Another help-me-identify-this-wood post

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Forum topic by Brandon posted 06-13-2011 09:50 PM 1785 views 0 times favorited 15 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View Brandon's profile


4152 posts in 3191 days

06-13-2011 09:50 PM

I recently acquired about 65 board feet of this mystery wood. The wood is heavy, has a similar appearance to mahogany, but with a reddish tint. I am guessing Brazilian cherry / Jatoba, but I’m really not sure. I do not know the provenance of the wood. Definitely not domestic to the US. I have about 40 pieces of this and they are all around 28 inches in length and various widths; all 5/4 thick. Any ideas? I also got one big board of what may be the same material—4/4 16” x 61”. The big board has the circular saw marks from the mill. It’s too big for my planer.

The first picture show the stack of mystery wood along with the large board.

The second picture shows another view of the stack. The piece on top was sent through a planer at some point.

The third and fourth pictures show close-up views of the planed piece. Did I mention it was heavy?

Now what to do with this wood? A bunch of side tables?

As always, any help would be appreciated!

-- "hold fast to that which is good"

15 replies so far

View BobTheFish's profile


361 posts in 2792 days

#1 posted 06-13-2011 10:00 PM

I’m sure I can help you identify the wood if you send me half… ;)

heh, In all seriousness, I haven’t a clue, but the biggest piece looks like a bench seat of a console table top. The black marks are beautiful.

With the other boards, 28” is great for table leg height, but I’d be buggered to figure out what else to do with such small lengths and random widths without tossing in a few other woods and boards. Maybe a nice chest, or set of drawers.

View Don's profile


551 posts in 3482 days

#2 posted 06-13-2011 10:13 PM

It certainly looks like Jatoba. A unique characteristic of Jatoba, and anyone who has cut a lot of it will agree, it has quite the ‘odor’ when cut. An alias of the wood is ‘Stink Wood’

-- -- Don in Ottawa,

View bhog's profile


2238 posts in 2930 days

#3 posted 06-13-2011 10:44 PM

Kind of looks like some wild cherry Ive got.Is there some little “sparkley” looking spots around the figure?

-- I don't drive a Prius.

View CharlieM1958's profile


16281 posts in 4458 days

#4 posted 06-13-2011 11:13 PM

This is a rare but highly toxic species. PM me with your address and I’ll have a hazardous waste disposal truck pick it up from you. (Don’t be alarmed if the hazardous waste disposal truck looks like an ordinary Chevy pickup… they do that to keep from scaring the neighbors). :-)

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

View Brandon's profile


4152 posts in 3191 days

#5 posted 06-13-2011 11:22 PM

Haha. Thanks for the heads up, charlie. I’m sure there is also a disposal fee of some sort too!

-- "hold fast to that which is good"

View pvwoodcrafts's profile


244 posts in 4161 days

#6 posted 06-13-2011 11:32 PM

Looks like jatoba to me.Its really hard and heavy. Burns pretty easily although not as bad as purpleheart I haven’t noticed Jatoba having such an aroma, course maybe all the elm and redheart I cut ruined my sense of smell

-- mike & judy western md. www.

View grizzman's profile


7836 posts in 3543 days

#7 posted 06-13-2011 11:33 PM

i just landed a job working for the truck company that charlie was refering if you see me picking up this highly toxic lumber, dont be alarmed..were going half’s on this deal , right charlie ;)

-- GRIZZMAN ...[''''']

View richgreer's profile


4541 posts in 3314 days

#8 posted 06-14-2011 12:31 AM

My first guess would also be Jatoba, but my second guess would be Bubinga. Normally we think of Bublinga as being heavily figured but a more straight grained Bubinga exists and this may be that.

While I also think it could be Jatoba, it seems just a little more reddish than the Jatoba I have worked with. Of course, that could just be the way it was photographed.

FYI – both Jatoba and Bubinga are quite heavy.

-- Rich, Cedar Rapids, IA - I'm a woodworker. I don't create beauty, I reveal it.

View BobTheFish's profile


361 posts in 2792 days

#9 posted 06-14-2011 02:38 AM

Well, ok… I’m going to toss in my guess after all.

The dark streaks and color kind of reminds me a lot of Curupay.

It looks a lot like a sample I have, but I just can’t say “THAT’S IT!”. It could also be the jatoba that the OP thinks it might be: Honestly, I don’t have a lot of experience with either so I can’t make a judgement call on it.

Cumaru I don’t have, but here’s a pic from the same site:

It’s just not like that…

View BentheViking's profile


1782 posts in 2804 days

#10 posted 06-14-2011 03:35 AM

Brandon, or anyone else for that matter have you seen this site I am trying to become a more knowledgeable woodworker, and other than a few spices (pine, Spanish cedar, poplar, basically the things I have used the most), I do not know what things are to save my life. Trying to further my knowledge I found this site a few weeks ago and was wondering if anyone else uses it, thinks its useful/correct, and if not has any better suggestions for similar sources of information.

-- It's made of wood. Real sturdy.--Chubbs Peterson

View gfadvm's profile


14940 posts in 2930 days

#11 posted 06-14-2011 04:19 AM

Looks like Jatoba to me. It will get much redder with oil and exposure to sunlight. I have worked a lot of Jatoba and have never noticed any offensive smell. It is REALLY heavy and REALLY hard but is beautiful when finished. I have not had the glue problems that some have reported using TB 3. It does tend to tear out when planed. Take very light passes which helps but I usually drum sand rather than plane.

-- " I'll try to be nicer, if you'll try to be smarter" gfadvm

View Brandon's profile


4152 posts in 3191 days

#12 posted 06-14-2011 12:37 PM

Thanks for the link, BenTheViking.

Looks like Jatoba is getting the most votes. I cut a piece of the wood and it did not have a strong smell. Here is a close-up of the end grain, which looks like the end grain of jatoba on the wood database website

Thanks for your help, everyone!

-- "hold fast to that which is good"

View miles125's profile


2180 posts in 4245 days

#13 posted 06-14-2011 12:51 PM

I think what you probably have is Lyptus. Very heavy being its signature characteristic..

-- "The way to make a small fortune in woodworking- start with a large one"

View Bertha's profile


13551 posts in 2933 days

#14 posted 06-14-2011 01:58 PM

My first thought was bubinga or lyptus. I’ve had batches of lyptus that looks like 10 different species. Seeing the endgrain, I’m now favoring bubinga a bit.

-- My dad and I built a 65 chev pick up.I killed trannys in that thing for some reason-Hog

View CraigHaggarton's profile


5 posts in 2764 days

#15 posted 07-07-2011 05:57 PM

It is definitely Jatoba. Anyone can look at photos online until they’re blue in the face, and come up with many different ideas. I was pretty sure right away when I saw your pics, but when I looked at the stock of Jatoba lumber in our store I became dead certain. An earlier poster was right about the wood becoming darker with oxidation. This would make it difficult to determine by simply looking at various online photos. I work with it regularly, and have never heard of any cases of the wood being toxic. You can find more info about it on my company’s website. (or if you need to get more)

I hope that helps!

-- Craig, Phoenix AZ,

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