There is a wand in there somewhere

I like to try working with lots of different kinds of woods.  Each wood has it's benefits, and drawbacks, and gives a different weight, feel, and experience.  I'll detail the woods I've worked with below, and my impressions....if you are interested in such things.


African Mahogany is a lighter weight wood with rick veins of brown grains thought.  Easily to turn an holds a detail well without chiping out like some of the other light weight woods.

African Mahagony

African Mahogany is a medium density wood with a rich brown color that is fairly easy to work with.  I don't find anything spectacular about this species.  Turns and sands well with no significant dulling of my chisels.


Ash is a hard wood with prominent grain similar to oak.  Due to the grain, it is difficult to impossible to get a fine smooth finish over the whole piece, but the grain stands out well on finishing with oil(teak oil is my oil of choice).  Due to it's easy turning, and nice grains, this is my preferred wood when going for a lighter toned wood.


Thoughts forthcoming.....

Black Palm

Black Palm has a very interesting "grain", with rich brown with black striping.  It's not really a grain though, since Black Palm is more akin to a grass than a tree.  The black is the tougher fiber, with the brown being a softer binding.  I was warned that this can be difficult to turn since the fibers will tend to splinter, and breaking is a common problem due to the  fibrous nature.  I made sure to have newly sharpened tools, and used a light touch on this one.  Finished product has a very interesting look, but not one that I will return too very much, given it's difficult work nature, but as always it's fun to experiment with new woods.

Black and White Ebony

Black and white ebony is a very dense wood that, as it's name implies, has a black and white grain striping(seems like this should be the real Zebrawood).  Like all Ebony wood is very expensive, and I don't expect to work with it much.  Quite a hard wood, and had to proceed slow.  The piece I got was more black than white, and a 3/4 not 4/4 board, so a thinner wand.  Incredibly smooth finish with a nice heft to it, even for a thin wand.

Black Walnut

Black Walnut is one of the mainstays of my wands.  This wood had a nice dark finish, is easy to turn, works very well with resin applications, and is very affordable for the finish it gives.   I always make sure to have some Black Walnut blanks around.


Bloodwood is a medium density wood with a red hue, as the name would lead you to believe.  Pictures do not do it justice.  In weight, feel and workability it is very close to cherry, with maybe a little more dusting.  Turns very nicely without much resistance like some of the harder woods.

Brazillian Ebony

Brazilian Ebony is a very hard and heavy wood.  This wood has a very tight grain, and gives an incredibly smooth finish.  The wood is a very dark drown, and not black like the name would imply, with streaks of lighter brown,  almost golden, running thru.  Still a new wood for me, but I have plenty more to play with and get a better feel, but I have a feeling this one will go on the keeper list....even though I'll have to up my chisel sharpening game with these around.


Canarywood has a rich yellow/orange color with warn brown graining.  It a striking wood that drew my eye the first time I saw it.  A very easy wood to turn, and holds any shape that you want to put into it with ease.  Slightly heavier than cherry, it doesn't have the heft of the rosewoods, but finishes almost as smooth.

Cherry, Curly Cherry

Cherry is a very easy wood to turn, being on of the less dense woods that I have worked with.  It's a good wood for beginner turners.  Has a rich tan color that will give hints or red especially after being oiled.  Curly Cherry tends to have knots, but a little resin in the knot will give a great effect on the finished product.


Cocobolo is also known as Mexican Rosewood.  This is a very dense wood, and gives a solid and hefty feel.  This wood is so dense it will not take face glue and requires epoxy to bond face boards.  Like most varieties of rosewood has a very pleasant and sweet odor when working.

Gabon Ebony

Ebony is a very hard and expensive wood.  Ranging from dark brown to totally black, and being one of the most dense woods that I have ever worked with.  Gives a amazingly smooth finish.  Hard on both your chisels, and  your sandpaper.  I usually use Ebony in accents, but have made a few pure Ebony wands.


The first time that I saw this wood I knew I had to give it a spin.  The wood is totally white.  Turns very nice, but will start to flex when turning down to a smaller radius.  Finishes quite nice, but will pick up a tiny bit of color from an oil(but not as much as I feared it would).  Sight voids in the grain will give it a bone like appearance when finished.

Indian Laurel

Indian Laurel is a brown wood with black highlights in the grain.  This wood reminds me of Black Walnut in color and workability.   Laurel has a slightly heavier feel though.  I've found it to dust considerably while working, so this on goes on the list of woods to wear a dust mask with while turning.


One of my favorites.  Another very hard wood with a nice smooth finish.  The color ranges from deep red to almost purple with excellent grain.  Has a pleasant odor when turning.  Not to the level of a rosewood, but gives it a little extra plus when working with it.


A very striking wood.  The graining gives it a molted appearance that is definitely reminiscent of a Leopard.  Leopardwood is a bit difficult to work due to it's almost fibrous nature.  Even after sanding down to 600 grit, the fibers are still capable of snagging a finish rag(or giving you a nice splinter).  Creates beautiful wands, but takes time and care to turn.


Maple is one of the most common hardwoods that you can find.  Has a nice uniform blonde color.  Maple and Ash are my staples when looking to have a paler wand.  Turn fairly easily, and maintains it's strength down to fairly narrow turnings.  A nice wood to use to pair with colored resin as it will allow the eye to be pulled to any applications.


