Please help identify this hardwood.

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Forum topic by Woodknack posted 05-20-2012 07:30 AM 1784 views 0 times favorited 14 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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11763 posts in 2402 days

05-20-2012 07:30 AM

Topic tags/keywords: question

Can you guys help identify this hardwood? It came from a piece of pallet wood and I believe it is South American. It is very, very, hard and closed grain; even the end grain is super smooth and glossy when cut. It giggled at 60 grit on a ROS, was amused by 40 grit, sent my scraper back to it’s drawer crying so I finally busted out a rasp which slides over the surface like it were granite. It took me about 20 minutes to smooth it down enough to seen the grain.

Cumaru maybe? it was a very light color before I started scraping.

This stuff is HARD, but gorgeous. I only have a small piece that is usable but I do have a project for it.

Full size versions:

-- Rick M,

14 replies so far

View Dusty56's profile


11819 posts in 3710 days

#1 posted 05-20-2012 12:59 PM

Have you been to Hobbithouse yet ?
here is your Cumaru sample for comparison : )

-- I'm absolutely positive that I couldn't be more uncertain!

View Jeff's profile


439 posts in 3216 days

#2 posted 05-20-2012 01:51 PM

Looks like Sapele. Does it have gold flecks when you wet it? Does it have a characteristic sweet smell when you cut it? It’s a pretty common hard wood for furniture making.

View plantek's profile


312 posts in 2821 days

#3 posted 05-20-2012 01:52 PM

That looks alot like Santa Maria wood.
The heart wood of santa maria is very hard. I made a porch swing out of it.

-- If you want it and it's within reason... It's on it's way!

View miles125's profile


2180 posts in 4027 days

#4 posted 05-20-2012 02:31 PM

I vote you have a piece of Lyptus.

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

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11763 posts in 2402 days

#5 posted 05-20-2012 06:22 PM

Sapele is a possibility but I discounted many reddish woods because they darken or turn more reddish with age while the mystery wood appears to have lightened, I should have taken a picture of an unsanded piece but you can get an idea looking at the center of the 2nd pic where the wood is cupped. Didn’t notice any gold flecks.

I believe this is much harder than Lyptus which also darkens with age. Santa Maria appears to be a very open pored wood.

Thanks for the Hobbithouse link, great resource.

-- Rick M,

View oldnovice's profile


6895 posts in 3390 days

#6 posted 05-21-2012 12:53 AM

The way it abused you sanding and scraping attempts are you sure it’s not a rock?

Could it be Balsamo?

It is from S.A. similar color and very dense. Is the a glitter of silica visible … it can really dull you tools.

-- "I never met a board I didn't like!"

View Moron's profile


5032 posts in 3915 days

#7 posted 05-21-2012 01:34 AM

teak ?

-- "Good artists borrow, great artists steal”…..Picasso

View abie's profile


875 posts in 3793 days

#8 posted 05-21-2012 02:01 AM

Could be Jarrah?

-- Bruce. a mind is like a book it is only useful when open.

View gfadvm's profile


14940 posts in 2712 days

#9 posted 05-21-2012 02:04 AM

It looks like Jatoba (Brazilian Cherry) to me. Very hard, very heavy, and one of my favorites to work with.

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

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11763 posts in 2402 days

#10 posted 05-21-2012 02:36 AM

Wow, I didn’t realize there would be so many SA reddish hardwoods that are very hard.

teak ?

If you mean Brazilian Teak (cumaru), I’ve been leaning that way since the start.

I’ll sand the end grain and post a pic, sometimes end grain is more distinctive than face. It does have a distinctive odor when cut, not very strong and not unpleasant. I cut a small piece today for a template around which to hammer copper wire. Copper isn’t that hard but the copper flattened and didn’t even dent the wood when struck with a hammer. I’d love to build a guitar fretboard out of this stuff but without some heavier power tools I’d be the rest of my life working it.

-- Rick M,

View rockindavan's profile


299 posts in 2658 days

#11 posted 05-21-2012 03:36 AM

Could be moonwood?

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11763 posts in 2402 days

#12 posted 05-21-2012 06:39 AM

What is moon wood?
The encyclopedia defines moon wood, as wood that, according to tradition, exhibits outstanding and unique characteristics when felled during a certain phases of the moon.

Uh, I have no idea.

-- Rick M,

View RS Woodworks's profile

RS Woodworks

533 posts in 3274 days

#13 posted 05-21-2012 08:17 AM

If it is teak, you will know it by smell. I agree that it is Jatoba, which has no odor.

-- I restore the finest vintage tools! If you need a nice plane, saw, marking tool or brace, please let me know!

View Straightbowed's profile


717 posts in 2320 days

#14 posted 05-21-2012 02:17 PM


-- Stevo, work in tha city woodshop in the country

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