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Goncalo Alves

Goncalo Alves (Astronium graveolens and A. fraxinifolium)

Goncalo Alves is an imported hardwood


Most imports of goncalo alves (Astronium graveolens and A. fraxinifolium) have been from Brazil. These species range from southern Mexico through Central America into the Amazon basin.


Freshly cut heartwood is russet brown, orange-brown, or reddish brown to red with narrow to wide, irregular, medium- to very-dark brown stripes. After exposure to air, the heartwood becomes brown, red, or dark reddish brown with nearly black stripes. The sapwood is grayish white and sharply demarcated from the heartwood. The texture is fine to medium and uniform. The grain varies from straight to interlocked and wavy.

Primary Uses

Goncalo alves turns readily, finishes very smoothly, and takes a high natural polish. The heartwood is highly resistant to moisture absorption; pigmented areas may present some difficulties in gluing because of their high density. The heartwood is very durable and resistant to both white- and brown-rot organisms. The high density (1,010 kg/m3 (63 lb/ft3)) of the air-dried wood is accompanied by equally high strength values, which are considerably higher in most respects than those of any U.S. species. Despite its strength, however, goncalo alves is imported primarily for its beauty. In the United States, goncalo alves has the greatest value for specialty items such as archery bows, billiard cue butts, brushbacks, and cutlery handles, and in turnery and carving applications.