Cocobolo Hardwood


Cocobolo, also known by its botanical name Dalbergia retusa (Leguminosae), is a visually stunning wood. When freshly cut, the heartwood displays a vibrant spectrum of colors, including rich reds, oranges, and yellows. With exposure to the air, Cocobolo darkens to deep reds and oranges with markings of black and purple. It is a heavy, dense, and hard wood with a straight grain, which can occasionally be interlocked or irregular. It also has a fine and uniform texture, with a lighter sapwood that is almost white in color.

Cocobolo is a highly versatile wood species, suitable for a variety of uses including cabinetmaking, furniture, and turnery. If available from sustainable and legal sources, you can use our system to be connected with suppliers of Cocobolo.

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Material Type:

Also Called:
Granadillo, Pau Preto, Nicaraguan Rosewood, Caviuna, Cocobolo Prieto, Nambar, Palo Negro,

Durability Notes:
Cocobolo wood is a durable timber.

The drying and seasoning of Cocobolo is dependant on a number of factors; the speed in which it is processed after felling and logging, the method of drying and the specific kilns or location (if air dried). Generally the care taken by those processing the wood will have an impact on its drying and seasoning. As an overview; Cocobolo - dries very slowly and should be air-dried prior to kilning, it has a strong tendency to split and check while drying. Since the oil content acts as a barrier to water absorption, the wood is very stable in service. Please note that all wood is liable to move when in service plus there can be dimensional change. The extent of this will depend on; the stability of the species itself, the conditions it is exposed to, the coating, decoration and protection. You will find more information about the suitability of this wood, for any proposed application, by using our interactive system and the filters shown.

Cocobolo has a high mechanical strength in all categories and is heavy, tough and strong. Cocobolo works reasonably well with machine and hand tools but cutting edges must be kept sharp. As an oily wood it can make it challenging to glue but it can be nailed and screwed adequately. Planing, turning, moulding and morticing come out very smooth and clean. Cocobolo takes stain and oil well. It can be brought to an excellent finish.

Typical Uses:
Furniture, Musical Instruments, Carvings, Gun Grips, Knife Handles, Pen Blanks, Bowls, Spindles, Inlays, Veneer.

Moisture Content:
Guide - 10-18% for KD (+/- 2%)

Commonly asked questions about Cocobolo Wood

Is Cocobolo a hardwood or a softwood? Cocobolo is a hardwood. It is the same for; is Cocobolo hardwood or softwood? - Cocobolo is a hardwood.

Most groups/families of species share the same characteristics but this normally relates to their life as plants. Individual species do not always share the same characteristics as their relatives, in terms of the wood. Many factors influence how we use the wood and what we use it for, including where it grows, how it is forested, how it seasons/dries, etc. The answers to the following common questions, therefore relate to this particular species/wood and not the Cocobolo family as a whole. Even more specific – our answers relate to the wood (as we know it) in its form as a useable resource.

What colour is Cocobolo? Cocobolo can be described as dark brown, dark red, red

Is Cocobolo good for outdoor use? or is Cocobolo good for exterior use? Cocobolo is most suited for exterior/external use. Cocobolo can be used as an exterior/external timber (without treatment).

Whether the wood is naturally durable or not we would still recommend that it is decorated and/or coated with a suitable product to provide protection and/or maintain its appearance. This even applies when using the wood internally as, even subtle, changes in temperature or humidity will affect the wood. This will depend on the application/purpose of the wood and the user’s desired appearance. We also recommend that a recoating, care and maintenance programme is adhered to, for the life of an exterior wood. Wood cannot rot if it is kept dry – coatings and decoration can provide this protection. All of that said there are many durable timbers that are often left to weather naturally and will last for many years untreated/coated – movement and visual changes will occur but this is sometimes the desired effect. All wood is hygroscopic (it 'wants' to be in tune with its environment) it will therefore take on water from moisture in the air (or when directly exposed to or submerged in water) and ‘release it’ when dry or exposed to heat. This, inevitably, results in movement and dimensional change. For more about moisture in wood please click here - Moisture in wood

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