The hard maple (Acer saccharum) and tender maple (Acer saccharinum for instance)
come from America. The maple sycamore also called "sycamore" more simply (or maple
false-plane tree), the rustic maple (Acer campestre) and the Acer platanoides are
present in Europe. The japan maple is, principally the Acer mono. It's a light yellow
wood with some darker trails and right veins. However, the european sycamore can
have some undulating veins. The most dense maple has a fine plain texture and a great
density, what offers an excellent resistance.
It seasones well enough if this operation is made slowly and it's rather stable at
the use. The treatment of wood is different according to that it's a tender or hard
It's used for marquetry, cabinet making (the insides of furniture, for instance),
stringed instrument trade and turning woodwork. Seeing that it's a very light wood,
it's often discoloured to be still whiter.
When it was discovered, in the sixteenth century, its resin was considered like a
panacea, from which its name of saint wood. Besides, even if it doesn't own these
universal qualities, it's always a medicine but only like pulmonary antiseptic.
However, at the present time, it's the wood which presents the most interesting,
the heaviest one on the market. It's a little tree whose best quality comes from
the West Indies, coast of Colombia and Venezuela.
Its colour is brown to greenish black. Its specific weight is exceptionnal, superior
about 80 % to the one of oak. Its texture is fine with some intertwined veins. It's
a very hard and strong wood. It has a great resistance to the wearing and has a very
importante durability. Its characteristic is to be oily when one touches it. Its
texture is fine and regular with an intermingled grain very close-grained.
Its seasoning and working don't easy. On the contrary, it makes it possible to lubrificate
the sharp of tools.
It's used for marquetry but its first use is industrial with the making of pulleys...It's
perfect for the turning woodwork. After the finishing, it has a beautiful polishing.
Bois de vie
This tree comes from Europe, Asia Minor, northen Africa, more particularly. It has
a little size because it doesn't measure more of 15 meters generally. Its characteristic
is its great longevity, remarkable in Europe in first : the presence of a specimen
old of 3500 years in Austria proves it.
It's a hard and strong wood. It has a great durability. Its colour is orange with
The right grain woods are worked well with a polished aspect for the finishing. On
the contrary, the irregular grain woods are more difficult to work because there
is a risk of slit.
For the finishing, this wood takes a beautiful polishing.
It's used for marquetry but also for woodcarving and cabinet making. The vapour bending
suits well for this specie.
It's a current tree from the Ivory Coast to Angola and from Sudan to Mozambic. Its
use is frequent in these countries and Europe.
The Iroko has a hight size because it reaches 50 meters and owns a cylindrical trunk.
Its colour is yellow-brown with marked dark spots. Its veins are intertwined and
irregular. Its texture is rough. Sometimes, there are some woods against the grain.
With time, it darkens and takes a beautiful copper coloured tint.
It has an exceptionnal durability and a very great robustness, even with the bad
weather. Its seasoning is simple and rapid enough. It contains an oily substance.
It can be saw and worked without difficulty but it blunts the tools because of the
presence of mineral substance.
It's used for marquetry because it's sold under the shape of veneering but it's more
particularly intended to the luxurious woodwork and for the making of wood floor
for instance, or for shipbuilding.
Bois de lièvre
0.60 to 0.75
tender to semi-hard
Mean dry weight
Mean dry weight
(Ghana and Ivory Coast)
(Zaïre et R.P. Congo)
semi-hard to hard
There are several species of wood coming from different parts of world : Northen
America, Europe and Japan.
This chapter is intended to present to you some kinds of wood used in marquetry.
Each wood will be described according to its technical qualities with a little biologic
outline. Of course, this list isn't exhaustive and will be completed in the future.