USDA Forest Service
Forest Products Laboratory
One Gifford Pinchot Drive
Madison, WI 53705-2398
Wood Technical Fact Sheet
Other Common Names: Ahuatl, Cucharillo, Encino (Mexico), Roblecito (Guatemala), Encino negro (Honduras), Roble encino, Roble colorado (Costa Rica), Mamecillo (Panama), Robe, Roble amarillo (Colombia).
Distribution: In tropical America from Mexico southward through Central America to Colombia. In the lower latitudes confined mostly to the high mountains.
The Tree: A large tree that may reach a height of 90 ft and a diameter of 5 ft; more commonly with a height to 65 ft and diameters up to 30 in. Stems are straight and cylindrical.
General Characteristics: Heartwood yellowish brown to reddish brown; sapwood whitish to light brown. Grain is generally straight; texture coarse; luster usually low; without distinctive odor or taste when seasoned. Because of the broad rays, the wood is highly figured as in the temperate oaks but pores in radial or diagonal rows rather than ring-porous.
Weight: Basic specific gravity (ovendry weight/green volume) varies with species from 0.57 to 0.82; air-dry density 44 to 62 pcf.
Mechanical Properties: (First two sets of data based on the 2-in. standard; the third set on the 2-cm standard.)
Moisture content Bending strength Modulus of elasticity Maximum crushing strength
(%) (Psi) (1,000 psi) (Psi)
12% (44) 22,400 2,960 NA
12% (61) 16,400 2,840 NA
12% (71) 29,000 NA NA
Janka side hardness for dry material ranges from 1,600 lb. to 3,200 lb.
Drying and Shrinkage: The wood is very difficult to air-season, prone to severe checking, warping, and collapse; rate of drying is slow. To minimize drying problems, lumber should be quarter-sawn. Kiln schedule T2-C2 is suggested for 4/4 stock and T2-C1 for 8/4. Shrinkage green to ovendry (including collapse): radial 6:4%; tangential 11.7%; volumetric 18.5%.
Working Properties: Generally reported to be difficult to work, particularly the high density species. Tangential surfaces can be finished smoothly but there is a tendency to "tear-out" on radial surfaces.
Durability: Heartwood is reported to have a high natural durability; sapwood is prone to insect and fungal attack.
Preservation: The wood is rated as difficult to treat.
Uses: Flooring, railroad crossties, construction, mine timbers, tight cooperage, boat and ship construction, decorative veneer, and charcoal.
Additional Reading: (44), (61), (71)