High quality timber with character
Wood is beautiful. We have a deep appreciation for the distinct characteristics of every piece of lumber that we handle. Our appreciation is reflected in the craftsmanship and attention that goes into each and every one of our products.
Every piece of lumber that leaves our shop has been hand selected for its inherent beauty, quality, and longevity. Timber is a product of nature, and as such, no two pieces are alike. Explore some of the species we use below.Tips on Wood Care
Responsible Renewable Resources
Dog Might primarily works with local mills that are based in the Mid-West. We also order from one or two online suppliers for rare and special order species.
We have had long conversations with each of these mills and are confident that we are working with some of the best in the business. They have assured us that all of their lumber comes from local, sustainable sources that they have worked with for years, sometimes decades.
They also follow the guidelines put forth by the CITES (Convention on International Trade of Endangered Species) and IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) organizations that govern sustainability.
Apart from personally visiting the tree farms that our mills source from, we feel confident that they are sourcing the wood in sustainable and ethical ways.
Our Core Woods
Lumber that we regularly stock for most projects
As you may have discerned from the Latin name already, White Ash is arguably the American wood. Alternatively known as American Ash, it is the go-to wood for baseball bats. You don't get much more American than that. Due to its preference for moderate to humid forests, this species is natively found throughout eastern and central North America. Reliably regular and straight-grained, White Ash has a finish that is predictable and pleasing. Compared to our similarly colored Curly Birch, the grain of White Ash is more open. White Ash's middle of the road Janka hardness rating (1320) makes it perfect for baseball bats and easy to work. Our Viking Lumberjack predecessors typically utilized ash wood for knife handles, rakes, stoppers, and their incredibly important bows.
This tree, of course, is named after its fruit, the black cherry. Wonderfully, the appearance of the wood also reflects its name, exhibiting a range of pinkish and reddish tones over the course of its life. Richer red tones become more apparent as it ages or upon light exposure. While easy to work and machine because of its straight grain, finishing can prove more difficult. Cherry is especially popular for cabinetry today, but Viking Lumberjacks love to use the wood for spoons.
Compared to other species within the Acer genus, Acer saccharum, also known as Hard Maple, is the most dense (sitting at about 1450 on the Janka scale). Aside from the very important maple syrup that makes up a good portion of a Viking Lumberjack's diet, this tree produces a wood desirable for its workability, general ease of finishing, and lovely, classic appearance. Maple was used for furniture and cask spigots by our Viking predecessors. Today, outside of our shop, the wood is commonly seen in sports - basketball courts, baseball bats, bowling alleys, and even archery bows. The flexibility of maple makes for great bows, although the Viking Lumberjacks of the past and archers of the present still prefer yew and ash.
Speaking of Black Walnut, this species may lack the flash of woods like Bubinga, but in its simplicity it remains a classic that is highly prized. The heartwood is rich with creamy, purplish or greyish browns, ranging from dark to tan, and made all the more striking when it meets the equally creamy, very light brown to white sapwood. Native to the Midwest and eastern North America, Black Walnut is highly sought after for its appearance and how easily it is worked. The softest wood we offer, Black Walnut rates 1010 on the Janka hardness scale. Our Viking Lumberjack predecessors may have used this wood for higher end products. We do know, though, that walnuts were frequently used in dishes.
This incredibly vibrant species initially presents reddish orange tones that deepen to even richer tones over time. Some pieces of Padauk almost look like tiger stripes, with a reddish orange dominating the grain and lashes of brownish black spaced throughout. As with many of our premium woods, Padauk produces natural oils even after being cut, making it harder to glue or finish. These natural oils do contribute, however, to a lovely natural luster and smooth finish. Padauk can be found in central and west Africa, so our Viking Lumberjack predecessors wouldn't have had access to this wood, either. At a Janka hardness rating of 1970, though, it would have made a rather menacing knife handle, in our professional opinion.
While Shedua hails from the same genus as Bubinga, they are notably different in color, luster, and hardness. Shedua's grain is full of sharply defined stripes, coming in creamy chocolate browns, blackish browns, and yellowish browns. While the natural luster of Shedua is duller than Bubinga's, it finishes just as nicely. The Janka hardness rating for Shedua is 1750 but it remains relatively easy to work. Our Viking Lumberjack predecessors still preferred their wood a little softer when it came to shields - so that it had some give - but we think they still would have been fond of some Benge ornamentation for shields or ships.
