The name game

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As wood becomes more expensive, we have seen a steady stream of "new" options entering the market.

These woods aren't really new; they’ve been available for quite some time. But they are often not the best woods for cabinets and furniture. They might not be as colorful or as highly figured as some of the woods we have become accustomed to.

My favorite example is what is called ambrosia maple. This designation has always meant that your maple was not going to be that nice clear, almost white wood that everyone wants, especially when blonde finishes are in vogue.

Ambrosia means that the wood is laced with dark streaks and inclusions that you would normally cull out and use for paint-grade work. But as the nice clean maple becomes more and more expensive, the less expensive ambrosia becomes more attractive. You just have to convince yourself (and your customers) that the wood is desirable because it has so much character. The best way to do that is to give it a name that makes it sound wonderful.

Ambrosia! How could anyone not like that? It is so much more appealing than “dark streaked maple with lots of inclusions.”

D.D.

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