Our series on woods continues this month with a two-toned wood we tend to use quite a bit, zebrawood.

How did zebrawood get its name?

Not surprisingly, the striped effect like a zebra gave birth to zebrawood’s descriptive name.

Zebra San Diego Zoo

Zebra in wild

 What color is it?

For the most part zebrawood color is characterized by a lighter beigey color combined with deeper brown stripes.  Most woodworkers cut it so that you get a the stripped effect (like a zebra), however if cut differently the stripes can appear wavy.

Zebrawood lumber

Zebrawood lumber (beige stripped with darker brown)

Where does it originate?

Like its name sake, zebrawood originates from West Africa.

African Zebrawood Tree

African zebrawood. Credit David Gill/FFI

How durable is it?

Zebrawood is known to be durable and resistant to insects.

How about allergies?

While zebrawood is notorious for a foul smell when working it, it not commonly known to cause many allergies, but on occasion some have felt eye or airway irritation when working with it.   As with any wood, extended time breathing in sawdust is inadvisable. Once finished and sealed, these allergies are unlikely to affect you.

What are its main uses?

Specialty items (like pens or other turned pieces) and veneers are popular uses for Zebrawood. Additionally, skis & boats have been known to use zebrawood in their design.

Zebrawood Pen & Pencil Set in Gunmetal

Zebrawood Pen & Pencil Set in Gunmetal

Great sources for more info on all types of woods are: