Wood Types

We can inlay almost any type of wood in our pieces – below is a list of all the English and Tropical woods we use most commonly.


Send us your own wood:

We are always happy to inlay your own wood into the piece – simply fill out the Contact Form

to let us know you’d like to send us the wood for your item. To do so we need a piece of wood about 2” cubed, and we advise choosing a part without any cracks and with a strong grain.

Choose a different wood:

If you see a piece you like on the website but would prefer a different wood to be inlaid, just let us know which wood you would like and when we’re making the piece we’ll inlay your choice of wood. The lists below are the woods we ordinarily have available, but if you know of a wood that we don’t have and would like it in your piece, we’ll do our best to source it for you.

Care and wear over time:

We would note that the wooden inlays in our rings change subtly as the piece ages. It’s very dependent on your lifestyle, and paler woods are more prone to change than darker ones as they will show up any dirt more easily than a darker wood. Most woods tend to go a bit darker and take on an almost driftwood feel, but the changes settle down after a couple of years. When the rings are worn all the time, the wood changes and adjusts naturally according to your lifestyle.

The natural oils in our skin stop the wood from drying out or cracking and because the wood isn’t attached to the metal the piece can be worn in water – anywhere from the shower to the sea. If you feel the wood is drying out, you can oil the wood a little with the teak oil we provide – see our Sizing and Care page for more details on this.

 

acacia 

Acacia - The name ‘Acacia’ is derived from the Greek word ‘ἀκίς’, meaning ‘thorn’ - a reference to the tree’s spiny branches. In Freemasonry the tree is used as symbol of purity and endurance of the soul, while the Ancient Egyptians associated it with characteristics of the tree of life. 

african blackwood 

African Blackwood - This dense wood ranges in colour from dark red to almost pure black, and is a good alternative to Ebony. The tonal qualities of this wood often lead to it being used in woodwind instruments – particularly clarinets and pipes.

amboyna burr 

Amboyna Burr - The flowers on the Amboyna tree can be used as a honey source, while the leaves are often used in shampoos and fragrances. The wood itself has a sweet rose smell, and is often used in decorative veneer and inlay due to the marbling patterns and colours present in the burr.

apple 

Apple - A member of the rose family and symbolising love and passion, apples feature in many myths, legends and religions – despite its ancient symbolisation of love, it is also a biblical symbol of temptation. Our Apple comes from a local orchard and has a lovely, warm grain and deep colour. 

arbutus

Arbutus - Also known as Madrone or Madrona, the Arbutus tree ranges in colour from a pale ivory white to a rich red. The Arbutus we have is a reddish brown and has a gently marbled effect running through the grain. It is a very dense wood and like Ebony, sinks in water. It can be polished to a beautiful finish.

ash

Ash - Named for the Old English word ‘Aesc’, meaning spear, Ash is often used in constructing musical instruments for its clear tone and quality. Our Ash is a pale cream colour mellowing into yellow shades.

birch

Birch - Birch is named for the Old English word ‘birce’, meaning ‘to shine’, in reference to its silvery white bark. In Celtic traditions birch symbolised growth, renewal and adaptability due to its ability to survive in the harshest conditions. It has a bright, rippling grain.

burr elm

Burr Elm - Elms are recurrent in art and history for their beauty and pliability. They have a strong resistance against splitting due to the interlocking grain whilst still being bendable. It was used frequently in ship-building for its resistance to water and in the construction of the original London Bridge.

 cherry

Cherry - Cherry trees are widely known for their vibrant and colourful blossoms in spring time, and delicious fruits in summer and autumn. The heartwood when freshly cut is a light pinkish brown, but this tends to darken a little over time to a deeper golden brown. 

 cocobolo

Cocobolo - Cocobolo can be polished to a lustrous, glassy finish which shows off the grain beautifully. The grain is a reddish brown colour with alternating tiger like stripes of darker reds and browns which undulate over the wood. It is most often used for high quality inlays on luxury items.

