Get this. You can pay over $100 per foot for some types of wood. Or pay a whopping $370 per pound for wood. Check out these 10 most expensive wood options for your interior design. Incredible, rare but outrageously expensive.
Check out the ten most expensive wood options below.
Table of Contents
1. Bocote ($32.99/foot)
- This wood is used in a number of ways due to its incredible grain and attractive appearance. It can be used to create not only gorgeous furniture, but also musical instruments, gunstocks, boats, and small turned objects.
- While it is strong enough to use as flooring, Bubinga is generally used in smaller amounts due to the high cost of the wood. It does make striking paneling for a wall, however.
- The grain is so striking and stunning that anything from bookends to bowls made of Bocate will be beautiful. Although it is a very expensive wood, it is highly sought after because of its beauty and ability to turn even the most mundane object into a work of art.
- It’s a very strong wood that will last for a very long time.
- There generally aren’t any problems when gluing Bocate, even though there are a lot of natural oils in the wood, and this usually presents a problem.
- The pump of the Bocate fruit can actually be used to make glue.
- The color of the wood will darken as the wood ages, so if you are not comfortable with variation in your wood as time goes by, you will want to choose another type of wood.
- If there is a lot of silica present in the wood, it will dull the cutters used.
- When being worked, this wood smells slightly of dill pickles, which may be a turn-off to some people.
- It can be difficult to find pieces that have a straight and plain grain, as most pieces are highly patterned and interlocked.
- Bocote is susceptible to insects, depending on the species of the wood that is used.
- Bocote is a very heavy wood even though it is not much stronger than hard maple, so it is generally used for its beauty and not for its strength.
- This wood very commonly causes a cross reaction in some people who already have a sensitivity to some woods.
2. Bubinga ($18.99/foot)
- There is a wide range of color variation available. This means that you can easily get lighter straw-colored wood as well as darker wood that appears to be more reddish brown.
- This wood can be used in a number of ways, partly because the tree will grow so large and can be used to produce large slabs of wood for tabletops and other projects. It’s also used for turnings, veneer, and fine furniture.
- Doors made of Bubinga will never crack or warp and will last for decades if cared for properly.
- With streaks in the wood as well as different grain features, Bubinga stands out from other types of wood and creates striking pieces.
- Bubinga is fairly easy to work with if you have experience with woodworking in the past.
- This is a very durable wood that can stand up to insects, including marine borers and termites. Although the durability can vary from species to species, it’s generally a very strong and reliable wood.
- Some of the interlocking grain on Bubinga will cause tearout while the wood is being planed or cut, which can be a very costly problem to have, due to the high cost of the wood.
- High in natural oils and very dense, it can be difficult to glue Bubinga.
- Bubinga is similar to Bucate because any species that has silica present will quickly dull cutters while the wood is being worked.
- While there is no scent when Bubinga is dry, the wet lumber generally has a very unpleasant scent.
- Some people will suffer from skin lesions or irritation when working with this type of wood.
- While not nearly as expensive as other types of wood, any prominent grain features will automatically increase the price of the wood.
3. Dalbergia ($14-16/foot)
- Dalbergia has been used in place of Brazilian Rosewood for acoustic guitars for decades, but can also be used in a number of other applications as well. These include veneer and fine furniture.
- Some homeowners are opting for Dalbergia floors or accents in their flooring due to the beauty of the grain as well as how durable the wood itself is.
- There is a lot of color variation in Dalbergia, also known as Rosewood, which allows buyers to choose whether they want a light golden-brown color or something darker and purplish with streaks. No matter what kind they choose, the wood will darken as it ages to a deeper brown.
- This is a very durable wood which stands up well to termites without sustaining much damage.
- This is another type of wood that can dull or damage cutting surfaces due to deposits in it, making it important to keep an eye on the cutting edge of your blades to ensure that you are getting a sharp cut.
- Dalbergia has a beautiful and light rose scent when the wood is being worked, although this will disappear after the wood is dried and finished.
- The density and gorgeous interlocking grain of Dalbergia means that it can be very difficult to work with this wood without damaging it.
- The wood can cause some skin irritation while it is being worked. Many people prefer to wear long sleeves and even gloves when working with this wood to minimize the chance of skin irritation.
- Repeated exposure to this dust can trigger respiratory problems such as asthma in many people.
- The resins from this wood can bleed out onto other surfaces when the wood is being finished, so the seal coats have to be applied very carefully.
- Due to exploitation of the wood, it is getting harder and harder to find this wood, especially large pieces, because the trees are not able to grow as large as they once did.
4. Purple Wood / Purpleheart ($12/foot)
Source: WoodWorker Source
- While it has a dull color when freshly cut, this wood will dry out to a deep eggplant color that many people find to be very beautiful. As it ages, it will continue to change colors and will eventually end up a darker brown color with only small hints of purple in it. To keep this change from occurring, owners can use a finish that will inhibit UV light when finishing the wood.
- This wood has a number of uses, such as heavy construction, flooring, boatbuilding, furniture, and even accent pieces of fine furniture.
