American Holly

NC Wood also has spindle sizes ranging in price from $27.80 to $1.50 for pen blanks.

WoodTurningz sells spindle sizes of 1.5” x 1.5” x 6” for $17.95 with pen blanks selling for $3.00

Amazon Exotic Hardwoods sells a range of spindle sizes ranging in price from $9.95 to $48.00.  They are also the only vendor I found that offers dimensional lumber sizes ranging in price from $33.50 to $68.90.

Exotic Woods USA sells two grades of pen blanks for $2.90 and $3.60.

Finally, Griffin Exotic Wood sells American Holly pen blanks for $1.50 (with staining) and $4.00 clear.  They also sell four additional spindle sizes ranging in price from $7.00 to $12.00.

Woodfinder is an excellent website that is dedicated to advertising wood dealers.  In your search for American Holly, this can be an invaluable resource provided you use multiple search terms to capture all the possible listings.  I can’t speak to the quality of any of the listed dealers, but Woodfinder does have the advantage of allowing searches to be performed based on location which might allow an interested buyer to visit a listed wood dealer in person to hand pick pieces at a comfortable price.

A significant problem with using Woodfinder is that many vendors are listed for woods that, upon further investigation, they do not offer.  I don’t know if perhaps once they did and they didn’t update their listings or if some vendors use a standardized list of woods that include most everything conceivable with the idea that once you land on their page you will find something you want to buy even if you didn’t know it beforehand.  It happens to me all the time!


As an expensive wood of limited availability, American Holly has only a few specialized uses including: Inlays, furniture, piano keys (dyed black), broom and brush handles, turned objects, and other small novelty items.


American Holly is not listed as being in any way threatened or endangered by the Convention in International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) Appendices nor does it appear on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List.

To the best of my knowledge, American Holly is not subject to any special restrictions by any United States government agency.

I realize that inherent in working with wood is the killing of a part of the natural world that may be slow to return and if I become deeply concerned about this fact, I will have to find a new hobby.  I hope that such a time does not come to pass or at least not any time soon.  In part because I am concerned about legally and responsibly obtained wood, I am reluctant to buy from sellers outside of well-established and known vendors.  I am highly unlikely, for example, to purchase any wood from auction sites, such as Ebay, because of uncertain sourcing and documentation, as well as the potential, even likelihood, of material being misidentified in order to achieve a higher selling price.

However, due to the commercial scarcity of some woods, resorting to auction sites such as Ebay or Etsy may be the only way to obtain some desirable domestic, or in some cases exotic imported, species that are not routinely commercially harvested.  The potential risks of buying in these marketplaces have to be balanced against the desire to work with a specific species of wood.  That is inherently an individual decision.

Holly Bowl Interior

Holly Bowl Interior

I also realize that many, if not most, wood workers do not have endangered species lists memorized, therefore I think it worthwhile and important to do even a small amount of research before purchasing any lumber, domestic as well as imported, to be certain of the potential impact you are having, even in a small way, on threatened or endangered populations.  This information is easy to come by and takes only minutes to locate through any Internet search engine, including those you can access on your phone as you are standing in the lumber yard or store.  Unfortunately, you simply cannot count on a vendor to tell you a product they are selling is endangered.

Health Hazards:

Besides the standard health risks associated with any type of wood dust, no further health reactions have been associated with American Holly.