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Snakewood, also called letterwood (Piratinera guianensis), is an incredibly beautiful wood that comes from South American Guyana and Surinam and is mainly shipped from Paramaribo, Surinam. This small tree is selectively felled with axes and carried out of the jungle on the backs of hard working natives over streams and through large jungle areas. Each tree felled is monitored and the government has developed a strict permit process to control harvesting. Much of the wood has little or no figure, only the small amount of mostly 15-20 cm diameter stems that have attractive figure is being exported all over the world. The colour is deep dark reddish brown with irregular black speckles or stripes with fine texture and high luster, reminiscent of snakeskin or leopard fur. This wood is very difficult to work with, it tends to develop cracks in every stage and you have to expect that tiny hairline cracks may occur when working on a piece. There is no such thing as snake-wood logs without cracks, and all pieces of snake-wood have at least hairline cracks, whether visible or not.