The Adventures of an Exotic-Wood Buyer
Keith Stephens lives a woodworker's dream. First of all, as president of Woodworkers Source, in Phoenix, Arizona, he presides over a candy store of tools, accessories, finishes, and more than 100 exotic woods, ranging from andiroba to zebrawood. And if that isn't fun enough, he also travels a couple of times a year to remote forests throughout South America in search of prize lumber to add to his 200,000-board-foot stock.
When Keith told us he was planning a trip to the Yaguarete Forest in eastern Paraguay last fall, we were intrigued at the prospect of learning more about the exotic-wood business. And to give you (and us) a flavor of what things look like down in tropical Paraguay, we dispatched photographer Marcial Barni to document Keith's trek. As you'll see, getting exotic woods from South American forests to your workshop is a complex undertaking that requires a great deal of dedication and stamina.
Download a PDF of this article to read about his adventure from issue 125 of WOOD magazine.