How to Identify the Right Wood for Your Climate?

How to Identify the Right Wood for Your Climate?

15th Aug 2023

Exotic woods

Exotic woods possess a warmth, durability, and elegance that humans cannot recreate. Instead, we shape the grain of these exotic woods to amplify their color and grain. Woodworkers worldwide love to take advantage of these exotic woods, but not every exotic wood is compatible with your region’s climate.

With that in mind, let’s talk about the different regions of the United States and the types of wood that will do the best within these climates. Whether you are using this wood for flooring, furniture, or other artistic pieces to be used in your home or office, climate should be considered before choosing an exotic wood.

Regional Climates to Consider Before Choosing Your Exotic Woods

The following regions are part of North America, and certain woods are best for each type of climate, such as the following:

Northern Region. This area has short summers and extensive winters. Choose wood that has closed grains for added resilience to moisture. Maple and birch are recommended.

Central Region. This area has extreme temperatures - hot summers and cold winters. Recommended wood is densely-grained, which adapts well under such conditions.

Appalachian Region. This area might have an unpredictable climate, but it is home to an array of exotic wood species. Here, you can use different wood flooring types at your heart’s delight.

Southern Region. This region has short winters and long summers. Sapgum and tulipwood are suggested for this type of climate.

Pacific Northwest. This region has a maritime climate - warm summers and cool winters. Red alder and big-leaf maple are ideal to use in this location.

Now that you understand the types of climates that your exotic woods might have to deal with, let’s dive into the most popular exotic woods and what makes them stand out.

Seven Popular Exotic Woods

Popular exotic woods are frequently used in various woodworking projects and for building materials. Let’s discuss seven of them and their unique attributes.

Jarrah is great for ornate projects with curls, curved edges, rich colors, and cross grains.

Ebony has a fine silky finish and a rich, dark black color. It is prized for its hardness, stability, and weight.

Katalox is a lighter color than ebony, with hints of purple. It has a straight grain and is strong and stiff.

Chakte Viga is a lighter-colored wood with a bright orange and red combination. Its acoustic qualities make it a good choice for musical instruments.

Cocobolo is a dark wood with a textured grain. It is an excellent option for areas of high humidity and where liquids are common, such as kitchens and bathrooms.

Purple heart is a hard and dense wood- an excellent choice for flooring and furniture in high-traffic areas.

Honduras mahogany is strong, stiff, and lightweight, often used by boatbuilders.

Some exotics are very hard, making it difficult to use certain hand tools. You will also need to sharpen your blades more often, as the blades are likely to be dulled quickly. Before you choose the type of wood to use, you need to know what you are building and whether it will need to withstand extreme temperatures. Even if you choose an exotic wood that can do well in a specific climate, you may still need to be treated to protect it.

What Characteristics Do You Need to Consider?

There are several characteristics you should consider before picking an exotic wood. These are things that can also be impacted by climate, such as the following:

  • Closed versus open-grain
  • Soft versus hardwood

Each of them will react to the climate differently, making it more important that you treat them to provide another level of protection. To find the right exotic woods for your climate, you need to consider what you will be using it for, the type of grain, and whether it can withstand extremes in temperature.

With our team, we can assist you in finding the right wood for both your project and climate. Contact us today to learn more about the exotic wood options available.

Global Wood Source is a family-owned and operated lumber yard and mill specializing in exotic woods from around the world and rare domestics. We personally acquire and inspect each piece of log and timber obtained from forests and jungles worldwide.