Olive wood- Characteristics, Uses, Pros and Cons

Olive wood is highly prized for its hardness, straight grain, and unique and attractive appearance. Wood has a uniform grain pattern with warm color ranging from creamy yellows to darker golden-brown.

Olive wood is native to Europe and eastern Africa. It is a medium-sized evergreen tree. Olive trees have been cultivated for their fruit, olives, and versatile lumber. The Olive boards can be exceptionally small as the trees can grow to a smaller size.

Olive wood is naturally rot and moisture-resistant, so the wood is commonly used to craft outdoor and indoor furniture projects and to make decorative pieces.

Characteristics of Olive Wood

Scientific name Olea spp. (Olea europaea, O. capensis)
Tree Size 20-50 ft (6-15 m) tall, 2-5 ft (.5-1.5 m) trunk diameter
Average Dried Weight62 lbs/ft3 (990 kg/m3)
Janka Hardness2,700 lbf (12,010 N)
Crushing Strength11,180 lbf/in2 (77.1 MPa)


Generally, The color of the heartwood of olive wood ranges from yellowish-brown to dark golden or dark orange-brown. It also often has dark streaks, which add to its unique appeal, and the sapwood is usually pale yellow.

Olive wood has straight or interlocking grain patterns. Like most hardwoods, the wood color tends to deepen with age when exposed to direct sunlight.

Uses of Olive wood

The natural properties and attractive appearance of Olive wood make it versatile and is used for a wide variety of projects. Here are some common uses for olive wood:


People love using olive wood for both inside and outside furniture because it’s not only durable but also incredibly attractive. You’ll often find olive wood used to make tables, chairs, cabinets, cabinets, and more.


Olive wood is frequently used for crafting intricate carvings, sculptures, and decorative pieces due to its stunning grain patterns and excellent finishing properties. After finishing, it gives excellent results.


When it comes to wooden flooring, olive wood is an excellent choice for sustainable flooring. It is one of the hardest wood species, which means that it is much less likely to dent or scratch than many other types of hardwoods. 

That’s why many people opt for olive wood, as it is a durable and long-lasting flooring that can handle the daily hustle and bustle of life without losing its charm.

Knife and Tool’s Handle

The olive wood has a very nice finish and is also very strong to easily withstand shocks. Hence it is an ideal wood for making Knives and Tool handles.

Is Olive Wood Good for Cutting Boards?

Yes, Olive wood is an excellent choice for cutting boards. Its durability, hardness, and natural oils make it well-suited for excellent cutting boards. The beautiful grain pattern of olive wood adds an aesthetic appeal to the cutting board.

Olive Wood Advantages

Natural Beauty and Unique Patterns

Olive wood has an attractive yellowish-brown color and a fine, even texture with a straight grain that adds to the appeal of any piece of furniture.

Durability and Longevity

Being a strong and dense hardwood, Olive wood is highly durable and stable, So it is the most preferred choice among hardwoods used for furniture. 

Resistance to Moisture and Decay

The density of olive wood is high enough that moisture cannot penetrate the wood, and the wood does not swell or warp. This characteristic makes olive wood an excellent choice for kitchenware or outdoor projects, as it can withstand water and extreme weather conditions.

Eco-Friendly and Sustainable

Olive wood is an eco-friendly choice, as it comes from well-managed olive forests. There is a sufficient population of olive trees, so it is not listed in the CITES Appendices or on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.

Olive Wood Disadvantages

Susceptible to Insect Attack

Olive wood is durable and strong, but being in contact with the soil for a long time, the wood is highly susceptible to insect attacks. Therefore Olive wood is not ideal for gardens, decks, and fence projects.

Is Olive Wood a Hardwood?

Yes, olive wood is considered hardwood. Most hardwood is wood that comes from deciduous trees, which are trees that shed their leaves annually. Olive trees are evergreen trees, but due to their dense, durable, and strong qualities, they still fall under the category of hardwoods.

Olive wood has a Janka hardness value of 2,700 lbf (12,010 N) and a dry weight of 62 lbs/ft3 (990 kg/m3). Its density is twice that of white oak.

Here are the hardness values of some popular wood species.

Wood speciesJanka Hardness
White Oak1,350 lbf (5,990 N)
Hard maple1,450 lbf (6,450 N)
African padauk1,970 lbf (8,760 N)
Santos Mahogany2,400 lbf (10,680 N)
Brazilian Cherry (Jatoba)2,690 lbf (11,950 N)
Olive wood2,700 lbf (12,010 N)
Cumaru (Brazilian Teak)3,330 lbf (14,800 N)
Snakewood3,800 lbf (16,900 N)

Is Olive Wood Expensive?

Yes, olive is an expensive hardwood. Olive trees are small and grow slowly and may take decades to reach a size suitable for harvesting. This slow growth contributes to limited supply and high prices.

Typically Olive lumber can cost anywhere from $15 to $25 per board foot. The price of any Olive wood depends on a number of factors, such as the region from which it is sourced, the lumber size and grade, and its demand in the market.


Is Olive Wood Good for Outdoor Uses?

Olive wood is not ideal for outdoor use as it is vulnerable to attack by insects. But it can be used after outdoor finishing or chemical treatment.

Where to buy Olive Wood?

You can buy olive wood products from various sources, both online and offline, such as online retailers, specialty stores, woodworking shops, and local lumber markets. 

Not only Olive, always buy any wood species from a reliable source so that you can avoid any kind of fraud.

Does Olive Wood Burn Well? 

Yes, Olive wood is an excellent firewood. It produces a lot of heat and burns slower than many other hardwoods because of its high density and close grains. However, being very hard, it can be a bit of a struggle to burn it in the beginning.

The heating value of olive wood is approximately 27 million BTU/cord. The higher the BTU value of wood, the more heat it produces.