About the Project

How it all got started . . .

Database creator:
Eric Meier

It all began back in April of 2007. I had recently checked out some wood identification books at the library, and I wanted a way to organize all of the most helpful data into a single reference file on my computer. After cataloging the wood’s common and scientific names, weight, approximate cost, and any other notes or observations that I thought were unusual to that species, I printed the file out and used it as a reference guide in my shop. (At that time, I was involved in making psalteries—a type of stringed musical instrument.) Over time, I found myself referencing this chart so many times, and I had made so many additions and alterations to it—adding my own observations, density readings, etc.—that it became nearly indispensable. Many times when a project would come up, I would consult the chart as a guide to help me use the most appropriate wood possible.

How my wood list grew into an online project

Eventually, I realized that all of the data that I found in most wood identification books available to the public was just too vague and limited. Concerning mechanical properties of the wood, many times it would read something like “moderately hard and heavy, with good strength properties . . .” But I was left wondering: how hard, how heavy, and how strong was this wood? What were they using as a standard, and how exactly did it measure up to other woods that I was used to using?

It wasn’t until I found a great resource called the Wood Handbook: Wood as an Engineering Material, produced by the USDA’s Forest Products Laboratory. (The book can be accessed on their site for free.) This helped introduce me to new terms and methods, such as Janka hardness testing, and modulus of elasticity, which gave an even clearer picture of the woods that I was working with. This manual, along with Tropical Timbers of the World by Martin Chudnoff (again being produced by Forest Products Laboratory: a division of the USDA), form the foundation and the bulk of the data used in this wood database.

With the addition of these new sources, along with a growing collection of wood books and other sources scattered across the internet, I was able to expand my original small wood list started back in 2007 into a much larger and more comprehensive collection. And so in December of 2008, I pulled out my flatbed scanner and officially launched “The Wood Database.” By getting high-resolution scans of woods whenever I had them available, as well as making a clean, easy-to-read user interface with informative links, I sought to take full advantage of the online medium. Being online, I could not only integrate my own experiences as I went, but I also chose the option to give readers a chance to add any further data they might have on a given wood species by allowing pictures and comments to be added for each wood profile.


In addition to my own wood collection, I owe a huge debt of gratitude to the generosity of so many who have generously donated woods samples for this project. If you believe you have a unique wood sample that the site could use, please see the page on donating wood samples. The following people have contributed either wood samples or photos of finished wood products for use in the Wood Database:

Steve Earis: A professional woodturner from the United Kingdom, Steve has access to a lot of different wood species that are not seen nearly as frequently in the United States. As you can see from the list below, he has donated quite a few samples and photos to the database. Be sure to check out his turned projects on his own site, and you can see even more of his work at Steve’s Wooden Skittle Pins and Balls.

Donations: [August 2010 + March 2017]

Mike Leigher: Mike’s helped me out with a number of domestic woods. Located in South Carolina, he has a portable sawmill, and processes and sells a number of turning blanks. Be sure to check out his online store Got Wood? for some nice, hard-to-find turning blanks at great prices, as well as his partner site KnifeScaleSupply.Com!

Donations: [June 2011]

Justin Holden: Justin has donated a number of nice samples from around the world, ranging from old standbys to hard-to-find rarities. Check out his own website exoticwoodsoftheworld.com for more information on the wood that he sells, and be sure to visit his eBay store Exotic Woods of the World for some great deals on exotic and tropical species!

Donations: [July 2011]

Per Stangegaard: Per is located in the Philippines, and is the managing director of Filtra Timber, an FSC certified timber trading company. He’s been able to furnish a number of harder-to-find species (at least for those located in the United States) from southeast Asia. Per’s Danish/Philippine companies have a number of branches in the woodworking realm, including flooring, outdoor hardwoods, and wood product design.

Donations: [October 2013]

Ken Forden: Ken is located in Whitethorn, California and has a small hardwood mill that specializes in native Californian woods. He’s provided generous samples of hard-to-find woods from the west coast.  Be sure to check out Whitethorn Hardwoods to see their selection of slabs, flooring, and lumber!

Donations: [November 2013]

Don Wan: Don has generously donated a handful of unusual or hard-to-find Australian samples, particularly those that are extremely dense and hard (including a very large slab of Buloke).

Donations: [June 2014]

Geoffrey Thomas: As the owner of Cascadia Forest Goods, Geoff has generously offered to donate whatever samples were needed for the website, and I was able to get a couple species used for flooring and decking.

Donations: [July 2014]

  • Pucte

Rives McDow: Rives has generously offered to donate a number of wood samples taken from logs that he was milling. His donations are far from “run-of-the-mill” when compared to other sawyers!

