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Common Name(s): Jatobá, Brazilian Cherry
Botanical Name: Hymenaea courbaril
Woodworking Qualities: Inherent density makes working with Jatobá by hand tool somewhat difficult. It does, however, sand well and can accept nails. If nailing seems to be a problem, adjust the angle of nailing and pre-drill.
Janka Rating: Like many exotic woods, Jatobá is a very hard wood. With a Janka rating of 2350, it nears the top of the list in terms of durability.
Species Characteristics: Jatobá is known in particular for its density and hardness. Teamed with the unique colorings, it has quickly become one of the most popular choices in recent woodworking products.
Appearance: When freshly cut, Brazilian Cherry heartwood shows a pinkish salmon red to a darker orange brown, darkening to a reddish brown with dark streaks as it ages. Sapwood is generally lighter, gray or white in appearance.
Color Change: Brazilian Cherry flooring undergoes a very pronounced color change after installation. Several factors can affect this, however. The first would be the amount of exposure to direct sunlight the floor is actually getting. Partial sunlight or dimmed light (as if through shades or blinds) may create a dulled effect on the actual coloration variance. Direct sunlight will usually transform the floor from its pre-alteration to the rich, reddish colors that are more associated with this attractive wood. Depending on the type of finish that is applied to the wood (or if there is even a finish applied at all) will affect how fast and how much the change is. For example, water based finishes compared to oil based finishes will suspend the color change of the wood somewhat, slowing the process. The latter seems to speed this process up. Take into consideration the amount of sunlight the floor will be receiving, and the type of finish, and you may have a floor that changes color to its final stage within the range of a week, to three months.
Uses: Amongst the more prominent uses for Jatobá are flooring and specialty items, including railroad cross ties and tool handles. Furniture and cabinetry also list high on Jatobá’s uses.
Brazilian Cherry Jatoba Origin:
Central America, including southern Mexico and extending to Brazil, Bolivia, and Peru.