 ebony

Ebony - One of the most intensely black woods known, the density of ebony is so high that it sinks in water but means that it can be polished to a glossy finish. Perhaps most famous for its use as the black keys on pianos, the Ebony we are using at the moment was given to us by a local wood turner.

 horse chestnut

Horse Chestnut - Best known for the conkers it drops in the autumn, the horse chestnut tree wood ranges from pale and creamy to light brown, with a smooth, fine texture and grain. Its soft texture makes it ideal for carving, though it is used for little else. 

 ironwood

Ironwood - There are many different species of Ironwood available, but we use Desert Ironwood for its rich end grain and mottled colours. The heartwood can range from orange and brown to darker violet or black streaks. The grain can be quite gnarly and wild, but has an excellent natural lustre. 

 kauri

Kauri - Native to New Zealand, Agathis is better known by the name given to it by the local Maori people ‘Kauri’, and can grow up to fifty metres tall and live to be over two thousand years old. Kauri forests are among some of the most ancient in the world, and the wood favoured for ship building.

 kingwood

Kingwood - Kingwood has a very rich, striking grain consisting of alternating dark and light chocolate browns and occasional irregular swirls. Its hardness and density means it can be brought to a spectacular finish. It is almost exclusively used as inlays on fine furniture and changes little over time.

 koa

Koa - Koa is almost exclusively found in Hawaii, an in Hawaiian means brave, bold and fearless. Traditionally used by native Hawaiians for their surfboards and canoes, Koa has now become highly valued for its shimmer which is reminiscent of tiger’s eye, and for its tone when used in ukuleles and acoustic guitars.

 laburnum

Laburnum - Nicknamed the ‘golden chain tree’ for its bright yellow flowers, laburnum wood was exclusively used in highland bagpipes until tastes transferred to more exotic woods. Its heart wood can be used as a substitute for rosewood as it’s has a rich dark chocolate colour, while its sapwood is butter yellow.

 larch

Larch - Larch is valued for its durability and water resistance. Often used in yacht building and other small water crafts, larch has a pale to reddish orange colour and a pronounced grain which has a subtle shimmer running through the darker and lighter rings. It’s also featured in a Monty Python skit, aptly named ‘The Larch’. 

 lignum vitae

Lignum Vitae - ‘Lignum Vitae’ is Latin for ‘wood of life’ and its name is a result of the many uses of its resin which is used to treat a variety of medical conditions from coughs to arthritis. Contrary to this it was also until recently used as the wood which traditional British police truncheons were made from. 

 linden

Linden - Linden is most commonly used for carving where its fine, even texture makes it easy to manipulate. The colour is mostly uniform throughout the face grain of the wood, but we inlay the wood to show the end grain which has a greater variety of pattern.

 

 macadamia

Macadamia - Macadamia heartwood ranges from dark pink to reddish brown, and the grain has a flecked or spotted pattern with the spotted areas being a lighter colour. It is for more famously known for the delicious macadamia nuts it produces, and it is highly cultivated because of this.

 mahogany

Mahogany - Mahogany is prized for use in furniture making as the tree grows straight and tall, producing finely grained boards and planks. It has a deep brown colour with a faint reddish tinge which darkens slightly over time and is also commonly used for the necks and backs of Gibson electric guitars due to its warm tone. 

 oak

Oak - Oak is widely known to symbolise strength and endurance. On request we can use Oak we were given which came from an old Cornish lugger that’s over one hundred years old called ‘Happy Return’. This Oak is very dark whereas other oak is lighter initially. Both darken over time but still retain a strong grain.

 olivewood

Olivewood - Long considered a symbol of abundance, peace and glory, olive trees have been thought to have been cultivated for up to six thousand years. Mentioned throughout many religions and myths, the oil is still used in religious ceremonies today and are one of the most intensely grown fruit crops in the world.

