Olive (European) Hardwood

Olive (European)

European Olive wood, botanically known as Olea europaea, is a highly sought after timber. The heartwood of European Olive is typically a blend of tan, pale brown, and yellowish-brown, with streaks of black, grey, or brown. The sapwood is distinctly different from the heartwood, and has a gold or creamy-yellow hue, often with stripes. The grain of European Olive is shallowly interlocked and has a fine and even texture. The annual rings are clearly visible, and the timber may also display slight figuring on tangential surfaces. Due to the stumpy and gnarled nature of the tree, European Olive is not commonly available in large sections. This wood is a by-product of the olive-oil industry.

European Olive is a very versatile timber and can be used for a variety of purposes. It is ideal for turnery, boxes, tools, and much more. European Olive has a unique and attractive appearance, making it a great choice for decorative pieces. The wood species is also known for its durability and strength, making it an excellent choice for a range of applications.

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Material Type:

Also Called:
Olivier (French)

Durability Notes:
Olive (European) wood is moderately durable

The drying and seasoning of Olive (European) is dependant on a number of factors; the speed in which it is processed after felling and logging, the method of drying and the specific kilns or location (if air dried). Generally the care taken by those processing the wood will have an impact on its drying and seasoning. As an overview; Olive (European) - dries very slowly and is liable to check and warp. Please note that all wood is liable to move when in service plus there can be dimensional change. The extent of this will depend on; the stability of the species itself, the conditions it is exposed to, the coating, decoration and protection. You will find more information about the suitability of this wood, for any proposed application, by using our interactive system and the filters shown.

Olive is hard, strong and heavy. The wood has good wearing properties and resistance to abrasion. Due to its interlocked grain and twisty nature; it does not respond well when working with hand tools and it has a blunting effect on tools. Olive does, however, plane mortice and turn well. Due to its natural waxy surface it polishes to an excellent finish.

Typical Uses:
furniture making, firewood, carving, turning, flooring, paneling, boatbuilding, veneer.

Moisture Content:
Guide - 10-18% for KD (+/- 2%)

Commonly asked questions about European Olive Wood

Is European Olive a hardwood or a softwood? European Olive is a hardwood. It is the same for; is European Olive hardwood or softwood? - European Olive is a hardwood.

Most groups/families of species share the same characteristics but this normally relates to their life as plants. Individual species do not always share the same characteristics as their relatives, in terms of the wood. Many factors influence how we use the wood and what we use it for, including where it grows, how it is forested, how it seasons/dries, etc. The answers to the following common questions, therefore relate to this particular species/wood and not the Olive family as a whole. Even more specific – our answers relate to the wood (as we know it) in its form as a useable resource.

What colour is European Olive? European Olive can be described as brown, light brown, yellow/brown

Is European Olive good for outdoor use? or is European Olive good for exterior use? European Olive is most suited for internal/interior use. European Olive should not be used as an exterior/external timber (without treatment).

Whether the wood is naturally durable or not we would still recommend that it is decorated and/or coated with a suitable product to provide protection and/or maintain its appearance. This even applies when using the wood internally as, even subtle, changes in temperature or humidity will affect the wood. This will depend on the application/purpose of the wood and the user’s desired appearance. We also recommend that a recoating, care and maintenance programme is adhered to, for the life of an exterior wood. Wood cannot rot if it is kept dry – coatings and decoration can provide this protection. All of that said there are many durable timbers that are often left to weather naturally and will last for many years untreated/coated – movement and visual changes will occur but this is sometimes the desired effect. All wood is hygroscopic (it 'wants' to be in tune with its environment) it will therefore take on water from moisture in the air (or when directly exposed to or submerged in water) and ‘release it’ when dry or exposed to heat. This, inevitably, results in movement and dimensional change. For more about moisture in wood please click here - Moisture in wood

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