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Spotlight on woods: Cocobolo

Posted by Jason Jones on

This month we are going to feature the incredibly beautiful exotic wood, cocobolo.

 

Cocobolo chess pieces

WHERE DOES IT ORIGINATE?

Cocobolo is tropical hardwood that originates in Central America.  Specifically, Mexico, Panama, Costa Rica, and Nicaragua.

Cocobolo map

HOW DURABLE IS IT?

Cocobolo has a fine texture and is known to be an incredibly durable wood. It is known to be resistant to insect attacks.  Additionally, because it is has natural oils in the wood it tends to do well in wet/dry cycles.

HOW ABOUT ALLERGIES?

As with any wood, extended time breathing in sawdust is inadvisable.  However, with cocobolo special care should be taken.  This wood is notorious for causing allergic reactions that include skin and respiratory irritation as well as eye irritations.  Not everyone will have a negative reaction to cocobolo, but do know it may cause allergies.

Allergens

WHAT ARE ITS MAIN USES?

Due to its durability, it has many uses. You will often find it as a knife handle, pool cue or made into fine furniture.  It is often turned into specialty small items like pens and chess pieces.  It is interesting to note that due to the oils in the woods, it is often difficult to glue and makes working with this wood a bit more difficult.

Cocobolo fountain pen

CONSERVATION EFFORTS

Many Central American nations have begun conservation efforts including Guatemala, Panama and Belize.  While cocobolo is not close to extinction, it is in demand which has led to countries limiting export of it out of country.

Conservation

 

Great sources for more info on all types of woods are:

http://www.bellforestproducts.com/cocobolo/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cocobolo

http://www.wood-database.com/cocobolo/

 

-Jess @ A Good Turn Colorado

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