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Forum topic by Craftsman on the lake posted 770 days ago 1387 views 0 times favorited 17 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Craftsman on the lake

2382 posts in 2062 days


770 days ago

Topic tags/keywords: question jatoba

I’m making a bed for my daughter. It will be mostly walnut and maple. I wanted a little subtle color and while walking through my wood supplier’s warehouse saw some jatoba. He has finished off samples and it’s reddish tinge looked like what I wanted.

Later on, looking online I read that it’s very hard on blades and can be chippy. For those of you who have worked with it, should I be concerned? What I want to do is joint and plane it and edge glue it for small 12” panels. This will be done with a jointer and power planer, not hand tools. What should I expect?

thnx.

-- The smell of wood, coffee in the cup, the wife let's me do my thing, the lake is peaceful.


17 replies so far

View Brandon's profile

Brandon

4138 posts in 1576 days


#1 posted 770 days ago

I’ve worked with a bunch of rough-cut jatoba. It certainly is a hard wood, but it’s not impossible to work with. Whenever I run it through a planer, I take very small passes at a time. Because of that I tend to use other wood, but sometimes jatoba’s the right fit.

-- "hold fast to that which is good"

View sandhill's profile

sandhill

2117 posts in 2549 days


#2 posted 770 days ago

If you have or have access to a drum sander I would use that after you get it dimentioned to within a 1/6”. When you plane it hone your blades to get a nice sharp edge. If your careful you can use your 6” belt sander on one side then plane it. “BEWARE OF THE DUST”

-- Bob Egbert AKA Sandhill http://www.sandhillwoodworks.com/

View AKSteve's profile

AKSteve

434 posts in 928 days


#3 posted 770 days ago

I cut some on a planer, I made small passes too. I also used a hand planer, a spoke shaver and a rasp on the wood too. it has a tendency to turn a lighter shade when you cut it but it ages nicely after it sits. I used Jatoba on my Bench, check it out: http://lumberjocks.com/projects/67281 I hand carved the legs with a spoke shaver and cut the leg mortises with a drill and a jigsaw and filed the rest and used a chisel on the beams for the mortices there. I don’t think you would have any problems with the jointer or the planer, just make small passes. good luck!

-- Steve - Wasilla, Alaska

View Tennessee's profile

Tennessee

1447 posts in 1139 days


#4 posted 770 days ago

I’ve used it for a lot of my guitars. With straight blade planers, true that you have to take small passes, but it finishes extremely smooth and is pretty hard. My spiral cut planer has no problem with it at all. Not chippy in my experience. Joints with the best of them. It does start out darker then lighter when cut. Addition of Minwax Natural stain brings back the darker reddish color in a hurry. Seems like it would make great, durable drawer fronts.

-- Paul, Tennessee, http://www.tsunamiguitars.com

View horky's profile

horky

77 posts in 1555 days


#5 posted 770 days ago

I made a complete pub table and chair set from Jatobal (you can see in my projects). Cut very well on my spiral head jointer and planer. Cut very well on the table saw as well. Drum sands well to. I don’t think you will have any issues.

View TCCcabinetmaker's profile

TCCcabinetmaker

925 posts in 980 days


#6 posted 770 days ago

Jatoba is heavy, it is hard to work, and it is rough on machinery, unless you have industrial machinery, well, you may go through some planer blades.

There are other “red” woods jatoba is often used in place of such as cherry, mahogany and spanish cedar, that might work easier for your project.

-- The mark of a good carpenter is not how few mistakes he makes, but rather how well he fixes them.

View gfadvm's profile

gfadvm

10717 posts in 1315 days


#7 posted 770 days ago

I have cut, planed, jointed a lot of Jatoba and have not found it to be hard on my tools. Light passes on the planer will prevent most chip out but I use the drum sander for final thicknessing. BLO really brings out the dark red color and Tongue Oil Finish also works nicely on Jatoba. Keep us posted.

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

View fussy's profile

fussy

980 posts in 1675 days


#8 posted 769 days ago

One thing to comsider; Jatoba is known as “Brazillian Cherry”. When finished, it looks very much like cherry. It burns like cherry, is a bit harder and heavier and more expensive than cherry. Would cherry be a more reasonable choice? It is easier to work, readily available and relatively inexpensive if bought rough. Just thinking.

-- Steve in KY. 44 years so far with my lovely bride. Think I'll keep her.

