Categories
imported-hardwood

Goncalo Alves (Astronium graveolens and A. fraxinifolium)

Goncalo Alves is an imported hardwood

Location

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.

Characteristics

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.

*Much of the base wood information presented here is made available by the USDA FPL FS. If you are interested in a much more technical description of wood properties, I encourage you to visit the source.

Categories
imported-hardwood

Ekop (Tetraberlinia tubmaniana)

Ekop is an imported hardwood

Location

Ekop or gola (Tetraberlinia tubmaniana) grows only in Liberia.

Characteristics

The heartwood is light reddish brown and is distinct from the lighter colored sapwood, which may be up to 5 cm (2 in.) wide. The wood is medium to coarse textured, and the grain is interlocked, with a narrow striped pattern on quartered surfaces. The wood weighs about 735 kg/m3 (46 lb/ft3) at 12% moisture content. It dries fairly well but with a marked tendency to end and surface checks. Ekop works well with hand and machine tools and is an excellent wood for turnery. It also slices well into veneer and has good gluing properties. The heartwood is only moderately durable and is moderately resistant to impregnation with preservative treatments.

Primary Uses

Ekop is a general utility wood that is used for veneer, plywood, and furniture components.

*Much of the base wood information presented here is made available by the USDA FPL FS. If you are interested in a much more technical description of wood properties, I encourage you to visit the source.

Categories
imported-hardwood

Determa (Ocotea rubra)

Determa is an imported hardwood

Location

Determa (Ocotea rubra) is native to the Guianas, Trinidad, and the lower Amazon region of Brazil.

Characteristics

The heartwood is light reddish brown with a golden sheen and distinct from the dull gray or pale yellowish brown sapwood. The texture is rather coarse, and the grain is interlocked to straight. Determa is a moderately strong and heavy wood (density of air-dried wood is 640 to 720 kg/m3 (40 to 45 lb/ft3)); this wood is moderately difficult to air dry. It can be worked readily with hand and machine tools with little dulling effect. It can be glued readily and polished fairly well. The heartwood is durable to very durable in resistance to decay fungi and moderately resistant to dry-wood termites. Weathering characteristics are excellent, and the wood is highly resistant to moisture absorption.

Primary Uses

Uses for determa include furniture, general construction, boat planking, tanks and cooperage, heavy marine construction, turnery, and parquet flooring.

*Much of the base wood information presented here is made available by the USDA FPL FS. If you are interested in a much more technical description of wood properties, I encourage you to visit the source.

Categories
imported-hardwood

Degame (Calycophyllum candidissimum)

Degame is an imported hardwood

Location

Degame or lemonwood (Calycophyllum candidissimum) grows in Cuba and ranges from southern Mexico through Central America to Colombia and Venezuela. It may grow in pure stands and is common on shaded hillsides and along waterways.

Characteristics

The heartwood of degame ranges from light brown to oatmeal- colored and is sometimes grayish. The sapwood is lighter in color and merges gradually with the heartwood. The texture is fine and uniform. The grain is usually straight or infrequently shows shallow interlocking, which may produce a narrow and indistinct stripe on quartered faces. In strength, degame is above the average for woods of similar density; density of air-dried wood is 817 kg/m3 (51 lb/ft3). Tests show degame superior to persimmon (Diospyros virginiana) in all respects but hardness. Natural durability is low when degame is used under conditions favorable to stain, decay, and insect attack. However, degame is reported to be highly resistant to marine borers. Degame is moderately difficult to machine because of its density and hardness, although it does not dull cutting tools to any extent. Machined surfaces are very smooth.

Primary Uses

Degame is little used in the United States, but its characteristics have made it particularly adaptable for shuttles, picker sticks, and other textile industry items that require resilience and strength. Degame was once prized for the manufacture of archery bows and fishing rods. It is also suitable for tool handles and turnery.

*Much of the base wood information presented here is made available by the USDA FPL FS. If you are interested in a much more technical description of wood properties, I encourage you to visit the source.

Categories
imported-hardwood

Courbaril (Hymenaea)

Courbaril is an imported hardwood

Location

The genus Hymenaea consists of about 25 species that occur in the West Indies and from southern Mexico through Central America into the Amazon basin of South America. The best-known and most important species is H. courbaril, which occurs throughout the range of the genus. Courbaril is often called jatoba in Brazil.

