Forget exotic dancers – if you’re a carver, a block of exotic wood can set the pulse racing.
Say you’re at a show and you spy a piece of richly grained mahogany… Or a maple burl… Or, perhaps, a rare block of pink-toned pear. Your fingers start to twitch. Your imagination leaps like a Cirque du Soleil acrobat. You think, that could be my masterpiece – and before you know it, your wallet is in your hands…
As with many other addictions, these days the internet makes it easy to get your fix. If you’re wood-obsessed, a few places to start are Rare Woods USA, Langevin & Forest, Exotic Woods and Century Mill Lumber.
Rare Woods USA was originally launched in South Africa 30 years ago and then established in Maine, USA. The company carries boards, blocks and burls from more than 150 species. You can visit their mountain-location showroom by appointment, or try to restrain yourself by ordering via phone or email (full-fledged internet shopping is to come).
Maine is right next to Quebec, so if you visit Rare Woods USA, you can easily drop in on Langevin and Forest too. And honestly – how can you resist a company that calls itself “les connaisseurs du bois”? Along with a seriously impressive stock of woods, Langevin & Forest carries an extensive collection of carving tools (along with specialist products like feet and eyes for bird carvers). And if you want to experiment with other activities, this company can provide the stock, tools and guidance to get you started on anything from marquetry to deck building.
Langevin & Forest is gradually building the English-language version of its website, and some products still come up in French. But you’ll get free shipping on orders over $100, as long as they can be shipped by Canada Post.
Finally, two southern Ontario options are Exotic Woods in Burlington and Century Mill in Stouffville. Exotic Woods serves a variety of customers, including luthiers and wood turners, but offers a broad selection of woods, plus glass eyes for bird carvers. Century Mill is a good source of domestic woods for carving, such as red alder, basswood, butternut and cherry.