by Gene Wengert
Andiroba (Carapa guianensis) is found thro ughout
Central and South America, from Cuba to Peru and
As a result, the wood properties and characteristic s also are
variable. This can be a problem in some cases, so, t o avoid
variations, it is probably wise to find a supplier that will be
obtaining its wood from the same geographical location. radially (quartersawn width).
Brazil. It is an extremely tall tree, reaching heights of
100 to 170 feet. Diameters are often 5 to 6 feet. T he central
stem is often straight and free of branches for 50 f eet or
more. As a result, clear lumber is common.
The tree is fairly adaptable, growing in various c limates.
Andiroba grain and color appears identical to Honduras
mahogany, so it is used for fine furniture, cabinetry and Gluing and machining. This wood glues well with all
flooring. Compared to mahogany, andiroba is usually finer conventional adhesives.
textured and has less figured grain. Finishing is easier with Machining is average for such a dense wood. As always,
this finer grain. Andiroba is also heavier, stronger and stiffer, tools should be fairly sharp.
but does not have the exceptional stability of mahogany.
Lumber prices are less than for mahogany, but availability is Stability. This wood is as stable as most North American
more limited. hardwoods, requiring a 4 percent MC change to produce a 1
This wood is subject to powder-post beetle attacks, so percent size change tangentially and a 9 percent MC change
fumigation or other treatment when imported is prudent. for a 1 percent size change radially, although there is some
variability depending on the site where grown.
It is wise to check the incoming MC to assure that no
movement will occur in use.
Density. Kiln-dried andiroba has an average density of 44 Strength. Andiroba is fairly strong. The ultimate strength
pounds per cubic foot. A board foot will weigh about 3-3/4 (MOR) is 11, 100 psi. It is also fairly stiff; the MOE is 1. 56
pounds at 6 percent MC. Honduras mahogany has a density million psi. The hardness is average for a hardwood — 1,060
of 32 pounds per cubic foot. Cherry is 33 pounds per cubic pounds.
foot. It does have a tendency to split when nailed or screwed,
so predrilling of the holes is suggested, especially when
fastening near the ends of a piece.
Drying. Drying is reported to be variable, depending on
the wood’s characteristics. Some wood dries slowly with
a tendency to check and split, while other (probably lower
density) wood dries much easier with fewer defects.
Shrinkage from green to 6 percent MC is 6 percent
tangentially (width of flatsawn lumber) and 2-1/2 percent
Color and grain. The heartwood is salmon-colored
when first cut but darkens considerably when exposed to
light after drying. Color is variable at times. Texture is fine
in most cases. ▲