January 27, 2023

One rainy afternoon, as I looked at an old wooden wall clock in my apartment, I silently wondered what kind of wood this clock was made of.

Was it oak, pine, or some exotic species that an appraiser such as myself could not understand? It was with this thought in mind that I fell down the rabbit hole one day while researching the type of wood used in clocks.

So, I looked up the types of wood used for wall clocks: hickory, zebra wood, rosewood, oak, olive, maple, and mango.

Let’s take a closer look at each of these woods.

Hickory

Hickory (Juglans nigra) is a deciduous tree of the walnut family. Black walnut is an economically important wood. Its dark brown color and workability make it an ideal wood for clockmaking. The bark is usually grayish-black with deep grooves and narrow ridges with a distinctive diamond-shaped pattern.

Black walnut is one of the most common trees in the eastern United States, especially in the Northeast, due to a plague that affected other species such as the elm and wheat moth infestations.

Introduced to Europe in 1629, black walnut is valued for its true black color and heartwood quartered. It is heavy, strong, and impact-resistant, but brittle and easy to work. It can be kiln dried and retains its shape after storage, making it a more attractive wood for furniture making and clock making.

Interesting Facts about Black Walnut Walnut has long been used for sticks, furniture, flooring, oars, and coffins.

How tall is the tallest black walnut?

The Wolwe Park in Sint-Pietro Wolwe, Brussels (Belgium), is home to the tallest black walnut tree in Europe. It is 3.50 meters around and 33.60 meters tall (laser measurement) and was planted around 1850.

Which is the largest black walnut tree?

The Castle Park in Seletiq, Slovakia, is home to the largest walnut tree in Europe. It is 6.30 meters around and 25 meters high and is estimated to be 300 years old.

I liked the walnut so much that I made a wall clock out of it.

African Zebrawood

What is Zebrawood?

Zebrawood is characterized by its striped appearance reminiscent of a zebra.

It was first mentioned on a customs declaration in 1773 when 180 pieces were imported from the British colony on the Mosquito Coast (now the Republic of Honduras and Nicaragua), and was widely used in British furniture manufacturing from 1810 to 1860.

Today it is imported from Central Africa (Gabon, Cameroon, Congo) and its high quality is used in the furniture industry.

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