What's the difference between leopardwood and lacewood?
The July 2008 issue of WOOD® magazine shows leopardwood on page 65 and lacewood on page 44. They look similar to me, and I've seen each labeled both ways in hardwood stores. If they are different species, how do I tell them apart?
—Roy Galbreath, Diamond, Ill.
Leopardwood and lacewood are indeed two distinct species, Roy, though people (even hardwood dealers) often confuse them with one another. Use these characteristics to tell the two apart: Both leopardwood, above left, and lacewood, above right, display flecks caused by rays that bisect the growth rings. But leopardwood's flecks tend to be splashy and round (like a leopard's spots), where lacewood's appear wispy, coming to a point on both ends. With a pinkish-brown to chocolate-brown color range, leopardwood weighs in as the denser and darker of the two woods. Lacewood has a light-pink to light-brown color and a sheen that makes it appear to glow.