Snakewood (piratinera guianensis)

Snakewood timber, derived from the piratinera guianensis tree, features a rich reddish-brown colour with dark, intricate streaks resembling a snake’s skin. Its grain is fine and uniform, contributing to its smooth texture and enhancing its visual appeal. In boxmaking, we choose woods for their decorative appeal rather than their strength.


  1. Color/Appearance: Reddish brown colour with striking dark streaks.
  2. Grain/Texture: The grain is fine and uniform, lending a smooth texture to the wood’s surface. Intricate grain patterns add depth and dimension to finished pieces, enhancing their visual appeal.
  3. Odor: Typically has minimal to no odour, allowing its natural beauty to shine without distracting scents. Making it suitable for indoor furniture and decorative items.
  4. Sustainability: Considered a rare and exotic wood due to its slow growth rate and limited availability. Sustainable harvesting practices are essential to ensure its long-term viability as a valuable natural resource.
  5. Common Uses: Finds applications in decorative woodworking projects such as furniture accents, musical instruments, and ornamental crafts. Its unique appearance and durability make it a sought-after material for adding visual interest to various applications.
  6. Alternative Names: Known by alternative names such as letterwood or Amourette, reflecting its origins and distinctive characteristics.
  7. Countries of Origin: The trees are native to the dense forests of South America, particularly in regions such as Guyana, Suriname, and Brazil.
  8. Box/Furniture Making: Frequently used in furniture making for its durability and decorative qualities. Its rich color and intricate grain patterns add a touch of elegance to furniture pieces, making them stand out in any setting.

Wood Alternatives Based on Colour

  1. Bloodwood: With its deep, vibrant red hue, bloodwood offers a bold alternative to snakewood, adding warmth and richness to furniture projects.
  2. Bocote: Featuring a blend of dark and light tones, bocote shares similarities with snakewood’s aesthetic appeal, providing depth and visual interest to woodworking creations.
  3. Ziricote: Known for its swirling grain and warm brown hues, ziricote presents a softer alternative to snakewood, imbuing projects with natural beauty and sophistication.


Snakewood timber stands out for its rich colour, fine grain, and durability, making it a preferred choice for furniture projects. Its unique appearance and versatility in decorative applications make snakewood a favourite among woodworking enthusiasts.

More information

Find more information about the tree species piratinera guianensis or more uses of snakewood timber.

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