on the market, at least for large-sized, non-figured wood.

Spanish Cedar, cedrala odarata

Origin: Central and South America, Carribean

Common Uses: Veneer, plywood, cabinetry, musical instruments, (flamenco and classical guitars), humidors, and boatbuilding.

Spanish Cedar ranges from durable to moderately durable regarding decay resistance, and is also resistant to termite attack; the wood is also reported to have excellent weathering characteristics. Older, slower-growing trees from the wild tend to produce wood that is more durable than wood from younger, plantation-grown trees.

Not a true cedar, Spanish Cedar is actually more closely related to true Mahoganies (Swietenia and Khaya genera), as both are in the Meliaceae family. Density and mechanical properties can vary widely depending on country of origin and growing conditions

Purpleheart, peltogyne sp.

Origin: Central and South America

Common Uses: Inlays/accent pieces, flooring, furniture, boatbuilding, heavy construction, and a variety of specialty wood items.

Sometimes called amaranth, this colorful Latin American hardwood is tremendously popular for furniture and other designs that call for a unique splash of color.

In addition to its coloration, purpleheart has excellent strength and weathering properties, and can be used in applications where strength or durability is important—a wood with both form and function.