Lonchocarpus spp., especially Lonchocarpus castilloi, but also L. hedyosmus,
L. sericeus, and L. rugosus all of the family Fabaceae (syn Leguminosae) the legume, pea, or bean family
COMMON NAMES: balche
(mexico), barbasco (peru), black cabbage bark, cabbage bark, chaperno
(guatemala), guaimaro, haiari (guyana), imbira de sapo, macaratu (colombia),
marajagua (venezuela), mayan walnut, sindajapl, sindjaple (surinam), sindjaple,
COLOR: The heartwood is
yellowish brown to dark reddish brown, frequently striped with rather fine
uniform parenchyma laminations of lighter color. The thick and sharply
demarcated sapwood is a generally unattractive yellowish brown.
GRAIN: straight to irregular, or interlocked.
TEXTURE: medium coarse texture with a low to medium luster
PROPERTIES / WORKABILITY: a fairly hard, heavy, dense, and strong
wood, it works well with both hand and machine tools, saws, nails and glues
well, takes screws well, good for carving, sands well. OK for routing and
mortising, bores well, planes well, turns well, sands well. Sometimes natural
resins may make turning and planing a bit of a problem. Some reports recommend
pre-boring for nails and screws. Interlocked grain can sometimes cause difficulty
DURABILITY: Performance against attack by decay fungi
is reported to be determined by the amount of resin in the wood. Heartwood
resistance is rated as generally moderate, and could last up to 15 years in
contact with the ground without any chemical protection, but this reportedly
varies considerably with species, with L. castilloi reported to be very
resistant to fungus and insect attack, L. hedyosmus moderately resistant, and L.
sericeus susceptible to attack.
Most reports say that most species in
the genus are rather difficult to treat with wood preservatives, some say the
heartwood has moderate response to preservative penetration but sapwood is to be
highly permeable to preservatives.
FINISH: takes finishes well
--- one report says "except polyurethane", but that has not been my experience.
One report says that finishing highlights irregularities in the grain to make
the normally dull wood rather attractive. I've been able to bring it to a fairly
strong natural shine, and I've had no problems with polyurethane finish.
STABILITY: medium movement in service
high bending strength
ODOR: no characteristic odor or taste.
SOURCES: Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Guyana,
Honduras, Mexico, Panama, Peru, Suriname, Venezuela
bent parts, boat building (general), bridge construction, building construction,
building materials, cabin construction, cabinetmaking, chairs, chests, common
uses, construction, crossties, desks, dining-room furniture, domestic flooring,
drawer sides, factory construction, factory flooring, fine furniture, flooring,
furniture, furniture components, furniture squares or stock, hatracks, heavy
construction, kitchen cabinets, light construction, living-room suites, mine
timbers, office furniture, parquet flooring, poles, radio - stereo - tv
cabinets, railroad ties, rustic furniture, stereo, stools, sub-flooring, tool
handles, turnery, uses: heavy construction, utility furniture, vehicle parts,
wardrobes, wheel spokes, wheels,
TREE: heights of up to 100 feet
with trunk diameters of 16 to 40 inches, low buttressed with clear boles to 60
ft., grows on open hillsides and dry plains at lowlands or at medium elevations.
The tree is also reported to be localized in high forests and marsh forests on
alluvial flats in Surinam.
WEIGHT: 46 to 60 pounds per cubic foot
DRYING: generally reported to dry satisfactorily although one
report says it is moderately difficult to dry. The rate varies from slow to
rapid, depends upon the species. Distortion and shrinkage are reported to be
minimal if the material is dried slowly, otherwise there can be splitting
- - - - - - - - - - - - -
Compression wood is reported to be common.
(lumber and veneer) produced from this species are reported to be available from
a salvaged, recycle, or a sustainable managed source.
The sapwood is
prone to blue-stain
Like pink ivory, maichi chi can only be harvested
after a natural disaster and is quite hard to come by