Jequitiba: A 'Royal' Substitute for Furniture & Cabinetry
By Jo-Ann Kaiser | Posted: 06/04/2012 1:05PM
Sponsored by: Columbia Forest Products: North America’s largest manufacturer of hardwood plywood and hardwood veneer.
click image to zoomFamily Name:
Cariniana pyriformis and Cariniana legalis of the Family Lecythidaceae
Jequitiba, jequitiba rosa, abarco, albarco, bacu, South American mahogany, yesquero, estopeiro, jequitiba branco, jequitiba.
Weight varies from 31 to 43 pounds per cubic foot, with an average weight of 36 pounds per cubic foot and a specific gravity of 0.58.
• The wood dries quickly and well without problems and is considered fairly easy to kiln dry without degrade.
• Jequitiba works well with hand and machine tools. Experts recommend cutting tools be kept sharp to avoid problems of raised grain. Pre-boring is recommended.
• The heartwood is reportedly durable, especially with deeply colored material, and has good resistance to termite attack. Known also as royal mahogany, jequitiba was first introduced to the U.S. wood products market approximately ten years ago. Since then, this South and Central American species’ growth in popularity has been relatively slow as it fights for a share of the marketplace.
Although there is no relation, “jequitiba was seen as a replacement for mahogany,” said Jim Martin of Marwood Veneer, Jeffersonville, IN. He also noted that for paneling and architectural woodwork, “It has a very pleasing cathedral figure and its color is a little lighter than mahogany.”
Rick Banas, vice president at Interwood Forest Products Inc., Shelbyville, IN, also commented on jequitiba’s characteristics. “Jequitiba has a very pleasing and clear grain structure as well as a color ranging from caramel tan, to dark brown. Although it was never successful in replacing Swietenia on the veneer and lumber markets, it has found its way into various projects,” he said.
Jequitiba is widely used in its native range of South and Central America. In Brazil, Colombia and Peru, jequitiba is often used in residential and contract furniture, cabinetry, component and dimension parts, construction, shipbuilding, flooring, panelling, moulding, veneer and turnery. It is also used for windows and doors. Because the wood has no odor or taste, one of its specialty uses is in the production of vats or barrels for aging rum.
Jequitiba offers a pleasing grain pattern and color, as shown in this desk/nightstand designed by Studio Saccaro. Photo: Saccaro USA But in North America, its uses have been limited. “Personally, I believe that it is an under-utilized species [despite] its consistency in appearance and availability,” Banas said.
About the Author
Jo-Ann KaiserJo-Ann Kaiser has been covering the woodworking industry for 31+ years. She is a contributing editor for the Woodworking Network and has been writing the Wood of the Month column since its inception in 1986.