Other Common Names: Abey, Frijolillo, Jigue, Sabicu (Cuba), Tabernau, Tavernon (Haiti), T'zalam (Mexico).
Distribution: Chiefly a Mexican genus with extensions into Central America, southernmost parts of the United States, and the Greater Antilles.
The Tree: A spreading tree with a rather short trunk, 2 to 3 ft in diameter; sometimes free of branches for 25 ft.
General Characteristics: Heartwood lustrous brown with a coppery or purplish tinge, sometimes faintly striped; sharply demarcated from the thin white sapwood. Texture medium; grain straight to roey; without distinctive odor or taste.
Weight: Basic specific gravity (ovendry weight/green volume) 0.63; air-dry density 48 pcf.
Mechanical Properties: (2-in. standard)
Moisture content Bending strength Modulus of elasticity Maximum crushing strength
(%) (Psi) (1,000 psi) (Psi)
Green (19) 9,500 1,230 NA
12% 12,800 1,900 NA
Janka side hardness 1,320 lb for green material and 1,400 lb at 12% moisture content. Amsler toughness 292 in.-lb for green material and 345 in.-lb at 12% moisture content (2-cm specimen).
Drying and Shrinkage: Reported to air-season slowly. Kiln schedule T3-C2 was used to dry 6/4 and 4/4 stock; the boards were prone to surface and end checking. Shrinkage green to ovendry: radial 2.7%; tangential 7.2%; volumetric 9.5%.
Working Properties: Considered easy to work, finishes smoothly, and takes a high natural polish.
Durability: Heartwood is rated as highly durable.
Preservation: No information available.
Uses: General construction, furniture, wheel wright work, parquet, interior trim, bobbins and shuttles, veneer, and knife handles.
Additional Reading: (19), (56)
19. Echenique-Manrique, R., and V. Diaz Gomez. 1969. Algunas caracteristicas tecnologicas de la madera de once especies Mexicanas. Bol. tec. inst. Nac. Invest. For. Mexico No. 27.
56. Record, S. J., and R. W. Hess. 1949. Timbers of the new world. Yale University Press, New Haven, Conn.
From: Chudnoff, Martin. 1984. Tropical Timbers of the World. USDA Forest Service. Ag. Handbook No. 607.