Donations: [March 2015]

  • Ash, Tropical
  • Carob
  • Lilac, Redheart Mountain 
  • Tipuana Tipu

Rory Wood: Originally from Cape Town, South Africa, Rory started a family-owned business back in 1982 called Rare Woods. Now, Rory has established Rare Woods USA and has brought his passion for wood to the United States. Rory has generously donated some, well… rare woods from his aptly-named business—particularly some hard-to-find African species.

Donations: [March 2015]

  • Pau Rosa
  • Sneezewood
  • Stinkwood, Black

Michael Savchak: Mike is a professional engineer by day, but that doesn’t stop him from enjoying woodworking and turning as well. Apparently he’s stockpiled quite a collection of exotic woods over the years, and he’s generously donated some of his pieces for the project.

Donations: [September 2015 + October 2018]

  • Bridalveil tree
  • Camatillo
  • Gum, Sydney Blue
  • Ironwood, Asian
  • Ironwood, Cooktown

Paul Fletcher: A Colorado native through and through, Paul is a luthier based out of Denver, Colorado. You can check out this Luthiers of Colorado webpage for more information on his interesting build using only native Colorado woods. Paul has generously donated some of his offcuts from the project to the Wood Database.

Donations: [November 2015]

  • Cherry, Choke
  • Juniper Cedar, Rocky Mountain
  • Oak, Gambel
  • Pine, Rocky Mountain Bristlecone

Dick Veitch: Located in New Zealand, Dick has access to a number of woods that aren’t normally encountered by most other woodworkers. Dick has generously donated some unique species, and they’ve made the long trek over the Pacific ocean to reach my doorstep.

Donations: [August 2016]

  • Maire, Black
  • Matai
  • Pohutukawa
  • Puriri
  • Tawa

Eric Krum: As a fellow IWCS member, Eric has had access to all sorts of rare and unusual wood specimens from all over the world. He’s generously donated a handful of these species for the project.

Donations: [August 2016]

  • Parica
  • Pepper, Brazilian
  • Pine, Himalayan
  • Plum, Java
  • Plum, Mexican

Thrity Vakil: Thrity is the president of Tropic Ventures Sustainable Forestry & Rainforest Enrichment Project. She is also the co-founder of Puerto Rico Hardwoods, specializing in sustainable hardwood production. One unique offering is a hybrid mahogany which is a cross of the two better-known commercial species (Cuban and Honduran Mahogany).

Donations: [September 2016]

  • Mahoe, Blue

Salem Barker: A professional artist and sculptor from Illinois, Salem creates works from bronze, stone, and of course, wood. He has generously allowed use of the photos of his finished works for the project. You can see more of his work on his website SalemBarker.com.

Donations: [April 2017]

Steven Ondich: Steven is the owner of Commercial Forest Products, a wholesaler of wood products based out of southern California. He’s generously donated samples of some figured hardwoods from his inventory.

Donations: [November 2019]

  • Paulownia (curly)

Adam Cottrill: Adam is a woodturner from Canada who primarily makes wood boxes and bowls. He’s generously shared pictures of his finished projects—and they’ve not only been sanded to perfection (showing the wood grain very well), but they’re also photographed nicely too. Be sure to check out the woodturning projects on his website, as well as his etsy store.

Donations: [May 2020]

Dave Page: Dave has worked for decades at New Zealand Forest Research Institute Limited, and he’s generously shared a number of hard-to-find New Zealand specimens, as well as a wealth of knowledge on native timbers.

Donations: [July 2021]

  • Maire, black
  • Mangeao
  • Pine, pink
  • Pine, yellow silver
  • Rata, northern
  • Rata, southern
  • Ribbonwood
  • Tawa

Tim Deahl: Tim has generously donated the wood collection formerly belonging to IWCS member Dick Bunner. Because this collection is so large, I didn’t think it reasonable to list every species here, but you can see the summary on this page. Needless to say, it’s quite a sizeable addition, and I’m grateful to Tim for sharing this with me! In addition to the collection, Tim’s also donated a handful of finished project photos (listed below).

Donations: [August 2021]

Marcel Goetz: Marcel is a woodturner originally from France, now residing in Germany. He’s generously offered a number of samples for the project from his own collection, including a number of unique European species that were new to me.

Donations: [February 2022]

  • Cherry, mahaleb
  • Ironwood, Persian
  • Juniper, cade
  • Juniper, savin
  • Privet, wild
  • Sea buckthorn
  • Service tree
  • Smoketree, European

Other Contributors: Over the course of the years, various generous individuals have donated wood samples (and/or photos) to the site. Their willingness to share is much appreciated!

