Snakewood: Uses, Properties, Pros & Cons

Snakewood Uses, Properties, Advantages, and Disadvantages

What is Snakewood?

Snakewood (Brosimum guianense), also known as Letterwood or Amourette, is an exotic wood you may never have imagined before.

The tree is 65-80 feet tall, 6-12 inches trunk diameter, distributed in the Coastal regions of northeast South America.

The pattern looks like snakeskin, reddish-brown with patches that tend to be black that look pretty transparent. Some properties of Snakewood make this wood good for many things and add a pretty high sale value.

This is a rare wood, and there may be little chance of getting it. Moreover, the wood price is in the very expensive range.

The properties of Snakewood

This is a very exotic wood with a distinctive pattern like snakeskin. Snakewood is reddish-brown with patches that tend to be black, has straight grains, a smooth flat texture, and has a high natural luster.

You might think that Snakewood is great for some decoration items in the living room; it looks like it will look gorgeous.

Snakewood is also very durable in its resistance to rot. You can rely on this Snakewood for small and long-term wood items. It is also included in the list of the hardest and densest wood in the world.

Snakewood advantages and disadvantages


Durable: Although it may rarely be used in applications requiring durability, Snakewood is reported to be very durable in its resistance to rot, as well as resistance to insect attack.

The wood may rarely be used in large quantities and for large wood items. However, it doesn’t make low durability of this wood. You might be able to make some simple-sized wooden objects from this wood, such as inlays or violin bows.

It seems that it’s very good in the durability of this wood. You don’t have to worry that it will be damaged soon and replace it shortly.

Exotic: Maybe you think about the specialty of this wood. Our answer is because it looks exotic and looks different from many other kinds of wood. You can see unique patterns such as snakeskin in the form of patches that tend to be black. In addition to its unique appearance, this wood also has incredible properties, although its rare availability.

Maybe you are interested in having some snakewood decoration items to decorate your home to make it look beautiful. We think that the best common use for Snakewood is a decoration that can be placed in the living room or family room.

Dense and hard: Not only looks exotic and very interesting, but this wood is also among the hardest and densest in the world.

This is a significant advantage for wood because it can be useful for many things. Although we think those properties make it more difficult to work with. Snakewood also competes with lignum vitae for the heaviest wood in the world.

Overall maybe this is not an advantage, because there are reasons that make it should be included in the disadvantage. But we take the positive side of these properties and put them in the pros because it’s exotic wood.


Expensive: As an exotic wood, you can’t get Snakewood at a low or moderate price. The price of this wood is in the very expensive range and maybe even more costly for the appearance of a very similar pattern to snakeskin.

Our sources also say that this wood can be the most expensive of all exotics per-board foot price. We are not surprised by this statement.

Because it has not only an exotic appearance but also the availability of Snakewood is rare. However, it may not be rarer than some of the other exotics.

Difficult to work: Overall, this wood is difficult to work with hand tools and machines. Because of its high density, and it has a blunt effect on the cutter, which seems to be due to its high silica content.

Snakewood also breaks easily and tends to be quite brittle when worked. That seems to be a pretty serious problem in the perfection of use.

We strongly recommend that you use a quality, very sharp cutter, as well as other quality tools. Also, use machines to make the process easier and faster because hand tools are not efficient.

Rare: This is a rare species, but you don’t have to worry about that, Because Snakewood is not listed on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species or CITES Appendices.

This means that there are no regulations, conservation, or reports of endangered species due to population decline.

Maybe this wood is rare but still within reasonable limits, and this is good news than some of the other exotics that are already in danger of extinction. I still recommend using Snakewood in moderation.

Do not let this wood lose a lot of population in a short time, or it’s threatened with extinction.

Snakewood for inlay

Maybe you want to make a beautiful snakewood inlay to get something with a unique look. You can create inlays from several exotics, including inlays inside.

It looks like this wood is very good for it, although it can be difficult to work with. This wood also has good resistance and can make your decorations last longer.

If you can make it, it seems you need to try using this wood as an inlay for some wall hangings, tables, and some furniture to make the room more beautiful. Don’t forget to choose a good inlay design.

Snakewood for veneer

This is a very good wood to use as veneer, although we don’t think it’s the most appropriate use. The exotic appearance of Snakewood can coat some furniture or walls and make the interior of your home more beautiful.

While it’s hard to work with and it can be difficult to get snakewood veneers on sale, but you can still make your own.

We hope you can enjoy the process with proper planning. It seems that it’s not an easy job because it must be worked carefully. Snakewood’s rarity makes it more valuable, and care must be taken when working.

Snakewood for violin bows

If you need new violin bows and want to make them again, it seems like choosing Snakewood is the right choice. This is the common wood used for it.

Snakewood Known as one of the hardest woods, this wood seems to have the qualities to last and not break and have other resilience.

Besides having the quality of its properties, Snakewood also has a beautiful appearance with patches that tend to be black. Not only are they great for violin bows, but they will also provide high artistic value and may cost more if they are for sale.

Snakewood for tool handles

Another common use of Snakewood is as tool handles. It seems like this wood would be great for that, as it’s known to be one of the densest in the world.

It will make the object attached to it even more solid. It’s not too large size may also be the reason Snakewood is commonly used for this.

Although it is not often used for tool handles, such as Cherry, Walnut, Mahogany, or other woods, it’s still a good one. The appearance of Snakewood may add artistic value to this wood, and that can make it even more valuable.

Snakewood for small turned objects

The last common use for Snakewood is as small turned objects, and this is a small and rare wood. That seems to be the reason you can’t create large turned objects and only small ones.

This is an excellent choice for exotic woods to keep their population still good and keep it valuable. You can make small decorative items to store in the living room, wall decoration, or something else.