Whether you are into woodworking or not, there’s a chance that you’ve come across lacewood, either in lumber form or after having been made into an object. Lacewood has a striking appearance that can only be described as having a lacelike pattern with light-colored gray flecks against the background grain, which varies from brown or tan to orange to pink. But although lacewood is a sought-after woodworking lumber, the name is more a term than a name for an actual wood species.
How much do you know about lacewood? Is it the new accent trend in modern woodworking? Let’s find out what our local seasoned lumber store in Houston can tell us!
Lacewood’s place in woodworking
In the past and today, lacewood appeals to woodworkers who want to use the wood for carving as well as for accent purposes—namely, they want the medullary ray look of lacewood after the logs have been quarter-sawed. Lacewood is used as wood for things like furniture, cabinetry, bowls, decorative boxes, turnings, inlays, paneling and carving. This wood is even used to make and accent musical instruments, and to dress up wooden box tops and plywood panels to add character. However, it is important to note that because of lacewood’s susceptibility to rot, decay and insects, you do not want to use it in outdoor projects or applications.
Where lacewood comes from
A number of different wood species have been labeled “lacewood.” Though the true origin of lacewood is difficult to determine, it remains a popular choice for woodworking projects thanks to its variety of uses, with many being decorative. For the most part, there are two main species of wood that are termed lacewood:
- The smaller of the species: South American lacewood is smaller in diameter, and ranges in color from salmon to cream to a grayish red. With this species, the lace pattern actually starts out as a small pebble, only developing into larger flakes when perpendicular cuts are made into the growth rings. Because of the varying size of the log being cut and range of colors, you’ll rarely get large patterns of similar lace feature.
- The larger of the species: Australian lacewood, also known as silky oak, is the larger of the two species. It has a creamy color all around, its lace character more consistent than that of the smaller species, and has an oily feel to it, almost teak-like. But not all lacewood logs can be cut down. To be approved for harvest, the logs must follow strict Australian government regulations. Additionally, Australian silky oak is desirable because of its lustrous heartwood coloration and the fact that it’s not as permeable as other decorative wood species.
All told, lacewood is a beautiful, extremely stable wood that tends not to shrink much after proper kiln drying. Visit Houston Hardwoods Inc., your local lumber store in Houston, for a wide selection of wood species suitable for any woodworking project. We look forward to helping you get your next project underway!
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