Wooden Watches Wood Types

Posted by Alexander on


1 - Silver Maple (Acer saccharum)


  • Pattern – Straight or Wavy
  • Durability – Medium
  • Texture – Fine, Even
  • Color – White/Cream with Reddish or Golden Hue
  • Luster – High


silver maple wood texture

Silver Maple is native to the Northeastern area of the United States.  The tree can grow up to 115 ft (35m) tall. While for most hardwoods the heartwood is used, in case of maple sapwood is most commonly used. Its colors span from pale, almost white hue to light golden and reddish brown. Maple is commonly used for crafting timepieces because it is fairly easy to work with both hand and machine tools. There is a thing that craftsmen have to consider tough - maple is susceptible to burning when cut at high speeds.


2 - Ebony (Diospyros ebenum)


  • Pattern – Straight
  • Durability – Very High
  • Texture – Fine, Even
  • Color – Black with Dark Brown Streaks
  • Luster – Very High


Ebony wood used for watches manufacturing


Ebony tree is most commonly found in East Africa, but there is also subspecies called Ceylon Ebony and it grows in Southeast Asia. Heartwood is jet black, while pale sapwood is clearly demarcated from the heartwood. Ebony is one of the most expensive of all available lumbers. The wood is exceptionally dense, strong and stiff, and these facts make it very difficult to work with. Ebony has dulling effect on the tools, and due to its saturation with oil, problems may occur with gluing. This wood is valued for its longevity and naturally high luster.


3 - Bamboo (Bambusa genera)


  • Pattern – Straight
  • Durability – Medium
  • Texture – Fine to Medium
  • Color – Pale yellow to Almost White
  • Luster – High


Bamboo wood texture


As you probably already know, bamboo is actually a hollow grass that can grow up to 100 ft tall. In factories stripes of bamboo are glued together in order to make bamboo “boards” which are most commonly used. It can also come in form of veneer and sheets made from many smaller strips. Bamboo has smooth texture and once it is packed into sheets or boards in factories, craftsmen find it easy work with. The best quality of this material is definitely its abundance, but it also offers one of the lightest color tones among wood used for making timepieces.


4 - Brazilian Rosewood (Dalbergia nigra)


  • Pattern – Interlocked
  • Durability – Very High
  • Texture – Medium
  • Color – Reddish-Brown with Darker or Lighter Streaks
  • Luster – High


Brazilian Rosewood Color


Brazilian Rosewood comes in shades of brown, varying from chocolate brown to a lighter purplish or reddish brown. What distinguishes this type of wood is its medium and sometimes coarse texture with medium-sized diffuse pores.  The wood is fairly easy to work with both machine and hand tools. However, it is known to be very expensive, and supplying sources are somewhat questionable, since cutting and exporting it is nowadays prohibited in Brazil. Currently this wood is on the most restrictive category of endangered species, which is caused by decades of irresponsible exploitation. More available yet less impressive subspecies of this lumber are East Indian and Honduran Rosewood.


5 - Koa (Acacia Koa)


  • Pattern – Slightly interlocked or Wavy
  • Durability – Medium
  • Texture – Medium to Coarse
  • Color – Golden or Reddish Brown
  • Luster – High


Koa wood color and texture


Koa is wood species native to Hawaii. The color of the wood varies, but it usually tends to be medium golden or reddish brown, resembling Mahogany. Its texture is uniform and similar to Brazilian Rosewood, but pores are larger and with no specific arrangement. The wood is easy to work with in most cases, except when encountering heavily interlocked grain, when chipping and tearing may occur. Since Koa is endemic to Hawaii only, it tends to be rather expensive, and boards made from very curly Koa are the priciest.


6 - Indian Sandalwood (Santala album)


  • Pattern – Straight or Wavy
  • Durability – High
  • Texture – Medium and uniform
  • Color - Black, Red or Green with Darker and Lighter Streaks
  • Luster – High


Indian Sandalwood sample


Indian Sandalwood is a small tropical tree native to Southeast Asia. It has been present in eastern medicine and religion for centuries, valued for its essential oils but also its distinctive fragrance that it retains long after being cut down. This wood also has a significant part in many eastern religions and is used for different ceremonies in Hinduism, Jainism, Buddhism and Zoroastrianism. When crafting watches, most commonly red variations of the Sandalwood are used because of its illustrious appearance.


7 - Zebrawood (Microberlinia brazzavillensis)


  • Pattern – Wavy and Interlocked
  • Durability – High
  • Texture – Coarse, Open Pores
  • Color – Light Brown or Cream Color with Dark Black Brown Streaks


Zebrawood pallet


Zebrawood got its name because of blackish/brown streaks along the light brown or creamy hardwood, which vaguely resembles zebra’s stripes. The wood is native to West Africa, specifically Congo. What distinguishes Zebrawood from other mentioned species used for crafting timepieces is its coarse texture with open diffuse pores. Due to interlocked grain chipping is common when wood is worked. The main reason this wood is used for watchmaking is its unique striping.


8 - Verawood (Bulnesia arborea)


  • Pattern - Straight to Spiraled or Slightly Interlocked
  • Durability - High
  • Texture - Fine
  • Color - Forest Green or Brown to Almost Black
  • Luster - Very High


Verawood texture


Verawood is found in northern areas of South America and in Central America. It is valued for its unique forest green color and dazzling natural luster. When cut, wood is actually yellowish but it tends to get darker with age, especially when exposed to light. Verawood is very difficult to work with. Due to its high density it commonly dulls cutters, but its high oil saturation also makes reliable gluing very difficult. The wood has a distinct appealing fragrance that lingers even after the wood is machined.


9 - Purpleheart (Peltogyne)


  • Pattern - Usually Very Straight
  • Durability - High
  • Texture - Medium
  • Color - Deep Purple to Dark Brown
  • Luster - High


Purpleheart Wood


Freshly cut Purpleheart, indigenous to Central and South America, doesn’t really live up to its name, and has dull grayish/brown color. Only upon exposure to light the heartwood gains its renown deep eggplant purple color. Further exposure to UV lights causes the wood do become dark brown with hint of purple. This hardwood is tremendously popular due to its unique coloration, but in addition it has excellent strength properties.


10 - Teak (Tectona Grandis)


  • Pattern – Straight or Wavy
  • Durability – Very High
  • Texture – Coarse, Uneven
  • Color – Golden or Medium Brown
  • Luster – Low


Teak Wood


Teak is native to southern Asia, but can be grown on plantations in tropical regions. Despite cultivation and widespread plantations, teak is very expensive. It has coarse and uneven structure with low natural luster. Heartwood colors with age, ranging from golden to brown. Teak is rich in natural oils, but it is easy to work with in almost every aspect, even gluing.


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