Found in Bolivia and Brazil, this is not a true rosewood. True rosewoods fall under the Dalbergia genus and the most popular, Brazilian Rosewood, is considered endangered. Many other true rosewoods have also been over-harvested. Machaerium scleroxylon is a wonderful alternative with a very similar appearance - the tree is from a separate genus, but is still within the legume family. Bolivian Rosewood is also known as Pau Ferro or Santos Rosewood. This species secretes a large amount of natural oils, making it extremely soft and smooth even prior to finishing. Much like Black Walnut, pieces capturing where the heartwood meets the sapwood are exquisite due to their high contrast. The heartwood contains vibrant, reddish browns lashed with curves of black, while the narrow sapwood is a pale beige to white. We are thoroughly convinced our Viking Lumberjack predecessors would have wanted this wood for special, ceremonial instruments.
Some pieces of this species could arguably be described as a rainbow; the grain of Chechen can contain reds (some with purplish tones),oranges, yellows, stripes of darker brown, and even the occasional greenish or yellowish brown. Pattern-wise, the grain is often straight but may also be flamed or curled. Almost up there with Bubinga, Chechen rates 2250 on the Janka hardness scale, an astounding balance of beauty and strength. Viking Lumberjack Michael Konas hopes the great mead hall in the sky is made of Chechen, but we're not sure our eternally-at-peace predecessors are familiar with the Central and South American wood...
If you desire a truly chocolate wood, Wenge probably comes the closest. The grain resembles tightly interlaced pieces of milk and dark chocolate. Dangerously sharp when freshly cut and dashingly sharp-looking when finished, Wenge is a popular wood for those looking for something more sinister. Wenge is arguably the hardest wood to work in the shop due to its tendency to splinter and its inherent sharpness. Today, it is most commonly used for flooring (very dramatic),high-end canes, and musical instruments. For the latter, the hardness and density of Wenge provide fantastic reverberation while maintaining its tensile strength. These same qualities lend Wenge to being well-suited for bows and arrows. Bonus: those arrows may splinter in your enemy, which will further splinter, and ultimately fester and turn septic underneath. Truly, the most sinister wood.
Our Speciality Woods
Lumber that is subject to availability and is not regularly stocked
This gorgeous, premium wood displays a variety of colors and patterns within the grain. The heartwood is striking: pinks transition smoothly into reds, streaks of violet and black cut in, and altogether can produce a holographic appearance when moved under light. The grain can come in nearly any pattern you may see in another wood - straight and even, flamed, pommele -and presents beautifully across them all. Like many of our premium woods, gluing and final protective finishes can prove more difficult due to the wood's abundant natural oils. Bubinga has a Janka scale rating of 2410, putting it above woods such as Hickory (1820) and Santos Mahogany (2200). Adventure Chests made of Bubinga are noticeably heavier than our other woods, so we figure our Viking Lumberjack predecessors would have preferred this wood for furniture and other decorative items. Sanding out imperfections may take a bit longer than other woods - certainly longer than the soft Black Walnut -but it is not especially difficult to work.
Leopardwood, of course, is named for its distinctive grain pattern. This appearance is due to its large, densely packed medullary rays and can vary from small, lace-like spots to larger, irregular spots. At 2150 on the Janka scale, it's not terribly easy to work with and requires some attention when being sawn in order to properly reveal the most desirable pattern possible. While it is categorically a lacewood, Leopardwood is so distinct from other lacewoods that it is easy to separate (the others, not so much). This wood is native to Brazil, so our Viking Lumberjack predecessors certainly did not have access to it. Regardless, it would have made for good decoration on shields, we think.
Typically, African Mahogany has a somewhat coarse texture with straight grain containing various brown tones and is easy to work and finish. Not unlike the holographic appearance that can occur with Bubinga, African Mahogany can be so densely packed when growing as a tree that its resulting lumber will produce an optical phenomenon that, in gemstones, is called a cat's eye effect.
Dominated by soft to bright yellows, Canarywood is aptly named. Stripes of darker, reddish to purplish browns can occur, sometimes in a more wild, flame-like pattern than the regular, straight-grained yellows, which only heightens this exotic wood's dramatic appearance. Like Chechen, select pieces may be described as a rainbow. One of its more unusual uses is in speakers or entertainment systems, as it possesses excellent acoustical properties (another splendid reason for having a bird in its name). This species is popular in boatbuilding, so we believe our Viking Lumberjack predecessors would have loved to build a longship out of Canarywood.
