Tropical Hardwoods

Poll - May 22, 2012

If you can believe it, when I first started woodworking, I didn’t really like the look of wood. I enjoyed the process of building things but I never wanted to keep anything I built. I would routinely give away bookcases, armoires, and tables to whatever friends or family wanted them. You see, I grew up in a house that had more “country” influence than one might expect in Trenton, NJ. For some reason my parents acted like we lived in rural Pennsylvania (where we went camping every weekend), and watching my mom clean the house while listening to her favorite George Jones record was a common occurrence. Another unfortunate side effect of this country love was cheap stained pine and oak furniture. As most kids do, I simply saw anything my parents were into as “old”….things to be avoided at all costs. So when I was old enough to fill my own home with furniture, I opted for cold and clean world of black metal and glass. The more sterile the better.

So once I began woodworking, I found myself with a bit of a conflict of interest. But there was one thing that completely changed my perspective on wood: exotic hardwoods. It was really all thanks to David Marks from Woodworks. He would routinely use exotic hardwoods on the show and I was fascinated by the stunning array of colors and grain patterns provided by Mother Nature. I began to use these woods in various projects and just like that, my furniture began to find a permanent home in my own house. Since then, I have since grown to appreciate even the mundane “country-style” species my parents were so fond of. Ironically, my mom now has a taste for Greene & Greene, something I can completely get behind. So with questions of environmental responsibility and stewardship aside, there will always be a soft place in my heart for exotic hardwoods. What say you?

This poll was created by Tom Iovino of

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