Cocobolo is a truly exquisite exotic wood that remains in high demand with fine furniture craftsmen and guitar luthiers, alike. It is renowned for its often amazing array of colors and for being an extremely dense, stable and durable wood (making it well suited for both major industry applications). It is a true rosewood, with a density second only to African Blackwood.
The wood has been somewhat maligned, perhaps unfairly, due to what many claim to be the toxicity of its dust (due to this, many luthiers refuse to work with it). Our experience has shown that Cocobolo produces a huge, dense volume of dust, when being sanded. We find this dust to be no more “toxic” than any other true Dalbergia rosewood, with such affects being attributable more to the sheer mass of dust created than anything unusually threatening about the dust’s chemical makeup.
This species is in CITES Appendix II, and is on the IUCN Red List. It is listed as “Vulnerable,” due to a population reduction of over 20% in the past three generations.
There has been a lot of heavy poaching going on throughout Central America — particularly in Mexico — and this wood is the most coveted in the entire region. Get this wood while you can, as its exportation will more than likely only become more restricted in the near future.
Cocobolo is a wood that many guitar luthiers continue to turn to, as the remaining remnants of Brazilian Rosewood in the US disappear. Examples from the western mountains of Costa Rica and particularly, Nicaragua can boast some incredible colors — covering the entire spectrum. Mexican Cocobolo and the Nicaraguan “Black Coco” are the two preferred varieties with furniture craftsmen. As previously mentioned, the wood does put off an unusually dense volume of dust when being sanded. Be sure to cover your eyes and wear a respirator when sanding, and blow out your shop or work area after working with it. (You might even want to wear a long-sleeved shirt.) Take these precautions and you shouldn’t experience any ill health-related issues.
Why We Love This Wood
The rich color palette just oozes sophistication...
A Popular Choice in
|Main Color Group||Dark Brown, Variegated|
|Avg Dry Weight - LB/BF||5.8|
|Avg Dry Weight - KG/M3||1095|
|Janka Hardness - LBF||2960|
|Janka Hardness - N||14140|