Characteristics

Sapwood of courbaril is gray-white and usually quite wide. The heartwood, which is sharply differentiated from the sapwood, is salmon red to orange-brown when freshly cut and becomes russet or reddish brown when dried. The heartwood is often marked with dark streaks. The texture is medium to rather coarse, and the grain is mostly interlocked. The wood is hard and heavy (about 800 kg/m3 (50 lb/ft3) at 12% moisture content). The strength properties of courbaril are quite high and very similar to those of shagbark hickory (Carya ovata), a species of lower specific gravity. Courbaril is rated as moderately to very resistant to attack by decay fungi and dry-wood termites. The heartwood is not treatable, but the sapwood is treatable with preservatives. Courbaril is moderately difficult to saw and machine because of its high density, but it can be machined to a smooth surface. Turning, gluing, and finishing properties are satisfactory. Planing, however, is somewhat difficult because of the interlocked grain. Courbaril compares favorably with white oak (Quercus alba) in steam bending behavior.

rimary Uses

Courbaril is used for tool handles and other applications that require good shock resistance. It is also used for steam-bent parts, flooring, turnery, furniture and cabinetwork, veneer and plywood, railroad crossties, and other specialty items.

*Much of the base wood information presented here is made available by the USDA FPL FS. If you are interested in a much more technical description of wood properties, I encourage you to visit the source.

Categories
imported-hardwood

Ceiba (Ceiba pentandra)

Ceiba is an imported hardwood

Location

Ceiba (Ceiba pentandra) is a large tree, which grows to 66 m (200 ft) in height with a straight cylindrical bole 13 to 20 m (40 to 60 ft) long. Trunk diameters of 2 m (6 ft) or more are common. Ceiba grows in West Africa, from the Ivory Coast and Sierra Leone to Liberia, Nigeria, and the Congo region. A related species is lupuna (Ceiba samauma) from South America.

Characteristics

Sapwood and heartwood are not clearly demarcated. The wood is whitish, pale brown, or pinkish brown, often with yellowish or grayish streaks. The texture is coarse, and the grain is interlocked or occasionally irregular. Ceiba is very soft and light; density of air-dried wood is 320 kg/m3 (20 lb/ft3). In strength, the wood is comparable with basswood (Tilia americana). Ceiba dries rapidly without marked deterioration. It is difficult to saw cleanly and dress smoothly because of the high percentage of tension wood. It provides good veneer and is easy to nail and glue. Ceiba is very susceptible to attack by decay fungi and insects. It requires rapid harvest and conversion to prevent deterioration. Treatability, however, is rated as good.

Primary Uses

Ceiba is available in large sizes, and its low density combined with a rather high degree of dimensional stability make it ideal for pattern and corestock. Other uses include blockboard, boxes and crates, joinery, and furniture components.

*Much of the base wood information presented here is made available by the USDA FPL FS. If you are interested in a much more technical description of wood properties, I encourage you to visit the source.

Categories
imported-hardwood

Cativo (Prioria copaifera)

Cativo is an imported hardwood

Location

Cativo (Prioria copaifera) is one of the few tropical American species that occur in abundance and often in nearly pure stands. Commercial stands are found in Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Panama, and Colombia.

Characteristics

Sapwood may be very pale pink or distinctly reddish, and it is usually wide. In trees up to 76 cm (30 in.) in diameter, heartwood may be only 18 cm (7 in.) in diameter. The grain is straight and the texture of the wood is uniform, comparable with that of true mahogany (Swietenia macrophylla). On flat-sawn surfaces, the figure is rather subdued as a result of exposure of the narrow bands of parenchyma tissue. The wood can be dried rapidly and easily with very little degrade. Dimensional stability is very good—practically equal to that of true mahogany. Cativo is classified as a nondurable wood with respect to decay and insects. It may contain appreciable quantities of gum. In wood that has been properly dried, however, the aromatics in the gum are removed and there is no difficulty in finishing.

