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Balata (Manilkara bidentata)

Balata is an imported hardwood


Balata or bulletwood (Manilkara bidentata) is widely distributed throughout the West Indies, Central America, and northern South America.


The heartwood of balata is light to dark reddish brown and not sharply demarcated from the pale brown sapwood. Texture is fine and uniform, and the grain is straight to occasionally wavy or interlocked. Balata is a strong and very heavy wood; density of air-dried wood is 1,060 kg/m3 (66 lb/ft3). It is generally difficult to air dry, with a tendency to develop severe checking and warp. The wood is moderately easy to work despite its high density, and it is rated good to excellent in all machining operations. Balata is very resistant to attack by decay fungi and highly resistant to subterranean termites but only moderately resistant to dry-wood termites.

Primary Uses

Balata is suitable for heavy construction, textile and pulpmill equipment, furniture parts, turnery, tool handles, flooring, boat frames and other bentwork, railroad crossties, violin bows, billiard cues, and other specialty uses.