The Story of Our Woods


Can’t see the trees for the wood!

Sustainability in wood is important to YBM.  Consequently we ensure that the woods we buy are not on the endangered list but instead are grown for use. Uniquely, we seek African Exotic woods and we can show you how to best care for these woods. Poor care or no care can result in these personalised gifts being ruined.

I remember a heart shaped Maple board I was given; unfortunately it was washed and left to drip dry in its own little puddle. That caused the wood to warp and crack; my heart was broken… literally.

We can suggest a care policy for the various woods we supply. Some need no care, some can be left in water (Iroko) while some should be washed and dried! With wood some people fall in love with the grain, the colour, the durability, and some people just want the design on any type of wooden board.


Scientific name: Pterocarpus angolensis

The Kiaat or wild teak is a heavy, strong durable wood native to southern Africa (Angola, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, Zaire, Zimbabwe and Zambia.) It is often called the blood tree and the red sap is used as a dye. This deciduous tree grows to a medium to large height of around 5-13m, but can reach up to 30m! Kiaat is in high demand. The timber, often used for building and making furniture, is a great wood for carving.

We tend to use it on our circular boards as it is lighter in weight and is a three-piece board with different shading giving it a beautiful look. We suggest waxing this wood as a mineral oil can often over darken it.

Exotic African Woods | Kiatt Cutting Board | YBM: Your Best Mark

African Iroko

Scientific name: Milicia excelsa

Iroko is sometimes referred to as African teak, (although it is unrelated to the teak family). It is a large hardwood tree from the west coast of tropical Africa that can live up to 500 years. The wood colour is initially yellow but darkens to a richer brown over time.

It is a very durable wood and is used for boat-building, domestic flooring and furniture. Iroko doesn’t require regular treatment with mineral oil or wax, although being a tough wood it is difficult to work with, as it tends to blunt tools. Oiling and waxing always assists all woods.

We recommend this wooden board to the restaurant trade as the board to serve food on instead of plates. It takes a knife well and, being a tight pore wood, is both water and bacteria resistant. Restaurants, pubs and clubs often abuse their kitchen ware but Iroko can take it. We try to manufacture it as a two tone light and dark board as the engraving is enhanced.

Exotic African Woods | Iroko Cutting Board | YBM: Your Best Mark

African Mahogany

Scientific name: Khaya ivorensis 

This is the most important tree species providing African mahogany. The species can grow to be large – 30 to 35 meters tall with trunks over one metre in diameter. The species is one of the most important for timber plantations, since the trees grow quickly and produce high-quality wood.

It is used for dugout canoes and as a general beam, doorframe and shelving timber, which is termite and borer resistant. Its reddish colour makes it look great in the kitchen or home which is further enhanced with our mineral oil and wax. People love it because it is not plain brown!

Exotic African Woods | African Mahogany Cutting Board | YBM: Your Best Mark

African Rosewood

Scientific name: Millettia laurentii

African Rosewood is used whole or in veneers for piano casings and other kinds of cabinetwork and for tools, instruments, brush backs, and other articles. The oil obtained from the wood and leaves is used in fragrances and soaps.

Harder and heavier than either Brazilian or Indian Rosewood, because of its interlocking grain, it is one of the more difficult Mahogany species to bend and can blunt woodworking tools due to its hardness. There is no doubt this is too heavy for a cutting board so is best in smaller sizes. We use it as a balancing board where it shows off the pink and white lines. A heavy wood to support your better bottles!


Exotic African Woods | African Rosewood Cutting Board | YBM: Your Best Mark


Source: Wikipedia