Olive wood Olea europaea is derived from the olive tree, a species of small, fruit-bearing tree found in much of Africa, the Mediterranean basin, the Arabian Peninsula and southern Asia. Before they are felled, olive trees have thick, irregular trunks and knotted branches, making for interesting-shaped planks that are rarely angular. Olive trees can live for hundreds of years, and while they take a long time to grow, the wood is often a by-product of the agricultural industry, since trees eventually stop producing good fruit. This makes (much) olive wood a sustainable material. This wood came from old olive trees from the Calabria area of Southern Italy that stopped bearing fruit. They are between 200-300 years old.
Olive wood is very hard, strong and durable. It is deep brown in colour with strong, oil-like grain patterns that are a beautiful distinguishing feature: no two olive wood products are identical. In addition, olive wood has natural antibacterial properties. Olive wood typically feels hard and is normally sanded and oiled to smooth and highlight the gorgeous pattern in the grain.
Turns superbly. Glues and finishes well. Has a distinct, fruity scent when being worked. It has been used since ancient times for small woodenware objects, spoons, bowls, boxes, carvings, turnings, inlays, small decorative items and it also makes excellent, but very expensive flooring.