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There are actually hundreds of species and varieties of wood available for woodworking. Below is a sample of woods that we commonly use for making chess boards at CustomChess.com.  If there is a specific wood you are interested in, please contact us about a custom order. For a comprehensive look at wood, please visit: http://hobbithouseinc.com/personal/woodpics/index.htm
Scroll down to see the list of 680 species.  The site includes descriptions and around 50,000 pictures!

Every piece of wood is unique, and figure and color can sometimes vary greatly from one board to the next, even within the same log.  This is especially true for figured woods like spalted maple. Many online woodworking suppliers are now selecting the most unique boards from their inventory and selling them individually.  This is also the most common way wood is sold on eBay.  The seller provides pictures of the actual board you are buying.  As a result, it is possible for you to pick out and purchase your own wood for a custom order chess board.  If you are interested in this, please contact us for the rough dimensions that will be required for your project. We will also provide you with our shipping address of course so you can ship us the wood.

 

Amboyna Burl:

Orange-red high density hardwood. Comes from southeast Asian countries like Cambodia, Laos, and Thailand. This burl comes from the narra tree and is sometimes called narra burl.  It has extremely high figure. Pictures 1 & 2: dark squares are Amboyna Burl.

 

Ash

Ash is a light colored wood with darker lines of grain that stand out. Picture 1: light squares are Ash.

 

Birdseye Maple

This highly prized, light colored hardwood is commonly used in quality musical instruments and other high end woodworking items. The wood is spotted with grain incursions called eyes.  They are roughly 1/8" in diameter and vary greatly in number from tree to tree.  The eyes radiate from the center of the tree out toward the bark, so boards cut from closer to the center of the tree will have a higher density of eyes. Picture 1: light squares are Birdseye Maple.

 

Birdseye Maple (Extra High Figure)

The same as regular birdseye maple, but with a higher density of eyes. Pictures 1 & 2: light squares are Birdseye Maple (Extra High Figure).

 

Cocobolo

This rosewood species has a reddish-brown color with somewhat wavy, lively grain. It is a high density hardwood and comes from various South American countries. Picture 2: border is Cocobolo.

 

Curly Maple

This light colored wood is also called fiddleback maple and tiger maple.  The term fiddleback comes from its extensive use in stringed instruments such as fiddles and violins... especially on the backs of the instruments.  It features wavy lines of dark and light grain. Picture 1: border is Curly Maple.  Picture 2: light squares are Curly Maple.

 

Curly Maple (Extra High Figure)

Select curly maple with above average levels of figure. Picture 1: border is Curly Maple (Extra High Figure).

 

Ebony (Gaboon)

One of the highest prized woods in the world this wood is used in the finest high-end working items available.  It is commonly used for the black keys on pianos.  The color is almost jet black with just a faint (sometimes invisible) trace of dark brown grain lines. It is also one of the highest density hardwoods in the world and it mills and polishes superbly. Picture 1: dark squares are Ebony. Picture 2: dark squares and outside border are Ebony.

 

Holly

This is a very tight grained hardwood that is almost pure white in its raw form.  It tends to yellow just slightly however when finish is applied to it.  It's a great wood for high contrast in many woodworking projects. Picture 1: light squares are Holly. Picture 2: border accents are Holly.

 

Mahogany (Genuine)

This wood has been widely used for centuries in fine furniture and other quality woodworking. It is a rich reddish-brown when finished and has light, strait grain.  Also called Honduran mahogany. Pictures 1 & 2: border is Mahogany.

 

Maple

One of the most common hardwoods available, it is used widely in furniture and cabinetry. It is light color with light to moderate grain definition. Picture 1: light squares are Maple.

 

Maple (Spalted)

Spalted maple is one of the most intriguing woods available.  Spalted wood is essentially wood that has started to rot.  The effect of bacteria, fungus, and mineral deposits create an enormous variety of colors and patterns.  Many times thin blank lines (called pencil spalting) will criss-cross the wood.  Each piece is unique.  Once the wood is harvested and cut into boards, the bacteria and fungus dies and the wood stabilizes, at which time it will no longer continue to rot. Picture 4: border is Maple (Spalted).

 

Maple Burl

This wood has extremely high figure.  It is often confused with birdseye maple, but it is not at all the same.  Burls are growths or incursions on a tree often caused by disease, fungus, insects, or injury.  They are usually attached to the side or base of a tree and are visually evident. Only the burl itself and the wood immediately adjacent to it will have abnormal grain, the rest of the tree is unaffected.  This is quite different from birdseye which is a condition that permeates the entire tree and is undetectable without cutting into the tree. Pictures 1 & 2: light squares are Maple Burl.  Picture 1: inside border is Maple Burl.

 

Padouk

A high density hardwood that is orange-red in color.  This wood comes from South America. Picture 1: dark squares are Padouk.  Picture 2: border is Padouk.

 

Purpleheart

This interesting high density hardwood is is a grey-brown color when first cut, but turns to a bright purple when left to sit for day or two. Pictures 1 & 2: dark squares are Purpleheart.

 

Rosewood

This beautiful dark burgundy colored wood is prized by high-end woodworkers.  There are many species of rosewood that vary slightly in color and other properties.  Commonly referred to are those of the South American variety such as Bolivian, Honduran, and Brazilian. Another popular variety is East Indian (or just Indian).  Brazilian Rosewood was once the premier wood for many stringed instruments, primarily guitars. Due to its popularity however, it was harvested to near extinction and is now protected and illegal to harvest. It is still legal to use wood harvested before June 1992, but its rarity and price makes it unreasonable for most projects. Picture 1: border is Rosewood.  Picture 2: dark squares and border are Rosewood.

 

Jatoba (Brazilian Cherry)

This exceptional wood is very hard and has tight strait grain that is lightly defined.  It has a beautiful light brownish-red color and compliments many other woods very well. Picture 1: dark squares are Jatoba.

 

Teak

This is a light, strait grained hardwood that is light brown in color..  It is best known for its moisture resistant properties.  But in addition to moisture, teaks natural oil also makes it resistant to fire, acid, and alkalis.  It is commonly used in boats, decks, and outdoor furniture, but will make a beautiful addition to any woodworking project.  It is commonly plantation grown.

 

Walnut

This American hardwood is commonly used in furniture and flooring.  It has a beautiful dark brownish color with medium grain definition. Picture 1: dark squares are Walnut.  Picture 2: dark squares and border are Walnut.

 

Walnut Burl

Highly prized by woodworkers and commonly made into veneer, walnut burl is the same type of growth or excursion that maple burl is.  It is often used as dashboard accents in high end cars. Pictures 1 & 2: dark squares are Walnut Burl.

 

Wenge

This is a high density hardwood that is mainly black in color with dark brown grain lines.  It has course grain and open pores. It is a fantastic wood for many projects and grows in Africa. Picture 1: border is Wenge.  Picture 2: dark squares and border are Wenge.

 

Zebrawood

This is a very interesting wood.  It is light tan with significantly darker, highly defined grain lines. It is a great choice when you want a project to really look like it is made of wood.  One look and it's quite obvious why it is called Zebrawood. Picture 1: border is Wenge.

 

 
  
       
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