Primary Uses

Considerable quantities of cativo are used for interior woodwork, and resin-stabilized veneer is an important pattern material. Cativo is widely used for furniture and cabinet parts, lumber core for plywood, picture frames, edge banding for doors, joinery, and millwork.

*Much of the base wood information presented here is made available by the USDA FPL FS. If you are interested in a much more technical description of wood properties, I encourage you to visit the source.

Categories
imported-hardwood

Benge (Guibourtia)

Benge is an imported hardwood

Location

Although benge (Guibourtia arnoldiana), ehie or ovangkol (Guibourtia ehie), and bubinga (Guibourtia spp.) belong to the same West African genus, they differ rather markedly in color and somewhat in texture.

Characteristics

The heartwood of benge is pale yellowish brown to medium brown with gray to almost black stripes. Ehie heartwood tends to be more golden brown to dark brown with gray to almost black stripes. Bubinga heartwood is pink, vivid red, or red-brown with purple streaks, and it becomes yellow or medium brown with a reddish tint upon exposure to air. The texture of ehie is moderately coarse, whereas that of benge and bubinga is fine to moderately fine. All three woods are moderately hard and heavy, but they can be worked well with hand and machine tools. They are listed as moderately durable and resistant to preservative treatment. Drying may be difficult, but with care, the wood dries well.

Primary Uses

These woods are used in turnery, flooring, furniture components, cabinetwork, and decorative veneers.

*Much of the base wood information presented here is made available by the USDA FPL FS. If you are interested in a much more technical description of wood properties, I encourage you to visit the source.

Categories
imported-hardwood

Banak (Virola)

Banak is an imported hardwood

Location

Various species of banak (Virola) occur in tropical America, from Belize and Guatemala southward to Venezuela, the Guianas, the Amazon region of northern Brazil, and southern Brazil, and on the Pacific Coast to Peru and Bolivia. Most of the wood known as banak is V. koschnyi of Central America and V. surinamensis and V. sebifera of northern South America. Botanically, cuangare (Dialyanthera) is closely related to banak, and the woods are so similar that they are generally mixed in the trade. The main commercial supply of cuangare comes from Colombia and Ecuador. Banak and cuangare are common in swamp and marsh forests and may occur in almost pure stands in some areas.

Characteristics

The heartwood of both banak and cuangare is usually pinkish or grayish brown and is generally not differentiated from the sapwood. The wood is straight grained and is of a medium to coarse texture. The various species are nonresistant to decay and insect attack but can be readily treated with preservatives. Machining properties are very good, but when zones of tension wood are present, machining may result in surface fuzziness. The wood finishes readily and is easily glued. Strength properties of banak and cuangare are similar to those of yellow-poplar (Liriodendron tulipifera).

Primary Uses

Banak is considered a general utility wood for lumber, veneer, and plywood. It is also used for moulding, millwork, and furniture components.

*Much of the base wood information presented here is made available by the USDA FPL FS. If you are interested in a much more technical description of wood properties, I encourage you to visit the source.


Categories
imported-hardwood

Balsa (Ochroma pyramidale)

Balsa is an imported hardwood

Location

Balsa (Ochroma pyramidale) is widely distributed throughout tropical America from southern Mexico to southern Brazil and Bolivia, but Ecuador has been the principal source of supply since the wood gained commercial importance. It is usually found at lower elevations, especially on bottomland soils along streams and in clearings and cutover forests. Today, it is often cultivated in plantations.

Characteristics

Several characteristics make balsa suitable for a wide variety of uses. It is the lightest and softest of all woods on the market. The lumber selected for use in the United States weighs, on the average, about 180 kg/m3 (11 lb/ft3) when dry and often as little as 100 kg/m3 (6 lb/ft3). The wood is readily recognized by its light weight; nearly white or oatmeal color, often with a yellowish or pinkish hue; and unique velvety feel.

Primary Uses

Because of its light weight and exceedingly porous composition, balsa is highly efficient in uses where buoyancy, insulation against heat or cold, or low propagation of sound and vibration are important. Principal uses are for life-saving equipment, floats, rafts, corestock, insulation, cushioning, sound modifiers, models, and novelties.

*Much of the base wood information presented here is made available by the USDA FPL FS. If you are interested in a much more technical description of wood properties, I encourage you to visit the source.