Astronium fraxinifolium, Astronium graveolens
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Goncalo Alves is known at least as commonly by its popular nickname, “Tigerwood” — given for its orange-hued primary color, and the dark striped (black or dark brown) which often decorates its surface. Its great durability, impressive strength, stiffness and hardness, generally cooperative working properties (although it can be difficult to glue, due to a high natural oil content), large tree sizes — which yield sizable boards — and regular supply, are factors which contribute to making Goncalo Alves a very popular choice among Central & South American woods made available to domestic markets in the US.
Grains can be wavy, interlocked or sometimes straight; its texture is fine, with a good natural luster.
Sustainability: Not listed in the CITES Appendices or on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.
Common Uses: Flooring, veneer, furniture, cabinetry, electric and acoustic guitar building, carving, turned objects, electric and acoustic guitar building, and other small wood specialty objects.
Comments: The woods turns easily and finishes nicely, so, combined with its unique appearance (for such applications), it is a popular choice with furniture builders, as well as wood turners and carvers, alike.
It has become increasingly more popular with guitar builders in this new millennium, as Goncalo Alves has a nice density and resonance, and large boards are frequently obtainable at reasonable prices. Premium-quality pieces will display mottled or sometimes even, ironically (and more rare), tiger-striped figuring. 🙂
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