Olive is a beautiful wood with amazing variation in the grain.  It has a nice heft to it, but turns very smoothly, like a much less dense wood.  Sounds funny, but you get the odor of an olive bar when turning this wood.  Up to you if that is a plus or not :)  Only just starting with this wood, but looking forward to working with it more.


Padauk is a nice hardwood with a deep red color to it.  The grains are very tight with the occasional swirl pattern.  Turns nicely, and makes for vert distinctive wands.  A wood that I have mostly underutilized, as I'm always looking for new woods to try, and started with a small set of this one.  Something to get back to in the future.


Popular is a common hardwood, and I most often use it when practicing new methods or experimenting.  Turns easily and sands smooth.  The biggest draw back is that is yellows significantly when oiled.  I haven't used stains often in my wands, but I believe this wood would work well in those applications.  Time to experiment some more.....


As it's name would imply the heartwood of this tree has a nice deep purple color.  I have found that many people are drawn to it because of it's color.  Purpleheart has a very nice weight and feel to it.  Turns and sands very well.  A wood that I will come back to.

Red Oak

Oak is a dense wood with a very wide grain.  Because of the grain, it is hard to sand smooth.  Very much behaves like Ash in turning and sanding characteristics.  I find that Red Oak has a slightly off putting odor when cutting, and often drives me to other woods given a choice.


Redheart will put Bloodwood to shame.  The red color is quite vibrant, almost to the point of staining things with it's dust.  Don't try to reuse sandpaper that you have used on Redheart!  This mid density wood turns very well, and feels nice when finished.  Definitely a wood to keep around.  I have used it in full wands, and as accents in multi wood wands.

Rosewood - African

African Rosewood is softer and lighter than some of the other species of rosewoods.  Turning it is quite easy, and the wood has a tendency to come off in continuous ribbons with a skew chisel after it's been rounded, which is always fun to see.  It has a slightly pink hue to it.  Not as fragrant as the other rosewoods I've worked with but has a subtle and pleasant scent.

Rosewood - Bolivian

This has to be one of my absolute favorites.  I love the rich dark brown color, and often striking graining patterns.  Turns very nicely, but due to it's density will dull your tools quicker than some other woods(not has bad as Ebony or Kingwood though).  This wood will allow for creating very fine details without chipping out.  Hands down the best smelling of the woods that I have worked with when cutting and turning.

Rosewood - Honduran

Honduran Rosewood ranks right up there with the Bolivian Rosewood.  The turning characteristics, density, and weight  are quite similar to the Bolivian Rosewood as well.  The light brown color, is the major difference in these woods.  Also has a very pleasant smell.  Another wood worker told me the smell reminded her of nice hand lotion, and it's a good comparison.

Rosewood - Indian

Not as dense as many of the other Rosewoods that I have used, or as scented.  Almost no scent for a Rosewood, but an easy wood to work with.  Finish will not be as smooth as the more dense wands.  Nice brown color, but not as rich as the Bolivian Rosewood.  A solid wood, but not as nice as some of the other Rosewoods, but not as spend-y either.


Sapele is a quite light wood with a light red-ish brown color.  The grains are not that tight, and has a tendency to chip out when doing detail work.  Not a favorite, and I have mostly given up on using this one.


A light wood in all manners, color and weight.  Easy to turn and sand well.  Slight variation in colors in the grain.  The Sycamore that I have actually comes from a tree that was downed by a storm in my backyard.  It's been drying in my workshop for several years, but it was finally time to mill it into blanks and check it out.


Teak is a light to medium weight wand that I have found to have a fairly smooth grain profile with little variation in colors.  The dust from this one is quite irritating to me, and I make sure to wear a dust mask when working with it,  but not a wood that I plan on putting a lot of time into.


Spalting is a process where the wood will be left on a forest floor to allow it to be partially decomposed.  The black marking in the wood are due to fungus colonies growing in the wood before collection and drying.  The only spalted wood that I have worked with is the Tamarind, but it can be found in other woods.  This wood is VERY light and delicate, and needs a soft touch when turning, or it will snap on you....trust me.


Wenge is a wood that really draws the eye.  The dark brown, and black graining is striking especially after oiling.  I found this wood to be quite difficult to work though.  The wood tends to go straight to a fine dust when turning, making the dust mask a must at all times when working with it.  Besides Leopardwood, this is the only wood that has given me splinters even after sanding down to 600 grit.

Yellow Mora

One of the earliest of the more exotic woods I worked with.  This wood has a fairly solid yellow color, but you can find it with streaks of an almost white to orange-ish red streaks in it.  A dense wood that will quickly dull your tools, but like all the dense woods will sand to a very smooth finish.


Zebrawood is a wood that I have used quite a bit.  The graining is quite stunning with the dark streaks on the light brown base.  The grain size is reminiscent of Ash and red Oak, but not quite as large, so it will give a smoother finish.  I have found this wood to be quite popular.  I think it's a good choice for beginners due to it's strength,  turnability, and interesting patterns.


Ziricote is a very dense wood with a tight grain that tends to turn almost straight to dust when turning.  Due to this I always make sure that I have on a dust mask even when turning.  A heavy wood, it has a deep brown color that will turn to almost black when oiled.  A nice wood when finished but the dusting can be irritating.