View Craftsman on the lake's profile

Craftsman on the lake

2382 posts in 2062 days


#9 posted 769 days ago

I don’t know fussy, Cherry’s natrual finish is brownish. it darkens with age. The jatob I’ve got is reddish almost orange (see picture at top of this page). I know it’s called brazillian Cherry. I wonder if it’s called that because of brazillian rosewood?

-- The smell of wood, coffee in the cup, the wife let's me do my thing, the lake is peaceful.

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Craftsman on the lake

2382 posts in 2062 days


#10 posted 769 days ago

Thanks everyone. My planer has been through thousands of board feet of oak, maple, and walnut. A few 2 ft. pieces of jatoba shouldn’t kill it. I’m not planning on using it on a regular basis.

Good info. I’ll be careful. Many thanks for your insight.

-- The smell of wood, coffee in the cup, the wife let's me do my thing, the lake is peaceful.

View gfadvm's profile

gfadvm

10717 posts in 1315 days


#11 posted 769 days ago

Jatoba is not a fruit bearing tree but has cool flowers. I think the Brazilian cherry moniker is a marketing thing. The wood floor industry calls Ipe Brazilian Walnut. Use the Jatoba on this project and you’re liable to use it a lot more. If you want a “piano” finish, you will have to fill the grain (Timber Mate has Brazilian cherry grain filler that is really easy). In my opinion it planes as well or better than hard maple with power tools.

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

View EPJartisan's profile

EPJartisan

1052 posts in 1750 days


#12 posted 768 days ago

Jatoba is awesome. I use it al the time and find it no more obnoxious than hard maple.. only more open grained like walnut… if anything I’d say it works a lot like Hickory wood. I love to carve it.

Here is a summery of my research:

Jatoba (Hymenaea courbaril) also called Copal and Brazilian Cherry… is actually in the same family as Black Locust found here in the USA, a tropical tree of the pea family (Fabaceae, a Leguminose family which fixes Nitrogen in the soil.) Jatoba is an interesting tree… it is a competitive and pioneering tree surviving along high river banks in nutrient lacking soils. Tall (90-150ft) and strong, containing over 20 active medicinal chemicals which have been used by indigenous people for centuries. Like Black Locust, its roots are shallow and wide spreading, over lapping other species, but unlike Black locust which poisons all around it.. Jatoba shares nitrogen and sugars to neighboring species, which in turn hold the Jatoba’s roots down so it can grow taller than the surrounding canopy. It also has a single tool providing for two defenses. It secretes a resin like sap, which after a million years becomes Amber. Amber from South and Central America have been found to hold a wealth of dinosaur and other extinct life forms, insects and plants. The sap is anti-inflamatory, anti-bioltic, and anti-fungal… but it is mostly since the tree grows so tall… uses the sap to reflect the suns energy and express heat so it can regulate it’s own internal temperature similar much in the way we sweat.

I know, not much info on the work ability, but it gives you an idea of why it dulls blades and chips.. full of chemicals and sap to dull your blades and have gum build up to burn your wood.. and meaning layers of large open cells and alternating grain to chip along. I used only regular titebond with fine results.

-- " 'Truth' is like a beautiful flower, unique to each plant and to the season it blossoms ... 'Fact' is the root and leaf, allowing the plant grow and bloom again."

View richgreer's profile

richgreer

4522 posts in 1699 days


#13 posted 768 days ago

Let me comment on Jatoba from another perspective. Like several other colorful exotic woods, Jatoba will fade with the passage of time and become a dull brown. A good finish and keeping it out of the sun can slow the process but nothing, that I know of, will stop the process.

I only know of one reddish wood that will retain its color for the long term, bloodwood. Some people call it “cardinal wood”. It is also very hard. It does not have much grain. It just has a nice color. If you look at my projects you will see that I used bloodwood as an accent on many of my church projects. Most noticeable are the inlaid crosses in the pew ends that I made.

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

View EPJartisan's profile

EPJartisan

1052 posts in 1750 days


#14 posted 768 days ago

True that, Rich.
Here is a board a few months old (on the right) to a untreated 4 year old board (on the left)

-- " 'Truth' is like a beautiful flower, unique to each plant and to the season it blossoms ... 'Fact' is the root and leaf, allowing the plant grow and bloom again."

View gfadvm's profile

gfadvm

10717 posts in 1315 days


#15 posted 768 days ago

Rich, Do you see this browning of Jatoba indoors? I have several pieces in my house that have darkened to a deep red but none have turned brown. They are all finished with Tung Oil Finish and aren’t in direct sunlight. Eric- Thanks for that interesting info; and that is an amazingly beautiful carving!

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

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