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NOTE: there is rarely any "standard" or "typical" look for a wood so take what's in this table with a grain of salt
the REST of the pictures on this page will give you a better overall feel for this wood

Pacific yew / Taxus brevifolia

Also known as common yew, Oregon yew and western yew

3" x 3" flat cut, 2" x 2" quartersawn, 3/4" wide end grain, and a 1/4" x 1/4" end grain closeup.

This softwood has no resin canals. Swirly grain on the face is quite common and straight grain quartersawn is the exception rather than the rule. Identification of yew is mainly just by virtue of the fact that there aren't any other woods that look like yew. As to which particular species of yew a piece might be, well ...

Or as a friend of mine once put it, "The thing about yew is that it just never looks like me, it always looks like yew". (OK, he's not a close friend)


my samples:


Pacific yew veneer sheet with half moistened with mineral oil to show how a finishing agent can enhance the beauty of this wood


both sides of a sample plank of Pacific yew / Taxus brevifolia --- HUGE enlargements are present. This sample was loaned to me by David Clark whom I thank for this and other contributions to the site.


end grain and end grain closeup of the piece directly above


END GRAIN UPDATE from directly above


both sides of a sample plank of Western yew / Taxus brevifolia


end grain and end grain closeup of the piece directly above


END GRAIN UPDATE from directly above


several small planks of Pacific yew, all freshly sanded --- all are from the same tree and have the same color; the 3rd pic show a little too much red tint and the other pics have very accurate color.


the web pic for part of a batch of yew that most of my plank samples directly above came from. The planks are very rough-cut in these pics and in mine they have been sanded down.


small planks


one of the small planks from the set above, but shown closer up (oh, and I seem to have flipped it to the other side)


end grain and end grain closeup of the piece directly above


both sides of a sample plank given to me as Pacific yew --- HUGE enlargements are present


end grain and end grain closeup of the piece directly above


END GRAIN UPDATE from directly above


both sides of a sample plank of Pacific yew / Taxus brevifolia --- HUGE enlargements are present. This sample was loaned to me by David Clark whom I thank for this and other contributions to the site.


end grain and end grain closeup of the piece directly above


END GRAIN UPDATE from directly above


both sides of a sample plank of Pacific yew / Taxus brevifolia --- HUGE enlargements are present. This sample was loaned to me by David Clark whom I thank for this and other contributions to the site.


end grain and end grain closeup of the piece directly above


END GRAIN UPDATE from directly above


both sides of a piece of Pacific yew / Taxus brevifolia --- HUGE enlargements are present. This sample was loaned to me by Mark Peet whom I thank for this and other contributions to the site. Note that the first face was sanded to 240 grit and the second face was not and this accounts for the better resolution of the detail characteristics as seen in the first one.


end grain and end grain closeup of the piece directly above


END GRAIN UPDATE from directly above


both sides of a sample plank of Pacific yew / Taxus brevifolia --- HUGE enlargements are present. This sample was loaned to me by Mark Peet whom I thank for this and other contributions to the site. Note that the second face was sanded to 240 grit and the first face was not and this accounts for minor differences in color between the two and the better resolution of the detail characteristics as seen in the first one.


end grain and end grain closeup of the piece directly above


END GRAIN UPDATE from directly above


both sides of a sample plank of Pacific yew / Taxus brevifolia --- HUGE enlargements are present. This sample was loaned to me by Mark Peet whom I thank for this and other contributions to the site. Note that the second face was sanded to 240 grit and the first face was not and this accounts for minor differences in color between the two and the better resolution of the detail characteristics as seen in the first one.


end grain and end grain closeup of the piece directly above


END GRAIN UPDATE from directly above



The following are all veneer from many different veneer lots and show a wide variety of color (from pale tan to honey-golden brown) and grain (from clear to grainy and some with knotholes and some with pippy areas). Some of these pics have 2 levels of enlargement; all have at least one.

NOTE: the colors are just a bit too rich on most of my veneer pics



veneer --- color is a bit too rich


veneer --- there is just a little too much red tint in these pics.


veneer with accurate color


The Wood Book pics


flat cut, quartersawn, end grain
California yew (Taxus brevifolia, also listed as Pacific yew and Oregon Yew) from The Wood Book --- both levels of enlargement are available for all 3 views

web pics:


log end


planks, dry and wetted down, listed as Pacific yew


pacific yew planks


planks, all from the same vendor, listed as Pacific yew / Taxus brevifolia


bowl blanks listed as Pacific yew / Taxus brevifolia


both sides of a set of Pacific yew planks ... pics provided by Daniel Dill, whom I thank for these excellent pics ... both levels of enlargement are available so you can really see the grain.


Pacific yew plank and closeup


three pieces labeled "American Pacific yew veneer". All three of these are of the same set of pieces and are presented just to show how differently the color can be presented for a given piece. I'm confident that the last one is the closest to the true color. These sheets are from the same vendor as the ones directly below




veneer listed as Pacific yew --- the actualy wood probably has some orange in it


turning stock listed as Oregon yew burl


pacific yew burl plank, two views. Actually, this is not technically a burl but rather a plank with some burls on the edges, but that's the kind of honest distinction that is not made by the BogusColorVendor


Pacific yew burl and closeup


bowl listed as Pacific yew


pen turned from Pacific yew / Taxus brevifolia. Photograph contributed to the site by the pen turner, Bruce Selyem, whom I thank for this and other contributions to the site. The pen is finished with shellwax.