Exploring Indonesian Wood Varieties for Artistic Carving

Exploring Indonesian Wood Varieties for Artistic Carving

At Metawood Studio, we primarily use hardwoods for our carved creations, such as teak, mahogany, cempaka (Michelia champaca), and more. Here's an overview of various wood types and their qualities commonly utilized in carving:

  • Teak Wood :
    Indonesian Teak Wood for Artistic Carving
    Teak trees flourish in different Indonesian regions. Although not overly hard, teak wood is easy to carve. With elegant fibers in shades of brown and golden-yellow, its fine texture makes it perfect for intricate carvings and crafting furniture. Renowned for its exceptional quality, teak remains our top choice for many carving projects.
  • Mahogany Wood:
    Indonesian Mahogany Wood for Artistic Carving

    Abundant in Java, Indonesia, mahogany wood boasts moderate hardness, simplifying the crafting process. With reddish-brown hues, a smooth texture, and dense pores, mahogany is often chosen for carved furniture.
  • Indian Rosewood (Sonokeling Wood):
    Indonesian Sonokeling Wood (Indian Rosewood) for Artistic Carving
    Found in Central and East Java, Indian rosewood, also known as sonokeling wood, is harder than teak. Its fibers showcase shades of brown and black, highlighted with lines of black and shades of yellow. Notably, Indian rosewood's dense fibers, appealing colors, textures, and low expansion make it ideal for intricately carved furniture.
  • Sandalwood (Cendana):
    Handcarved Ganesha Wood Sculpture, Made by sandalwood
    Known for its unique fragrance, sandalwood is a cherished souvenir, particularly in Bali. Although slow-growing, sandalwood is a hard wood with fine fibers, yielding exquisite carvings.
  • Ebony Wood :
    Indonesian Ebony Wood for Artistic Carving
    Also called black wood, ebony thrives in Maluku, Kalimantan, and Sulawesi. Its ebony color with broad white lines in its grain is similar in texture and pattern to Indian rosewood (Sonokeling).
  • Samanea Saman (Trembesi Wood):
    Samanea Saman Wood for Artistic Carving
    Trembesi wood showcases a stunning blend of colors reminiscent of dark teakwood. What makes it fascinating is the presence of dark black lines or fibers within the wood. Although softer than some hardwoods, trembesi wood offers good workability and is commonly used for hand-carved artistic pieces.
  • Michelia Champaca (Cempaka Wood):
    Indonesian Champaca Wood for Artistic Carving
    Michelia champaca, also known as cempaka wood, displays hues ranging from yellow to reddish-brown at its core. Its texture is slightly coarse with predominantly straight grains, creating an alluring appearance. While not overly sturdy, Michelia champaca's durability matches that of mahogany and is slightly less than teak. It's frequently chosen for our signature Bali-style carvings, as it holds special significance within Balinese culture.

Material Selection and Processing:

  1. Selecting quality materials involves examining the surface condition of the wood, such as certain types of wood boards. Choose wood that is free from defects like heart cracks, knots, and has reached the appropriate level of dryness (naturally dried or kiln-dried). This ensures minimal shrinkage during the creation process, which can impact the finishing stage.

  2. To prevent disappointment due to wood-boring insect attacks on your crafted products, it's advisable to pre-dry solid wood types. This is achieved using a wood oven for an appropriate duration, accompanied by treatments to eliminate wood-boring larvae and eggs within the wood's core.

Wood Classification/Grade:

  1. Classifying good quality Class 1 solid wood for carving involves selecting wood that is not excessively hard, possesses a fine wood grain texture, and exhibits a brown to yellowish-brown color. It should have minimal shrinkage and low susceptibility to cracking, with a smooth texture. This wood category includes the well-known Teak wood, a prime choice for carving furniture and furnishings.
  2. Class 2 wood is moderately hard and easy to work with, boasting a reddish-brown hue and a dense, fine texture with compact pores. It's commonly used for carved furniture production. Mahogany falls into this category, suitable for intricately carved furniture items.
  3. Class 3 wood is harder than Teak, featuring brownish-purple wood grain with intermittent dark lines and shades of brownish-yellow. This wood type, like Indian Rosewood (Sonokeling), is suitable for smaller interior decorative elements or petite souvenirs due to its low expansion and contraction rates. It's important to note that while larger items made from this wood may warp, smaller carvings excel. This wood is primarily found in Java, Indonesia. In addition to the mentioned wood types, other alternatives can also be used for woodcrafting as long as their characteristics closely match those described.


Back to blog
1 of 4