J. W's Innovative Woodworker: Tetraclinis Articulata


I started this column because of my desire to share my woodworking experiences and to teach and help people become better woodworkers. I have more than 20 years of experience working with wood and have worked more than 350 different species of wood. I normally keep more than 125 species in stock.

I have studied hundreds of woodworking magazine articles and more than 230 books on woodworking by as many as 190 authors. In addition I have studied numerous books and magazine articles on art, business, marketing, advertising and webmastering. I consult with both individuals and companies {World Tree Technologies, Impact Group New York, & B. K. Brown Designs} on the best wood, procedures and finishing techniques to use in the production of their wooden projects or products and how to advertise their products.

The Wood Of The Week Is Thuya Burl
It is Pronounced Too-Yuh

It is a burl, which is an outgrowth on the root of a tree. Botanical name is Tetraclinis articulata. It is in the classification of softwood {Conifer} it grows in Morocco and Algeria. When worked {sawed, planed, sanded etc.} it gives off a sweet but also a sour smell combined. It is usually light golden brown to light red orange brown with wild grain and numerous knots making a mottled or bird's eye figure. The wood is difficult to work because of its brittle nature. Extreme care is required during the kiln drying process. To eliminate this you can either air dry (requiring an extended amount of time depending upon the thickness of the wood) or I recommend stabilizing {treating} it using PEG 1000 {polyethylene glycol} before making any project from it. This will decrease the waiting time to do a project.

The price with shipping is approximately $60.00 to $80.00 per board foot but it is extremely difficult to obtain a source. The source that I have located to obtain this wood is

Tip Of The Week

To produce exact fitting pieces, use the cut and fit method. To do this take each piece, line it up with the joining piece and mark approximately with a pencil where the cut needs to be, then cut the piece {sometimes takes as many as 3 or 4 cuts} until it fits precisely.

Quote Or Proverb Of The Week

Some look at things that are, and ask why.
I dream of things that never were and ask why not?
George Bernard Shaw

Back to Tips & Techniques