Myrtlewood – Characteristics, Uses, Pros and Cons

Myrtlewood is a durable and stable hardwood famous for its visual attractiveness. Its heartwood color ranges from light orange-brown to brown or olive, often with darker streaks, adding a touch of natural artistry to any finished product.

Myrtlewood comes from broadleaf evergreen hardwood trees, native to Southwestern Oregon and Northwestern California. It belongs to the laurel family and is known as Oregon Myrtle or California Bay Laurel.

Woodworkers prefer Myrtlewood because it is one of the best options in terms of durability, stability, and resistance to decay. It is widely applied to expensive outdoor furniture, musical instruments, and carving.

Myrtlewood Uses


Myrtlewood is attractive and strong, making it a good choice for furniture and cabinets. It gives very good results after finishing.

Turning and Carving

Myrtlewood is very popular for woodturning on a lathe and carving due to its workability. Woodworkers often use it to create bowls, pens, and other turned or carved items.

Music instruments

Myrtlewood, a tonal wood, is a popular choice for crafting musical instruments such as guitars and ukuleles due to its rich sound that falls between mahogany and rosewood.

Knife Handles

Myrtlewood is a good choice for knife and tool handles. Its stability and resistance to moisture can contribute to the longevity of the handle.


Myrtlewood ranges from light orange-brown to brown or olive. The heartwood often has dark streaks present, while the sapwood is lighter, ranging from light brown to medium brown. Myrtlewood’s grain is usually straight but can also be irregular or wavy.


Myrtlewood is a medium-density hardwood with a Janka hardness value of 1,270 lb (5,650 N) and an average dry weight of 40 lbs/ft3 (635 kg/m3). 

It is about twice as hard as Spanish Cedar (600 lbf (2,670 N)) and about the same as Redheart wood (1,210 lbf (5,380 N)).

Pros of Myrtlewood

Aesthetic Appeal 

Myrtlewood is prized for its attractive color variations. It often features fine, uniform texture, contributing to its visual appeal.


Myrtlewood is relatively easy to work with, making it a favored choice for woodworking projects. It responds well to both hand tools and power tools.

Stability and durability

Myrtlewood tends to be stable and durable. It is less prone to warping or cracking, making it suitable for various applications, including furniture and carvings.

Cons of Myrtlewood

Poor Insect Resistance

The most significant disadvantage of Myrtlewood is that it is not resistant to rot and insects. 


Myrtlewood may be relatively more expensive compared to some other hardwoods. The cost can be a consideration for budget-conscious projects.


Myrtlewood may not be as widely available as some other hardwoods. Limited availability affects pricing and accessibility.

How Much Is Myrtlewood Worth?

Myrtlewood is one of the most expensive wood species in America. However, The price of Myrtlewood lumber depends on quality/grade, board size, and location. Generally, the cost per board foot can range from 40 to 50 dollars.

Is Myrtlewood Good for Carvings?

Myrtlewood is preferred for carving and turning because it is easy to work with, has attractive color variations, and is finished well. Whether you’re looking to carve small decorative objects, sculptures, or larger functional pieces, Myrtlewood may be a good choice.

Is Crepe Myrtlewood Good for Anything?

Myrtlewood is not good for everything; it has low resistance to insects and rot. In my experience, this type of wood is only suitable for indoor furniture.

Is Myrtlewood Good for Firewood?

Yes, Myrtlewood is excellent for firewood. It is known to burn cleanly and produce a pleasant aroma. But as firewood, it is not as popular as other hardwoods such as beech, hickory, mahogany, oak, walnut, and maple.

Is Myrtlewood Toxic?

No widespread documentation of toxicity issues related to handling or working with common Myrtlewood exists. No serious problems have been noticed while working with Myrtlewood, but woodworkers believe that Myrtlewood can cause skin irritation and sensitivity.

Is Myrtlewood Good for Smoking?

Yes, Myrtlewood is considered a flavorful wood for smoking. Myrtlewood imparts a mild and slightly sweet flavor to the smoked food. It is an excellent choice for smoking beef, pork, chicken, and fish.