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Cocoblo Dalbergia retusa

Like many of its rosewood cousins, cocobolo is highly prized for its distinctive grain pattern and color, for its marvelous luster and for its hardness and density. As it takes a sharp edge or profile, it is commonly used for detail work by ornamental turners and furniture makers. Cocobolo has many of the qualities of, say, ebony, but more color and pattern. These will, however, diminish with age, as with so many of the Dalbergia species.


Type Tropical hardwood
Other names Nicaragua rosewood, granadillo
Similar species Tulipwood (D. decipularis), Brazilwood (Caesalpinia echinata)
Alternatives Snakewood (Brosimum aubletti)
Sources Central America
Color Streaks of red, orange and yellow amid darker bands; with age the lighter streaks darken to a rich red.
Texture Fine and even
Grain Irregular
Hardness Very hard
Weight Very heavy (65 lb./cu, ft.) (1040 kg/cu. m)
Strength Very strong
Seasoning and stability Slow to season, with a high risk of distortion and checking, but very stable once dry.
Wastage Should be low, but boards may be available only in limited dimensions.
Range of board widths Likely to be limited
Range of board thicknesses Likely to be limited
Durability Very oily, so naturally durable, but this is not a lumber you are likely to use for fence posts! It is popular for cutlery handles, as it is waterproof.

Highly figured logs are often made into veneer for inlay and decoration.

There is very little certified cocobolo, and the species has been reported as vulnerable. It is well worth asking suppliers about their sources or considering an alternative.

Limited supply and very expensive.

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Updated: 12/2017   copyright 2011 Rowecraft