Brazilian Cherry Identification Guide (2024)

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BRAZILIAN CHERRY HARDWOOD IDENTIFICATION GUIDE

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BRAZILIAN CHERRY

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OTHER COMMON NAMES

Brazilian cherry is also commonly known as Jatoba and should not be confused with American cherry.

LATIN NAME

The Latin name for Brazilian cherry is Hymenaea courbaril.

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CHARACTERISTICS - BRAZILIAN CHERRY

The heartwood of Brazilian cherry varies from light orange brown to a dark reddish brown. Darker grayish brown streaks can sometimes be seen on the wood, which darkens over time with exposure to light. The natural color of its sapwood is a light grayish yellow. [1]

MAIN USES - BRAZILIAN CHERRY

Brazilian cherry is commonly used for flooring, furniture, cabinetry, tool handles, shipbuilding, railroad ties, and various turned objects. [1]

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FURNITURE

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CABINETRY

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RAILROAD TIES

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BOAT BUILDING

MILLING

Brazilian cherry’s hardness can pose some problems when it comes to milling, as it can have a blunting effect on both hand and power tools. Due to its interlocking grain, planing can also be problematic because of the possibility of tearout. [1]

HARDWOOD PROPERTIES - BRAZILIAN CHERRY

Its deep, rich color and durability makes Brazilian cherry very popular for use as hardwood flooring material. On the Janka Hardness Scale, Brazilian cherry is the hardest of the most commonly used hardwoods (far exceeding other popular hardwood species like white oak and hickory).

Professional woodworkers note that gluing, turning, finishing, and staining don’t present any problems, but that this exotic hardwood can be notably difficult to work with due to its hardness.

The rot resistance for Brazilian cherry wood is also excellent, as is its resistance to termites and most other insects. [1]

Janka Hardness Scale

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ENVIRONMENTAL PROFILE - BRAZILIAN CHERRY

Brazilian cherry grows widespread throughout southern Mexico and Central America, as well as the northern part of the South American continent and in the West Indies. [1]

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BRAZILIAN CHERRY PRODUCTS AT BAIRD BROTHERS

Baird Brothers Fine Hardwoods is happy to assist with any questions you have about our Brazilian Cherry products, which include Brazilian cherry mouldings, Brazilian cherry S4S lumber, Brazilian Cherry wood flooring (which includes a prefinished options) and a wide variety of other items.

Please call 1-800-732-1697 or Contact Us if you need help with our extensive inventory.

COMPARISON TO OTHER WOOD SPECIES

Source: The Department of Agriculture's Wood Handbook

LumberSpecific GravityJanka HardnessModulus of Elasticity (MPa)Impact Bending (mm)Grain
African Mahogany---830 lb9,700---Medium/Coarse
Alder0.41590 lb9,500510Fine
Ash0.61,320 lb12,0001,090Fine
Basswood0.37410 lb10,100410Fine
Beech0.641,300 lb11,9001,040Fine/Medium
Birch, Yellow0.621,260 lb13,9001,400Fine
Cedar, Western Red0.32350 lb7,700430Fine
Cherry, Brazilian0.912,350 lb22,510---Medium
Cherry0.5950 lb10,300740Fine
Cypress0.51510 lb6,300---Medium
Douglas Fir0.48710 lb12,300660Medium/Coarse
Hemlock0.4540 lb8,300530Coarse
Hickory0.661,820 lb11,9001,120Medium
Maple, Hard0.631,450 lb12,600990Fine
Maple, Soft0.47700 lb7,900640Fine
Oak, Red0.631,290 lb12,5001,090Coarse
Oak, White0.681,360 lb12,300940Coarse
Pine, Eastern White0.35380 lb8,500460Medium
Pine, Ponderosa0.4460 lb8,900480Medium
Pine, Yellow (Shortleaf)0.51690 lb12,100840Fine/Medium
Poplar0.42540 lb10,900610Medium
Sapele0.671,410 lb15,930---Fine
Teak0.661,070 lb10,700---Coarse
Walnut (Black)0.551,010 lb11,600860Medium

*Data is based on a moisture content of 12%.

GLOSSARY

Impact Bending — In the impact bending test, a hammer of given weight is dropped upon a beam from successively increased heights until rupture occurs or the beam deflects 152 mm (6 in.) or more. The height of the maximum drop, or the drop that causes failure, is a comparative value that represents the ability of wood to absorb s hocks that cause stresses beyond the proportional limit.

Janka Hardness — Defined as resistance to indentation using a modified Janka hardness test, measured by the load required to embed a 11.28-mm (0.444-in) ball to one-half its diameter. Values presented are the average of radial and tangential penetrations.

Modulus of Elasticity — Elasticity implies that deformations produced by low stress are completely recoverable after loads are removed. When loaded to higher stress levels, plastic deformation or failure occurs.

Specific Gravity - A measure of the ratio of a wood's density as compared to water. If a wood species had the same density as water, the specific gravity would be 1.00.

SOURCES

  1. “Jatoba”. The Wood Database. Wood-database.com. Accessec Aug 2021.
  2. “Wood Handbook: Wood as an Engineering Material”. fpl.fs.fed.us. April 2010. Accessed Aug 2021.

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Brazilian Cherry Identification Guide (2024)
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