What Is Zebrawood?

Zebrawood is one of the more familiar species of exotic hardwoods. Because of a population reduction, it's listed by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature as a vulnerable species. Zebrawood has been a source of hardwood for a multitude of projects and purposes, many of which remain in use.


Grain of zebrawood.

Zebrawood is relatively hard. On the Janka scale -- a scale that rates wood for density -- zebrawood ranks 1,575. For comparison, red oak ranks 1,290 on the Janka scale. Characterized by creamy dark-brown and gold contrasting stripes, zebrawood stands out in the world of exotic hardwoods. Because of its bold stripes, zebrawood has been used in furniture, turnings, inlays, marquetry, archery bows, flooring and decorative veneer. Durable zebrawood has been used for tool handles, spindles and bowels. Some high-end automobile manufacturers preferred zebrawood for dashboards in exclusive models. Maintenance for existing zebrawood products typically includes applications of natural tung or linseed oil.


Zebrawood is workable with most woodworking equipment but can dull blades. Use carbide-tipped bits, knives and blades when working with zebrawood. Zebrawood has an unpleasant odor comparable to a barnyard when freshly cut. The use and availability of zebrawood has severely declined. Alternatives with similar characteristics include bocote, teak or cocobolo.