Just as a chef must assemble quality ingredients before creating a signature dish, so the woodworker must pick and choose the pattern, the tools, and the wood or woods from which to create a masterpiece. Unlike the chef’s creation, which will be eaten and remembered, the finished object a woodworker creates is intended to be utilized over a long period of time. Ideally, the end result is beautiful, functional, and will stand up to the task assigned. Selecting the best wood for the project is an important part of this creation process, and the woodworker will do well to choose wisely. It is as important to have the right wood as it is to use the appropriate tool.
Monterillo is one of the many exotic hardwoods available to the woodworker.
Monterillo is a dark, durable wood that is food grade safe. It is considered both rare and exotic because the trees from which it is derived seldom grow large enough to produce lumber sized boards. This greatly limits the availability for large projects, but the wood is prized for its natural beauty and great durability. Somewhat ironically, the qualities for which it admired also provide a challenge to the woodworker. While not a wood for a novice woodworker to begin with, this rare and exotic hardwood has durability and beauty that lends itself well to any number of projects.
This is not a wood for a beginning woodworker, in part because of the relative expense of the wood itself, but also because of the properties it exhibits when being worked by hand or by machine. On the wood hardness scale, Monterillo tends to be found on the harder end. This makes it extremely durable, but difficult to work. The coloration and interesting grain, however, make it worthwhile for projects that can feature those natural qualities.
Monterillo is often found in items of jewelry such as earrings, beads, or pendants, and can be carved into exotic hair combs. Monterillo is also often used to make knife blades and pen barrels, small trinket boxes, and musical instruments.
This is a food safe wood, so it can be used for items intended for kitchen use, such as cutting boards, wooden utensils, and other items which may come in contact with food. This is an extremely important factor in choosing the wood for any of these useful projects, as not all hardwoods are safe for projects involving the kitchen.
This precious hardwood, because of the rarity, tends to be among the more expensive of woods available, and so is more likely to be found in small projects, or as an accent when objects are intended to be completed with only an oiled, or rubbed finish. One would never use Monterillo in a project intended to be painted.
When shopping for Monterillo, be aware that it may be found under other names. For example, because of the unique grain coloration which can resemble the stripes found on a tiger, Monterillo is often called Tiger Rosewood. It is occasionally also referred to as Ecuador Rosewood. Regardless of name, this is a fine wood which can add great beauty to the finished project, and is a favorite of many experienced woodworkers around the world.