Randy Johnson [November 2011]

John Nephew [August 2013]

Dean Garrett [February 2014]

Dan Pape [September 2014]

Ben Vaterlaus [February 2015]

Eric Bandurski [August 2015]

  • Rosewood, Arizona (sample and pic)

Mike Robinson [October 2015]

  • Pear, Callery (pic)
  • Angelique (pic)

Jim Lande [February 2016]

  • Mulberry, red (pic)
  • Pecan (pic)
  • Macadamia (pic)

Saun Landman [February 2016]

  • Birch, Alaska paper (sample)
Jonathan Bluestein [March 2016]
  • White Wax Wood (sample)
  • Gum, river red (sample)
  • Sissoo (pic)

Paula Sloan [June 2016]

  • N’Calala (sample)

Jimmy Ellis [February 2017]

  • Huisache (sample)
  • Loquat (sample)
  • Pistachio, Chinese (sample)

Leon Olson [March 2017]

  • Cedar, salt (sample)
Geoffrey Gymer [December 2017]
  • Chengal (sample)
  • Chengal mas (sample)
  • Tembusu (sample)

Henry Ledyard [August 2018]

  • Tick Bush (sample)

Bengt Randers [October 2018]

Skip Guenter [March 2019]

  • Post cedar (sample)

Alex Winston [March 2019]

  • Capa blanco (sample)

“Octwood” [April 2019]

  • Photinia, red tip (sample)

Kristen Wegner [October 2019]

  • Fiddlewood, Jamaican (sample)
  • Elm, Chinese (sample)

Dan Miles (dendrochronologist) [November 2019]

  • Oak, Irish [13th-century] (sample)
  • Oak, Japanese (sample)
  • Manzanita (sample)

Amaury Graulich  [March 2020]

Holger Tebert  [April 2020]

Conrad Naugle [April 2020]

  • Grape vine burl (sample)

Ryan Dudrow [June 2020]

  • Amur cork tree (sample)

Chris Head [August 2020]

Stephen Hays [October 2020]

  • Juniper, western (sample)

Anthony Bertoncini [December 2020]

  • Walnut, Japanese (sample)
  • Wisteria (sample)

Angel Sampedro del Rio [January 2021]

Ivan & Andrija Pejović [February 2021]

  • Mulberry (pic)

Scott Camazine (etsy shop) [May 2021]

  • Aroeira (sample)
  • Faveira (sample and pic)

Keith Regular [May 2021]

  • Gombe (sample)

David Curran [June 2021]

  • Walnut, birdseye (sample and pic)

John Stinson [July 2021]

  • Amur honeysuckle (sample)
  • Catalpa, northern (sample)
  • Oak, southern red (sample)

James Kidman (Otway tonewoods) [June 2022]

  • Satinwood, Australian (sample)

Trey Reppe [December 2022]

  • Nchonya (sample)
Jeremy Jedwabnik [January 2023]
  • Mulga, black (sample)
  • Myall, western (sample)
  • Nelia (sample)
Chris Hatch [January 2024]
  • Ironwood, red (pic)


If you have any questions or comments about the Wood Database in general, please use the contact form below to reach me. Please keep in mind:

  • I do not buy/sell any wood on this website.
  • If you have a mysterious piece of wood that you’d like identified, I would recommend contacting the Center for Wood Anatomy Research (part of the USDA’s Forest Products Laboratory), for a free, reliable, and professional identification. This is a free service available to all US citizens: they will identify up to three wood samples per year. See their Wood ID Factsheet.
  • Due to the volume of emails I receive on a daily basis, I am unable to provide one-on-one woodworking advice or tips. Your best bet would be to navigate to a page on this site that’s the closest fit, and leave a message/question in the comments section. I do read/respond to public comments regularly.

    Your Name (required)

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    Your Message

    Please note that I do not buy or sell any wood through this website; commercial offers/requests will be ignored.

    . . . If you’ve been helped by the Wood Database

    Consider saying “thanks” and helping to support the project. This is very much still a one-man operation, and comments and other contact is still answered personally. There is of course no obligation, but if you’d like to give back and ensure that the project continues to grow, consider supporting me on Patreon. ~Eric

    wood-book-standupGet the book that’s based on the website—the Amazon.com best-seller, WOOD! Identifying and Using Hundreds of Woods Worldwide. It contains many of the most popular articles found on this website, as well as hundreds of wood profiles—laid out with the same clarity and convenience of the website—packaged in a shop-friendly hardcover book.