Vic Barr has worked with more than 90 species of hardwood. They vary in strength and durability. Each has a unique figure, color and grain pattern, even before the influence of weather, insects, disease and decay.
The most popular North American woods are walnut, figured maples, cherry, ash and red oak, followed by regional woods such as redwood from the West Coast or mesquite from Texas.
Exotic woods are imported. Many are more colorful than domestic species, with finished works that may be red, purple, yellow, black or variegated. Their grain patterns are spectacular and their durability unsurpassed, putting them among Vic’s favorites.
Some of the most beautiful exotics are also endangered. Vic buys these species only from reputable importers, with a record of supplying wood only from plantations committed to sustainable harvesting. In addition, he plans the use of every piece of wood—down to the smallest scrap—so that there is little scrap but shavings and sawdust.
Matanda uses only kiln-dried wood, with a moisture content of between 6 and 8 percent. Kiln-drying prevents the wood from shrinking and cracking as an object ages.