The Exotic Wood Toychest – New Warehouse

I am sure there are many people out there who have heard we moved our exotic wood warehouse and offices to a new larger facility. We are very excited and proud of the growth of West Penn Hardwoods and thought we’d share some pictures of the warehouse to give you an idea of how much exotic wood we actually have in inventory!

West Penn Hardwoods

Front Entrance - West Penn Hardwoods

 The new facility is approximately 85,000 square feet which has given us more room for the exotic woods you love most, like cocobolo, ebony, olivewood, african blackwood and more. When you enter the warehouse we ask you check in at the offices…we do this because the warehouse is so big we don’t want to lose anyone!! Our offices are where the staff process the orders, check shipping rates, and prepare the documents for shipping out all our mail orders. In the first warehouse room you will find recent imports awaiting unpacking and inventory counting, racks of turning stock to fill outgoing orders and our famous bubinga slabs on catalever racks. This is the area where we package the outgoing orders and the trucking companies can back up to the dock for loading each afternoon.

First room - West Penn Hardwoods

First room - West Penn Hardwoods

When you enter the second warehouse you will be amazed by the height of the racks and the sheer quantity of inventory we have at West Penn Hardwoods.  We purchase turning stock in container loads so we use this room as overflow storage as well as some filling of outgoing orders.

Second Warehouse

Second Warehouse

The third area you will see is the domestic lumber room. Here we have racks along the walls that hold all species of domestic hardwoods, such as oak, maple, cherry and walnut.  We also specialize in figured domestic lumber like spalted maple and curly cherry…definitely something for everyone!

DOmestic Lumber Room

DOmestic Lumber Room

At the end of the domestic lumber area is our workshop. We are very excited to  have a full working workshop that features a 52″ planer for those big bubinga boards! We will soon be adding a Baker resaw to complete our woodworking ensemble.

Workshop

Workshop

The last part of the warehouse is the Exotic Lumber room. Here you will find lumber from all around the world, including Sapele, Purpleheart, Bloodwood, and African Mahogany to mention a few.

If you are ever in the neighborhood of Olean, New York which is on Route 86 in the Southern Tier of Western New York (South of Buffalo) please make a sidetrip to visit our new warehouse.  But be sure to give yourself plenty of time as we find people have a hard time leaving all that great wood!

Happy Holidays from the Staff of West Penn Hardwoods

Staff of West Penn Hardwoods

Staff of West Penn Hardwoods

Pretty In Pink Ivory – F

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Today I wanted to talk about a beautiful, unique  exotic wood called Pink Ivory. While it is not real ivory, it is truly pink and comes from Mozanbique, Zimbabwe and South Africa. The botanical name is “Berchemia zeyheri”. We have been importing this wood for approximately 10 years.  It has become one of our most popular exotic woods due to the unique coloring and fine grain pattern which make it highly suitable for ornamental turnery. 

The grain is straight to irregular, while the texture is very fine. Pink Ivory sapwood is almost white, and the pink heartwood, after long exposure, tends to become orange-colored. With proper finishing with a UV finish you can prolong the color.  Pink Ivory seasons very slowly and needs care to prevent checking. The timber is reported to be very strong and stiff. It is difficult to work with hand tools, but is an excellent wood for turnery and carving. It takes a high polish.

When we attend the Vendor Trade Show at the AAW National Symposium  each year, this is one of the woods that people seek out and it sells very quickly.  At the show we tend to sell a lot of pen blanks and bottle stopper blanks, which are not so pricy and are a great way for the beginning turner to give Pink Ivory a try.  At that show we also sell many large 3x3x12 and 4x4x12 blocks to turners that make higher end projects like vases and threaded boxes. 

We have seen many unique things turned out of this very beautiful wood. For example, one of the most skilled and highly respected craftmen in the woodturning industry, Malcolm Zander, has done some amazing things with Pink Ivory.  The technique he is best known for is filigree or lace work as shown below:

Malcolm Zander - Lace Mouse
Malcolm Zander – “Lace Mouse”

 The delicate work shown here is really astonishing, if you ever have a chance to see his work in person you will be amazed!

Malcolm Zander - Elizabethan Lace
Malcolm Zander – “Elizabethan Lace”

In this piece he has also used fresh water pearls as an accent which is just beautiful!

I welcome pictures of pieces that have been made of Pink Ivory! If you are a woodturner and would like to be featured in our blog, please let me know and we can arrange an interview.