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