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homewood species •  jatoba


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Wood Species

Janka Rating

Hymenaea courbaril

Also known as: Algarrobo, Cuapinol, Guapinol, Jatahy, Kawanari, Paquio, Rode Locus, West Indian Locust

Origin: From southern Mexico, throughout Central America and the West Indies, to northern Brazil, Bolivia, and Peru.


While the sapwood of jatoba is gray-white, the heartwood tends to a salmon-red to orange-brown color when fresh, becoming russet or reddish brown with dark streaks when seasoned. With its inherent beauty, rich coloring, and extreme hardness, this species is understandably one of our most popular exotic woods.

Resistance, Durability:

In addition to its warm reddish tint, this moderately lustrous wood is notable for its hardness and durability — jatoba is extremely dense wood and very strong.

Janka Hardness: 2350

Jatoba is one of the hardest choices for wood flooring. It is roughly eighty-one percent harder than red oak, seventy-eight percent harder than ash, about sixty-two percent harder than hard maple, close to twenty-three percent harder than jarrah, and is just over six percent harder than santos mahogany's ranking of 2200.


In view of its high density and interlocked grain, Brazilian cherry is difficult to saw and plane; however, it sands nicely to a smooth surface. Due to its hardness, nailing may require pre-drilling and adjustment of the angle of penetration.

Main Uses:

Brazilian cherry (jatoba) is frequently used where good shock resistance is needed, such as in wood flooring and tool handles. Other applications include railroad crossties, wheel rims, gear cogs, and other specialty items, as well as furniture and cabinet work.

What is a Janka Rating?

"It is one of the best measures of the ability of a wood species to withstand denting and wear. It is also a good indicator of how hard a species is to saw or nail.

The hardness of wood usually varies with the direction of the wood grain.

A common use of Janka hardness ratings is to determine whether a species is suitable for use as flooring."

Colored Bamboo

Some species have different janka ratings depending on how they have been treated.

Bamboo is one example of this. If left with a natural finish, Bamboo falls at 1380 on the hardness scale. If you carbonize it to get a darker color, the rank falls to 1180.

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