- The wood provides both beauty and function due to how strong it is. It is also water resistant, which is why it is commonly used in boatbuilding. Its durability makes it a great, if expensive, flooring option for the right homeowner.
- This is a very durable wood that can stand up to most insects, except the marine borer. It also resists decay, which many of the more expensive woods are not able to do.
- This wood is not considered threatened.
- There are a number of different grain options, making Purpleheart ideal for a number of applications and giving it an attractive appearance.
- It takes practice to know how to work with Purpleheart without trouble, as dull tools will heat the wood, as will using higher speeds on cutters. When the wood is heated it will release a resin that is very gummy and can easily clog or damage the tools being used.
- While some Purpleheart does not smell at all, other varieties have a very pungent scent that is not pleasant.
- The grain can be interlocked and depending on its orientation, can cause tearout while it is being planed and cut.
- This wood has been reported to be a sensitizer and can cause problems for people with asthma and other breathing difficulties. It has also been shown to cause skin irritation when it is being worked and can even cause nausea if the wood dust is inhaled.
- No matter how careful you are when cutting Purpleheart, you will probably damage your blades and cutters to some extent.
5. Lignum Vitae ($17/lb or $90/foot)
- Because of the high oil content that is naturally found in this wood, it can be polished, resulting in a very fine luster finish that can be created quite easily.
- This wood is a great option for outdoor use because it is so durable, tough, and resistant to attacks by insects.
- Available in many different hues, Lignum Vitae can appear as any color from a light olive shade to darker greens and even almost black, depending on the tree itself and how the wood was worked, finished, and aged. Exposure to light will cause the wood to darken even more.
- There is an enjoyable light fragrance to this wood when it is being worked.
- This wood is commonly used for making strong mallet heads, tool handles, bearings, and turned objects.
- Lignum Vitae is incredibly durable even when used in contact with the ground, making it ideal for certain outdoor applications and a great option for a hardwood flooring.
- One of the best ways to enjoy this wood, its natural grain, and the high oil content, is to turn it on a lathe. This means that the wood will not have to be glued, which has proven to be very tricky to do well.
- This wood has a light density that causes it to be very difficult to work well and easily. The wood will actually skip on jointer cutters, so woodworkers need to be willing to complete multiple light passes.
- While the interlocking grain is very beautiful, it makes this kind of wood incredibly difficult to work with.
- Lignum Vitae will quickly dull all blades and cutters.
- Now endangered, it is incredibly difficult to buy real Lignum Vitae, and the cost of the wood is only going up.
- As this is the heaviest wood in the world and is usually sold by the pound instead of by the foot, it is very expensive.
- The dust produced during working will irritate the skin, so precautions must be taken.
- While the high oil content in the wood makes for a beautiful finish, it also makes it very difficult to glue the joints of this wood. This limits its applications and means that the woodworker needs to be very skilled in order to successfully work with it and produce the desired results.
6. Pink Ivory ($7-8/foot)
- Although there are a lot of color variations for this type of wood, the most valuable and expensive ones are a vibrant and bright pink shade. It is also possible to buy Pink Ivory that is a brownish pink or a deep red, depending on your preference and application.
- Not generally used where weathering is a concern, Pink Ivory is thought to be very durable and able to easily stand up to decay.
- The even grain in this wood makes it a beautiful choice for a lot of different applications, including knife handles, chessmen, billiard cues, and veneers. Many people use it in the interior of their homes by inlaying fine furniture with Pink Ivory, as it makes a great accent when used correctly.
- There are no known health risks to working with Pink Ivory beyond the normal irritation from breathing in too much wood dust.
- While the color changes of other types of wood are understood and can be stopped with the right finish, Pink Ivory can easily fade or dull and it is difficult to stop this process, as most people do not fully understand it.
- While the odor will disappear when the wood ages, during the woodworking process it has a very unpleasant and strong odor.
- Even though the tree is relatively common throughout parts of South Africa, it is becoming harder and harder to find straight trees without any defects, which is only driving up the cost of this wood.
- Cutting this wood will quickly dull the edges on blades and most people find it frustrating and difficult to work with the wood while it’s in board format.
- Planing will easily cause tearout, so most people use Pink Ivory in turning applications because it is much easier to work with and will finish very well.
7. Bloodwood ($11.99/foot)
- It’s hard to beat Bloodwood for its bright red color that is so easily recognizable.
- While the color will shift and change over time, using a protective coating on top and being wary of UV damage will keep the wood looking its best.
- This is a very durable wood that can stand up to insect damage as well as some water damage, making it ideal for a number of uses, including flooring.
- This wood is also commonly used for knife handles, musical instruments, trim, inlays, and fine furniture.
- Bloodwood is very durable and able to last for a very long time, as long as it is properly cared for.
- While some people prefer to use Bloodwood for a pop of color in their home, it makes a truly stunning flooring option when installed correctly and finished.
- The wood tends to be very brittle and can easily splinter during working.