 opepe

Opepe - Also known as Bilinga, Opepe is an extremely dense hardwood found in African forest with heartwood which is a shimmery gold to orange yellow in colour, while the sapwood has a paler but interesting interlocking grain. It will darken somewhat with age but is very durable.

 pear

Pear - Pear wood has a rich, warm colour pink to yellow in tone, and is favoured for carving. It is prized for high quality woodwind instruments and fine furniture. It was viewed as a symbol of immortality by the ancient Chinese.

 plum

Plum - In Japan, Plum blossoms represent youth and innocence and symbolise spring championing over winter. Our Plum comes from a Cornish orchard and has a natural lustre as well as a rich medley of colours in one piece, ranging from pinks to yellows and olive greys.

 purpleheart

Purpleheart - Purpleheart is extremely dense and water resistant, but is prized for its colour. When freshly cut, it is a light teak brown, which soon darkens to a rich purple. Long exposure to sunlight eventually turns the wood a chocolate-purple colour. 

 ropalo lacewood

Ropalo Lacewood - Lacewood is named for the flecked spots that recur throughout the grain. Ropalo Lacewood is also known as Leopardwood for this reason, and it’s the irregular shedding of its bark that gives it the mottled pattern. 

 rosewood

Rosewood - There are many different types of Rosewood, all most commonly used for decorative purposes due to the richly veined grain. Whilst being strong and heavy, Rosewood can also be brought to a highly finished polish, and is favoured for its reddish hue and sweet scent. 

 satine rubane

Satine Rubane - Satine Rubane is also known as Bloodwood for its deep red colour. The colour can range from a dark pink to a rich blood red and the wood has an iridescent sheen so it shimmers when it catches the light, giving it another level of elegance.

 sheesham

Sheesham - Also known as Sissoo, Sheesham is a member of the rosewood family and held in very high regard in India where it has the same value as Teak. The wood itself has a gently marbled grain in varying shades of yellow and brown.

snakewood

Snakewood - So called for its characteristic snakeskin patterns which run through the grain, the wood is typically orange to reddish brown which contrasts with darker brown or black areas. Like most woods, it tends to darken over time but has a high natural lustre.

sycamore

Sycamore - Probably best known for its ‘helicopter’ seedlings, Sycamore is actually a type of Maple. The colour of the wood is quite pale, ranging from white to a light gold and has a silky lustre. It is traditionally used in making the backs, necks and scrolls of violins.

teak

Teak - Teak is a medium to light brown with a straight and subtle grain. It’s valued for its durability and for its oil – we use teak oil to bring the natural colour and lustre of the wood inlaid in our pieces out before sending them out. We also supply a little vial of teak oil with our care pack so you can do the same.

tulipwood

Tulipwood - Tulipwood has a really beautiful range of contrasting colours – from subtle tones of gold and yellow to rich, warm pinks and oranges. It is almost exclusively used for small luxury items and has a high density, making it very durable and can be polished to a very glossy finish.

walnut

Walnut - The word ‘Walnut’ derives from the Old English word ‘wealhhnutu’ – literally meaning ‘foreign nut’.  Most commonly used in making guns, Walnut is also prized as a furniture and carving wood. The colour ranges from a creamy white in the sapwood to a dark chocolate brown or almost black in the heartwood.

willow

Willow - Willow is mentioned in hundreds of ancient texts for the medicinal qualities of its leaves and bark, as well as for its pliability in basketry. Willow withies are still used today to make the structures of the figures in the annual Mazey Day parade and the wood has a subtle pale and undulating grain.

yew

Yew - Yew is a prominent feature in Celtic and Anglo-Saxon traditions, symbolising eternal life, death and rebirth. It was prized in medieval England for longbows. Ours comes from a local tree surgeon and is pale yellow to rich orange colour with a beautiful flowing grain.

zebrano

Zebrano - Zebrano, or ‘Zebrawood’ is aptly named for the dark brown or black stripes on its golden yellow heartwood. The wood is strong and stiff, but mostly used as a decorative finish due to its eye catching grain.