HEDGING LUMBER IDEAL FOR TOOLS
You will not find many 6-inch-wide boards of common boxwood, nor panels constructed from boxwood strips. Though its smooth, close-grained texture makes it popular for decorative veneering, especially for bandings and stringing, it is used sparingly by furniture
makers. Turners like its density and toolmakers favor it for mallet heads and chisel handles, as it is hard and does not split. It is often used for making chess pieces. The color can vary considerably and the grain can be difficult to use.
Type Temperate hardwood
Other names European boxwood
Similar species East London boxwood (B. macowani), Maracaibo boxwood (Gossypiospermum praecox) Alternatives Jelutong (Dyera costulata)
Sources Grows wild as bushes and trees across Europe
Color Yellow to light brown
Texture Fine and even
Grain Straight to wavy, but small knots common
Weight Heavy (56 lb./cu. ft.) (900 kg/cu. m)
Strength Very tough
Seasoning and stability Slow to season, and tends to split at the ends if not planked, or on the surface. Small amount of movement once dry.
Wastage Relatively high as it is available only from smalldiameter roundwood and has defects and sapwood. Range of board widths Very limited
Range of board thicknesses Very limited
Durability Durable outdoors, though it is unlikely to be used in the ground; vulnerable to insect damage indoors.
The end-grain of common boxwood is favored for printing blocks; otherwise it is used largely for decorative inserts in cabinetry.
Boxwood lumber is randomly sourced from trees and hedges that have reached maturity or need to be removed, hence its rarity. You are unlikely to find certified stock, but there is little risk to boxwood from harvesting.
AVAILABILITY AND COST
Very limited supplies. It can be expensive, and is available from specialist yards.