Sources for exotic wood information

Q: Where can I locate a very complete listing of most of the exotic woods of the world, which specifically lists specific gravities, densities and weight-per-board-foot. I'm currently building up a few samples using wenge, padouk, zebrawood, purpleheart and bubinga. That is our marketing niche using the highest quality exotics at affordable prices.

A: A great deal of information about native and some foreign species is contained in the "Wood Handbook," which was written by the U.S. Forest Products Lab in Madison, Wis. It is available online at or in many bookstores. Another good book with color pictures and quite a bit of information about the tree and wood is "A Guide to Useful Woods of the World." This was prepared by the International Wood Collectors Society and is available through the Forest Products Society,


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Gene Wengert

Gene Wengert, “The Wood Doctor” has been training people in efficient use of wood for 45 years. He is extension specialist emeritus at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.