Does it get much better than wood whose natural color is vibrant, bright, and unusual? The initial softer, duller greyish purple will develop into a much deeper shade of purple with age. As with cherry, time and light exposure will continue to darken the wood; unlike cherry, you may want to shield your Purpleheart from the sun so that it remains a healthy, vibrant purple. The grain is straight to wavy, but because of its particularly sticky natural oils, Purpleheart can be difficult to machine and can dull tools. There is no doubt in our minds that our Viking Lumberjack predecessors would have desired to use Purpleheart as decoration throughout homes, ships, and weapons.
Even the smallest pieces of Bocote are easy to pick out among other woods; the dramatic black stripes against the vibrant yellow brown are unmistakable. This distinct appearance is made all the more distinguishable with its unusual grain. The grain of Bocote is often wavy, developing into eyes - mind you, not knots, so its workability is unaffected by its unique appearance. At a Janka hardness rating of 2010, it would not have been ideal for shields, but we doubt our Viking Lumberjack predecessors could have resisted turning this species into some knife handles. That being said, had they had access to these Central American trees, they may have been more interested in its fruits... The fruit of the Bocote tree has several different names, including snotty gobbles and clammy cherries.
Hailing from South America, Canxan, also known as Nargusta, varies in color from a light to medium brown with a golden cast. Occasionally, dark reddish brown streaks highlight the heartwood. Canxan has a beautiful natural luster with a straight, uniform texture and grain pattern. It can be difficult on our axes but it glues and finished extremely well. Due to it's high natural luster, Canxan works beautifully on sculpted gear.
Planted throughout the tropics for their fruit, Spalted Tamarind is known for it's striking visual appearance. Spalting is very common in the sapwood which is sharply demarcated from the rarely imported heartwood. Older Tamarind trees can become quite large, but wide boards are rare as the trunks tend to become hollow. Spalted Tamarind is soft and often features natural occlusions combined with sharp, striking dark lines and creamy color variations.
Pau Rosa is one of only a handful of woods that have the potential of being nearly rainbow-colored. Pau Rosa is a very beautiful tropical wood. The wood has a nice natural luster. Colors can vary from warm chocolate brown to a red or orange (like you would see in Padauk),or even a mix of yellows and purples, depending on the region of growth. It is a very dense wood (2940 on the Janka scale),with wavy or interlocked moderately coarse grains. Drying the wood is a slow, burdenous process, as it has a tendency to crack while drying. Due to its very limited supply, Pau Rosa is not very well-known in the US. It has excellent hues and tones, though is generally overlooked and under-appreciated.
Our Ultra Rare Woods
Lumber that is very difficult to obtain and is rarely stocked.
It'd be reasonable to think Redheart would be in the same genus as Purpleheart, but that is not the case. Much like Purpleheart, keeping it out of the sunshine will help it retain its vibrant color. The grain is generally straight but may also be figured, with stripes of varying tones of bright pink and red, as well as some deeper reddish browns intermingled. Compared to Padauk, the reds in Redheart are much truer to hue - they are deep, rich, and without any orange tones. Redheart is smooth to the touch and ranks 1210 on the Janka hardness scale. While we believe it would make an imposing shield, our Viking Lumberjack predecessors may have likely disagreed, as they preferred much softer woods for their shields. Fir (660) and poplar (540) are some examples, while historical records mention wood such as linden (410),otherwise known as basswood. The flexibility of these woods prevented splitting - absolutely a key part of their success in combat - and helpfully absorbed the brunt of the impact.
Katalox is amongst the strongest and stiffest woods available worldwide and can be challenging to work on account of it's high density. Boasting a dark chocolate to purplish palette it is often used as a substitute for ebony. It carries a substantial amount of oil and can be troublesome to mill when interlocking grain is present. Dimensional Katalox boards are very expensive and smaller blanks are generally more available. We tend to offer a very limited amount of items in Katalox and will occasionally order it for custom projects.
Considered the original ebony, African Blackwood was imported and used in Ancient Egypt thousands of years ago. Often completely black with little or no discernible grain, this stunning species is difficult to work with and has an extreme blunting effect on machine tools. African Blackwood is very expensive, grows slowly, and is on par with true ebonies such as Gaboon Ebony. It is nearly impossible to obtain dimensional African Blackwood. Our applications are limited to small turning blanks for dice or other small items.