Where to buy hardwoods and exotic woods locally

While it's affordable to use pine and PG Bison SupaWood for a variety of projects, there comes a time when you need a hardwood or exotic wood to craft a piece that will become a vintage or heritage piece. A project that requires a special wood for a special task.


There are suppliers of hardwoods and exotic woods in South Africa (see below), but bear in mind that these woods don't come cheap. As our timber resources dwindle, so does the availability and an increased cost for those woods that are no longer harvested in large quantities.

Hardwoods and exotic timbers include:
African Blackwood & Mahogany - Beech - Cherry - American Poplar - American Walnut - Ash - Balau - Beech - Brazilian Mahogany - Burmese Teak - Camphor Wood - Cedar - Cypress - European Pink Beech - European White Beech - Garapa - Hickory - Imbuia - Iroko - Japanese Cedar - Jarrah - Jelutong - Kiaat - Mahogany - Maple - Meranti - Merbau - Oak - Oregon Pine - Pin Oak - Plantation Teak - Poplar - Red Oak - Redwood - Rhodesian Teak - Rosewood - Saligna - Sapele Mahogany - Silky Oak - Teak - White Oak - Yellowwood - Zebrano

Hickory heartwood is brown to reddish-brown in colour. The grain is straight but an important feature of Hickory is its exceptional combination of high strength. It is stiff and hard. Because of its weight it is fairly hard on saws and cutting tools but can be finished well.

Iroko takes on a light golden colour when exposed to air. This wood works fairly well with most tools, although with some dulling effect on their cutting edges. An excellent finish can be obtained if the grain is filled. It takes nails and screws well, and can be glued satisfactorily.

This entertainment unit is jarrah wood. Jarrah sapwood is narrow and pale in colour and the heartwood is light red darkening to red-brown. The grain is usually straight, but may be wavy or interlocked. Jarrah is difficult to work with hand tools and fairly hard to machine. The timber glues satisfactorily, and holds screws well, but is hard to nail. It takes a high polish.

Kiaat lounge set from Patio Warehouse. Kiaat is fairly soft and light in weight. Kiaat is easy to saw and work, the wood turns well, it has good nailing and screwing properties and takes a good polish. Kiaat is an attractive timber, suitable for panelling, furniture and flooring.


Contemporary table design in poplar by Eric Slayton. Poplar is a light wood that is usually straight grained and woolly to the touch. While lightweight to work with, this wood tends to bind on the saw, and produces a woolly surface. Can be glued satisfactorily, and takes polish and varnish reasonably well.

Teak has an oily feel, and a strong odour reminiscent of old leather when freshly cut, but after drying much of the odour is lost, but the wood retains its oily feel. Teak darkens in colour on exposure; it has a fairly straight grain, sometimes irregular, and a coarse, uneven texture. Teak can be worked with moderate ease. It takes nails and screws fairly well, and glues satisfactorily.


Oak dining room credenza with zebrano doors by Jonathon Baring. Zebrano has distinctive, narrow streaks that are dark brown to almost black. Zebrano is hard and heavy but saws fairly easily. It glues well and can be polished to a fine finish.