This section is from the book "Spons' Mechanics' Own Book: A Manual For Handicraftsmen And Amateurs", by Edward Spon. Also available from Amazon: Spons' Mechanics' Own Book.
This tree is a native of S. America, and is found also in Jamaica. Its wood is hard and tough, and useful for house-building. Its weight is 42 lb. a cub. ft.; crushing-force, 7500 lb.; breaking-weight, 750 lb.
A small tree 10-15 ft. high, 6-8 in. diam.; wood hard, close-grained, heavy. Used by the natives of New Zealand in the manufacture of war implements. Has been used as a substitute for box by wood-engravers.
Grows 40-50 ft. high, 3-4 ft. diam.; timber close-grained, heavy, and very durable. Much of this very valuable timber is at present destroyed in clearing the land.
A small tree about 40 ft. high; trunk 1-2 ft. in diam.; timber compact, heavy, and durable. Used for mooring-posts and jetty-piles on the Waikato, where it has stood well for 7 years. It is highly valued for fencing. Common in swampy land in the North Island of New Zealand.
This tree grows abundantly in India, where numerous varieties are cultivated, as also in Mauritius, Brazil, and in other tropical climates. Its wood is generally coarse and open-grained, but is excellent for common doors and door-posts when well seasoned; it is light and strong, but liable to snap; it is durable in the dry, but decays rapidly when exposed to weather or water, and is much attacked by worms and ants. Its weight is 41 lb. a cub. ft.; cohesive force, 7700 lb.; breaking-weight, 560 lb.
A small tree 10-80 ft. high, highly ornamental, more especially when less than 20 years old. The timber can be had 28-30 ft. long, and 14 in. diam. at the butt, and 10 in. at the small end. The wood is hard and dark coloured, largely used at present for fuel and fencing, axe-handles and sheaves of blocks, and formerly by the natives for spears and paddles. The old timber, from its dark-coloured markings, might be used with advantage in cabinet-work, and its great durability might recommend it for many other purposes. Highly valued in Otago for jetty and wharf piles, as it resists the marine worm better than any other timber found in the province. It is extensively used for house piles. The lightest coloured wood, called " white manuka," is considered the toughest, and forms an excellent substitute for hornbeam in the cogs of large spur wheels. It is abundant in New Zealand as a scrub, and is found usually on the poorer soils, but is rare as a tree in large tracts to the exclusion of other trees.
The sugar-maple is liable to a peculiarity of growth, which gives the wood a knotted structure, whence it is called "bird's-eye maple." The cause of this structure has never been satisfactorily explained. The handsome appearance thus given to the wood is the reason of its value in furniture and cabinet making.