Tropical. Height 125 feet. Trunk Diameter 3 to 4 feet. Distribution: primarily from the tropical zone of Mexico, Central America and South America. There are approximately seven species in the rosewood family associated with lumber production, some found in India, Madagascar and Africa. Brazilian rosewood is considered superior to all.

Brazilian rosewood grows in the damp riverside areas of Brazil`s tropical forests, in iron rich soil. The heart of the tree is prized for its rich, exciting deep red color. Rosewood has many fine characteristics. It is hard, shock resistant, flexilble stable and strong. It is fairly easy to work, bend and glue; it machines and veneers well. It polishes to a high sheen due to its oily nature. It stands up to years of constant handling. Like many other tropical woods, it is so heavy the logs can hardly float in water. The single most desireable feature of rosewood is its exquisite color and its exotic patterning. The color ranges from deep purple black through dark chocolate red with ebony colored steaking. It has striking, wild, wavy markings, often mirror-imaged like a Rorschack blot test. Its unpredictable, irregular striped pattern makes it almost impossible to "match". This actually adds to its prestige and excitement.

Brazilian rosewood is very rare and very expensive. It had its heyday in the mid 1800`s when it was available and somewhat affordable. Today it is too expensive. Compare the prices of Brazilian rosewood with teak. In thirty years teak has not quite doubled in price. In the same thirty years rosewood has increased ten times in price! Brazilian is close to unavailable at any price, due to many factors: the lack of a good forestry program, past exploitation, a strict export embargo and the use of prime growing land for coffee plantations. The plight of rosewood, today, serves as a forerunner of what will happen to most other exotic species without careful international planning.

When it was more available, rosewood was used in fine paneling, cabinetry and furniture. It was used in marquetry and inlay and as detailed design elements in billiard cue butts, knife handles, brush backs and other fine tools and implements. Curiously it was often used in carpently tools such as spirit levels and plane handles. In furniture it was, and still is, used in table tops and cutlery cabinets and boxes. Because rosewood tolerates much constant handling, a traditional use has always been for musical instruments: percussion keys, violins and especially piano cases. Brazilian rosewood was the premier choice for the superb mid-Victorian pianos of the Old South-New Orleans and Natchez.

Redwood is actually a specie group that is made up of primarily two distinct conifers: California or coastal redwood and the giant sequoias. The giant sequoias are often referred to as ìthe sentinels of the Sierraî and are among the oldest and largest organisms in the world. These trees are protected forever and are part of our national parks forest. Coastal redwood (Sequoia sempervirens) is often referred to as California redwood and is the state tree of California. Old growth coastal redwood is found in over 98,000 acres of protected state and federal parks. These trees can reach diameters of 14 feet with trunk circumferences of 40 feet. Actually, these trees are slender for their height which can reach above 275 feet. Distribution is through the damp valleys of the Coastal Northwestís high rainfall belt which runs from Big Sur, California northward to a few miles above the Oregon border. The tallest tree in the world "The DYERVILLE GIANT" lived in the Humbolt Redwood State Park until it was toppled by a neighboring falling tree on the night of March 24, 1991. Germinating 1,000 years before Columbus, it was 1,600 years old and weighed 500 tons with a circumference of 52 feet. The giant sequoias (Sequoia gigantea) stand in scattered groves along the western middle slopes of the Sierra. While the giant sequoias do not attain the height of the old growth coastal redwoods, they do surpass them in diameter and weight. The General Sherman tree in Sequoia National Park, for example, averages 30.7 feet in diameter at its base and 27.4 feet at a point 8 feet from the ground. Its trunk weight is estimated between 1,300 and 1,400 tons! Both old growth coastal redwoods and the giant sequoias are part of our national forest treasure and most are protected forever in state and national parks. Today, most redwood for commercial use comes from new growth forests on privately owned lands. Redwood ís unique rapid growth and sound forest management practices enables these young growth forests to produce good quantities of timber. In just sixty years, these trees can reach a diameter of three feet and a height of 130 feet. These are the fastest growing trees in our country making them optimal for sustained yield forestry.

Redwood lumber is the most commercially valuable softwood. Decay and insect resistant, it has great longevity, making it one of the most reliable woods on the market. Although production of redwood occurs on private lands in California, a nationwide market exists.

Redwood is most commonly used for decking, siding, fencing, garden structures and outdoor furniture. Because of its durability it is also used for cooling towers and is a good choice for agricultural buildings and equipment. Redwood is also prized for its beauty, especially its rare redwood burl, which is manufactured into valuable veneer.

Red oak grows only in North America and is found further north than any other oak species. It ranges from Nova Scotia in Canada south to North Carolina but no further south. It is found as far west as Minnesota. It is most prevalent throughout the Allegheny Mountains of New York State and Pennsylvania. The best wood comes from the tall, straight trees that thrive in the forests of these high mountainous altitudes.

The average height of the red oak is 60 to 80 feet. The average trunk diameter is 3 to 5 feet. The overall largest red oak, recorded by the National Register of Big Trees, is found in Rochester, NY. It measures only 60 feet tall with a trunk circumference of 370 inches, but it has a crown spread of over 90 feet! Another exceptional red oak grows on the campus of Smith College in Northampton, MA. It is 90 feet tall with a trunk circumference of 14 feet. A big, slow growing tree, red oak takes 20 years to mature and lives an average of 300 years.

Although red oak lumber is produced from the Atlantic, Central and Southern states, the very best wood, identified as northern red oak, comes principally from New England. Because the northern red oak is such a slow growing tree it produces hard, dense, heavy, tough wood. It is prized for its wearability. The color of the wood ranges from nearly white cream color sapwood to a beautiful warm, pale brown heartwood, tinted with red. The close, even grain is distinguished by rays which reflect light and add to its attractiveness.

Red oak is a dream to work with. Although hard to manipulate with hand tools it is easy to work with machine tools. It will not split when nailed and holds screws forever. It finishes beautifully because of its smooth surface and appealing color.

There is something reassuring about red oak. This is partly due to its handsome grain, its warm color and its dependability. Through history, it has maintained a romantic association with constancy - it is a symbol of strength and protection. Best known of all the American hardwoods, it was the prime building material in the earliest Colonial days. It was, and is, a fine choice for furniture, domestic flooring and interior millwork.

Red oak is available as veneer, but is especially abundant in the full range of grades and sizes of lumber. In an upper medium price range, it is an excellent value. This is because it is nearly as beautiful, strong and useful as white oak but is far more available and considerably more affordable. Red oak is extremely versatile. It is appropriate for all tastes of interior finish work and all styles of furniture, from traditional to modern. It bears repeating that northern red oak is the primary hardwood flooring milled today.