Types of Wood

I like to use a variety of woods – from local species found all over the UK through to rare and special pieces from around the world. Each wood has it’s own unique grain and texture with different types being suited to different tasks. One of the interesting things with woodturning is that while working with the piece a smell is released – this can range from some beautiful dents e.g roses, lemon all the way to the other end of the spectrum where the cut wood smells like a farmyard!!

All the wood is sustainably sourced.



This is the Burl/Burr from of the Nara (Pterocarpus indices) wood from Southeast Asia. It is an exotic and highly prized wood (for that read: extremely expensive) but it is a beautiful wood that is guaranteed to produce the wow factor. The wood can range from golden yellow to a reddish brown with well defended knot clusters.

Red Mallee:

Red Mallee (Eucalyptus oleosa and E. socialis) is an Austrailan wood that produces the most wonderful and smooth finish. The heartwood ranges from pink to orangish red. Pale yellow to gray sapwood is sharply demarcated from heartwood. Nearly always seen in burl form and is one of my favourite woods. A beautiful wood for statement and ornament pieces for the home – as the wood is so desirable it is expensive and I buy it whenever I can.


Brown Mallee:

Similar to Red Mallee but with brown heartwood – sometimes with an orange cast. Pale yellow to grey sapwood.

Wych Elm

Wych Elm (Ulmus glabra) is found across Europe but I only use the Irish variety. It mostly comes with an interlocked grain and contains many pits/cracks – this makes it a wonderful wood to use for small items like pens where the wood can be sanded extremely smooth but still has a depth with the pits and cracks – it is one of the woods that everyone likes due to it’s unique structure.¬†Heartwood is a light to medium brown, sometimes with a hint of red. Sapwood is a pale white or cream colour.


Beech (Fagus sylvatica) – there are many variety’s of beech. I tend to use the European variety. It¬†is typically a pale cream color, sometimes with a pink or brown hue. Veneer tends to be slightly darker colored, as slicing the veneer usually requires the wood to be prepared with steam, which gives the wood a more golden tone. Flatsawn surfaces tend to be very plain, while quartersawn surfaces exhibit a silvery fleck pattern.


Spalting is a term used to describe the process by which certain fungi grow on dead or fallen trees and after colonizing the wood via travelling up the wood cells from the ends or from broken off branches, leave a most attractive pattern. The process takes 2 to 3 years to reach the ideal stage to cut & season the timber. Many timbers can spalt but Beech is one of the most common – I’ve also had local grown (within Cardiff) Splated Oak which I’m saving for something special plus it still has another 1.5 years of seasoning before I will be able to work it. The splating creates black lines that follows grain and cell structures – no 2 pieces will ever be the same (natures artwork!). The black lines are created by different species of fungus creating barriers around their territory. If the tree is left (as it would be in nature) the entire tree will be consumed. Due to it’s unique nature spalted woods are highly sort after by wood turners although it can be tricky to work with. Where the fungus has been at work it can leave the wood soft – this requires care when turning or sanding as it will wear a lot faster than the surrounding hard wood. To combat this I use a clear sanding sealer to impregnate the wood and firm up the structure.



More wood types coming soon!!!