Snakewood Hardwood


Snakewood is an exotic hardwood, with a unique and beautiful appearance. It is also known by its botanical name Brosimum guianense (Moraceae). The heartwood of Snakewood is dark red to reddish-brown, and has irregular black markings or vertical black stripes, which can appear alone or in juxtaposition with speckles. The very thick sapwood is yellowish-white and has an irregular border with the heartwood. The grain of Snakewood is moderately fine to fine, uniform and straight, with a medium to high gloss. Its unique patterning, resembling snakeskin or leopard-like markings, is what gives it its name.

Snakewood is an incredibly versatile timber, and can be used in many different applications. It is a popular choice for musical instruments, violin bows, jewellery and much more. If you can source it from sustainable and legal sources, you can use it in some truly creative ways.

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Also Called:
Letter Wood, Amourette, Letterhout, Gateado, Burokoro, Palo De Oro, Cacique Carey, Leopardwood, Speckled Wood, Lechero

Durability Notes:
Snakewood wood is a durable timber.

The drying and seasoning of Snakewood 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; Snakewood - Drying can be challenging, with some warping and impact on the grade and quality of the wood. Snakewood exhibits medium movement in use. 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.

Snakewood is extremely hard and heavy. It is extremely strong in all categories. Due to its hardness it is very challenging to work with and has a severe blunting on tools. Gluing can be challenging due to the resin content. Snakewood finishes well.

Typical Uses:
Furniture, Cabinetry, Flooring, Musical Instruments, Decorative Artwork.

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

Commonly asked questions about Snakewood

Is Snakewood a hardwood or a softwood? Snakewood is a hardwood. It is the same for; is Snakewood hardwood or softwood? - Snakewood 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 Snakewood 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 Snakewood? Snakewood can be described as brown, dark brown, dark red

Is Snakewood good for outdoor use? or is Snakewood good for exterior use? Snakewood is most suited for exterior/external use. Snakewood can 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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