- While Bloodwood is fairly easy to buy, finding wood that is a deep red color and not a lighter reddish brown can be very difficult. The higher quality and redder wood will, of course, be much more expensive.
- The dust from this wood causes a number of health problems, including nausea, increased thirst, and skin irritation. It’s important to take protective measures when working with Bloodwood.
8. Ebony ($120/foot)
- There is very little variation in this wood, which produces final products that are uniform and gorgeous in appearance.
- Ebony is ideal for small items such as pool cues, carvings, piano keys, and other small parts for musical instruments. It’s also great for cabinet pulls, carved door knobs, and inlays in floors.
- It is very difficult for ebony to rot, and this wood is also very resistant to insect attacks. Due to its durability, it can be used in a number of applications. It is also one of the strongest woods available.
- Ebony generally has a very even texture with a fine grain that many people prefer in their final wooden products.
- The oils naturally present in the wood create a fine and lustrous finish on the final product.
- Ebony can easily be steam bent, which allows for more applications and other ways to work the wood.
- While its high density is great for making very strong items, it does make it very difficult to work with. Like other dense woods, it will quickly dull cutting blades and tearout is very common on pieces of wood that are interlocked with grain.
- Although valued for how stiff and strong the wood is, this does make it a little unstable when the seasons change.
- There is an unpleasant odor to ebony when it is being worked, but this disappears when the piece is finished.
- These trees are generally very small, which contributes to the high cost of the wood.
- Some ebony causes problems for people asthma, as well as eye and skin irritation, so it’s important to wear a protective face mask and gloves when planing or sanding ebony.
- Gluing ebony tends to be quite difficult because of all of the natural oils found in the wood.
9. Sandalwood ($370/lb)
- The oil from sandalwood is extracted because of its beautiful smell, but even the wood itself will not lose its aroma for decades, making it popular because of its incredible scent.
- While it’s very common for the oil to be used in perfume as a fixative, it also is used in the cosmetic industry and to prepare and make soap.
- This is a very durable hardwood that can be used in more applications than simply for perfume and cosmetic purposes. As more people realize that it can be used in woodworking as well, its popularity will continue to grow.
- The timber has a fine and straight grain that is lovely for use in tables, floors, and chairs. More and more people are beginning to use sandalwood as a hardwood flooring option due to its durability, and while it is expensive, it’s becoming easier to find fine furniture made from this wood.
- Sandalwood an also be used to make beads and fine jewelry.
- Sandalwood trees are very slow growing and have been over-harvested due to their smell and oil, leaving a shortage that is driving up prices.
- There is an illegal trade growing in Australia around the illegal harvest of sandalwood.
- For the wood to be able to be carved, it has to be free from termite damage and other imperfections, which will account for less than 10% of most sandalwood grown. This makes it difficult to find wood that can be used for woodworking and of course drives up the price even more.
10. African Blackwood ($31/foot)
- While there are a few variations in its color, this wood is usually almost completely black.
- The fine pores in African blackwood generally do not require any filling.
- The straight grain, while difficult to see, makes cutting this wood fairly easy.
- The heartwood is very durable in regards to decay and can easily stand up to water damage better than other types of wood can.
- African blackwood is ideal for turning and will hold and show intricate details very well.
- While there is a distinctive scent to this wood when it is being worked, it is not nearly as unpleasant as the smell of some other woods.
- Perfect for turned objects, African blackwood is commonly used for tool handles, carvings, and musical instruments such as oboes, guitars, and clarinets. It can also be used for interior knobs in a kitchen or bathroom or inlaid in cabinets for detail and impact.
- Considered the hardest wood in the world, African blackwood is also very dense, and items made from this wood will last for a very long time without sustaining much damage.
- The lighter sapwood creates a beautiful contrast with the black of the wood when it is included in turned items.
- African blackwood is also relatively heat resistant and can be used in small pipes.
- The contrast of this wood against other wood colors and grains makes it perfect for embellishments, and since it is so strong and durable it can be finely carved and will show amazing detail.
- With very little variation in the color and almost no visible grain, the wood can appear very dark and may not appeal to all people.
- Unfortunately, African blackwood is easily damaged by insects. The heartwood is susceptible, as is the sapwood. Borers and powder-post beetles will commonly attack and damage this wood.
- The durability of this wood makes it very strong, but also incredibly difficult to work with. African blackwood will quickly dull cutters and is incredibly hard to work with hand tools, meaning that home woodworkers who do not have large professional tools will have a very difficult time working with this kind of wood.
- The tree grows very small and is often twisted and bent, making it difficult to acquire wider boards for woodworking.
- While not endangered yet, this tree is close to qualifying in the future.
- It is very rare to have a reaction to the dust of this wood while working it, but people who suffer from asthma do need to take care when breathing in the dust.
Home Stratosphere is an award-winning home and garden online publication that’s a result of our talented researchers and writers who work directly with hundreds of professional interior designers, furniture designers, landscape designers and architects from around the world to create helpful, informative, entertaining and inspiring articles and design galleries.