Barbados Wood Worker: Cy Hutchinson - Barbados ebony (Albizia lebbeck) logs that I was lucky enough to get
Barbados ebony (Albizia lebbeck) logs that I was lucky enough to get.
The vast majority of wood I use is locally salvaged as waste from tree felling or tree trimming operations.
This wood is normally destined for the landfill but I grab it wherever possible.
The large logs still work out to be quite expensive even without having to pay for them initially as a hiab or crane needs to be hired to transport them.
After this, I pay for some of them to be 'slabbed up' into planks depending on what plans I have for the wood.
I enjoy using as wide a variety of wood as possible and I am always on the lookout for different woods or other materials that I may not have tried as yet.
Below is a selection of just some of the woods that I use, this list will be updated and increased periodically.

Anodyne (Thespesia populnea)
Very attractive timber with useful sapwood. Colours include browns to pinks with attractive dark line between sapwood and heartwood. Medium size coastal tree in Barbados.

Bajan ebony (Albizia lebbeck)
Not a true ebony but a very attractive timber with colours ranging from light brown to black. Very common medium to large tree in Barbados often considered a 'bush tree'. Also called Womans' Tongue locally as the papery straw coloured pods make quite a noise when the wind blows through the tree.

Casuarina (Casuarina equisetifolia)
Very hard wood, sapwood pinkish with heartwood consisting of reds and browns. Introduced to Barbados in 1861, the first tree planted by Prince Albert at Farley Hill. Now extremely common tree found throughout the island.

Cordia (Cordia sebestena)
Beautiful timber with useful cream coloured sapwood contrasting vividly with the heartwood which consists of browns and black in often irregular patterns. Fairly common tree in Barbados more often seen on the coast than inland.

Dunk ((Ziziphus mauritiana))
Another "bush tree" that is very common in Barbados although seldom attaining a trunk size that would yield usable lumber. Lustrous wood that ranges from tan to deep brown in colour. Bears an edible fruit.

Fustic (Maclura tinctoria)
Golden yellow to brown, very hard wood that was used in the past for making the felloes of cart wheels. The wood also produces a yellowish dye that was used in the past for khaki. Not a common tree in Barbados.

Greenheart (Ocotea rodiaei)
Yellow-green to dark brown or black. This extremely dense timber comes from South America and is widely used in Barbados for general construction where a long lasting lumber is required. The texture is fine and freshly planed wood is lustrous and cold to the touch. I have been fortunate enough to salvage old growth lumber from demolished buildings which is far superior to the plantation grown lumber available today.

Guava (Psidium guajava)
Greyish brown fine grained bland wood. Tough wood that is used for tool handles, walking sticks and turnery. Commonly cultivated in Barbados for its fruit.

Lignum Vitae (Guaiacum officinale)
Very rich golden toned yellows and browns when first worked. However, these will slowly (or rapidly depending on amount of U.V. light) change into a dark greenish brown or almost black except for the yellow sapwood which will remain unchanged. Because of this, I always try to include sapwood wherever possible. One of the hardest and heaviest commercial timbers that because of its natural oiliness and self lubricating properties has been used in the past for such things as: bearings for ships' propellers, sheaves of ships' pulleys, bushes for mill wheels, mortar and pestles and even truncheons for English policemen to name a few. Trees becoming increasingly uncommon in Barbados due to indiscriminate cutting and the very slow growing nature of this beautiful medium size tree. One of my favorite woods.

Mahogany (Swietenia mahagoni)
Pink when first cut, the colour matures quickly to orange tones with other pieces a reddish brown. Barbados mahogany is the same tree as the famous Cuban mahogany with some sources citing Barbados mahogany as superior to its Cuban counterpart. It was introduced to Barbados in 1763 and today is a very common large tree throughout the island.

Pitch pine (Pinus palustris)
Creamy-pink sapwood with yellowish red to reddish brown heartwood. Pitch pine is very resinous and is the heaviest commercial softwood. I get my pitch pine from old buildings when they are to be, or are being demolished. Again, this wood would normally be destined for the landfill so I am very happy to save it from such a fate.

Saman (Samanea saman)
White to cream coloured sapwood with heartwood light to dark brown in bands making an attractive wood. Quite a soft open grained wood that can be 'wooly' when worked. Large trees with an umbrella-shaped canopy that are becoming increasingly common in Barbados due to their use by landscapers.

Sea grape (Coccoloba uvifera)
Pinkish red to purple brown, hard, fine grained wood. Common medium size tree mainly seen in coastal locations in Barbados.

Tamarind (Tamarindus indica)
Predominately cream white to straw coloured. Large trees have a reddish brown extremely hard core in the center of the log. Tamarind spalts readily. Fairly common large tree that was introduced into Barbados around 1650.

Wenge (Millettia laurentii)
Heartwood dark brown with close spaced black veining. An African wood that I was first introduced to whilst I was in England studying.