Andiroba (Carapa spp.)

Andiroba (Carapa spp.)

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Common Name(s): Andiroba, Crabwood

Scientific Name: Carapa spp. (Carapa guianensis, etc.)

Distribution: Central and South America

Tree Size: 80-100 ft (25-30 m) tall, 2-3 ft (.6-1.0 m) trunk diameter

Average Dried Weight: 41 lbs/ft3 (660 kg/m3)

Specific Gravity (Basic, 12% MC): .56, .66

Janka Hardness: 1,220 lbf (5,430 N)

Modulus of Rupture: 15,580 lbf/in2 (107.4 MPa)

Elastic Modulus: 1,965,000 lbf/in2 (13.55 GPa)

Crushing Strength: 8,220 lbf/in2 (56.7 MPa)

Shrinkage: Radial: 3.1%, Tangential: 7.6%, Volumetric: 10.4%, T/R Ratio: 2.5

Color/Appearance: Heartwood tends to be a pale reddish brown, darkening with age to a medium to dark brown. Sapwood is a lighter pink or pale brown, not always demarcated from heartwood. Quartersawn surfaces exhibit a ribbon-like appearance similar to Sapele.

Grain/Texture: Andiroba has a uniform, fine to medium texture with a medium natural luster and a straight grain, though the grain is sometimes wavy or interlocked.

Endgrain: Diffuse-porous; medium pores in no specific arrangement; solitary and radial multiples of 2-3; mineral deposits occasionally present; growth rings distinct due to marginal parenchyma; rays visible without lens; parenchyma vasicentric and banded.

Rot Resistance: Andiroba is considered moderately durable to very durable regarding decay resistance, though it can be susceptible to insect attack. Weathering characteristics are similar to Honduran Mahogany.

Workability: Overall Andiroba is easy to work with both hand and machine tools. Sometimes pieces with interlocked grain will experience tearout during surfacing operations. Andiroba also has a moderate blunting effect on tool cutters. Andiroba has an increased risk of warping and other drying defects, partially because of its high T/R ratio (2.5). Andiroba glues, finishes, and turns well.

Odor: No characteristic odor.

Allergies/Toxicity: Although severe reactions are quite uncommon, Andiroba has been reported to cause eye and skin irritation, as well as sneezing. See the articles Wood Allergies and Toxicity and Wood Dust Safety for more information.

Pricing/Availability: Seldom available in the United States, Andiroba makes an economical Mahogany substitute where it is available. Andiroba is used in both lumber and veneer form.

Sustainability: Andiroba is not listed in the CITES Appendices or on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, although a single species from Ecuador, Carapa megistocarpa, is listed as endangered due to a population reduction of over 50% in the past three generations, caused by a decline in its natural range.

Common Uses: Veneer, plywood, cabinetry, furniture, flooring, interior trim, and turned objects.

Comments: Frequently touted as a substitute for Mahogany, Andiroba tends to be a bit blander and less stable than Mahogany, (though once the initial drying process is complete, Andiroba remains fairly stable).

Related Species:

None available.

Related Articles:

Scans/Pictures:

Andiroba (Carapa spp.)

Andiroba (sanded)

Andiroba (sealed)

Andiroba (sealed)

Andiroba (endgrain)

Andiroba (endgrain)

Andiroba (endgrain 10x)

Andiroba (endgrain 10x)

  • Rob Kaufman

    Five years ago I built a house in St Croix, USVI. All of the doors and windows were manufactured with Andiroba. These windows and doors began developing mushrooms about 2 years after installation. We kept cleaning off the mushrooms and have now discovered that they have begus to rot from the inside out meaning the center of the rails. By the time you discover it the center is already pulpy. Do you have a reason why this could be happening?

  • Francisco Arias

    Rob,

    Andiroba is a considered to be a precious & exotic wood specie. It is very workable and durable when used for interiors. However, all wood species are susceptible to fungus, rot & decay if misused.

    I’m from Nicaragua and I’d say that 70% to 80% of the doors are currently being made from Andiroba (before it was all Spanish Cedar).

    I would guess tha in St. Croix has a very high humidity . If the wood is constantly being hit by rain (and sun for that matter) the perfect setting is created for bacteria and fungus Growth.

    For any exterior application you would need to have kiln dried wood (preferably species that are more water resistant) and of course apply any type of sealing treatment. Otherwise you will always have this problem.

    Hope this helps.

    Francisco

  • Mark Sellergren

    I also have Andiroba doors and windows, actually from the same manufacturer as Rob. We’ve had these in about 5 years, with the same issues as Rob mentioned. The problem seems to be direct-moisture related and thus far, four windows and one door out of a 16 windows and 11 doors have mushrooms and rot, from rain exposure. All the inside doors and doors with plenty of protection from gallery are still perfect. Mushrooms and rot started in the first year. Thus, I would say Andiroba is not perfectly suitable. In another house, we had Spanish Cedar, still in fine shape after 25 years since acquisition as well as a true mahogany, which stands up better than Andiroba, clearly.

  • Rob Kaufman

    Five years ago I built a house in St Croix, USVI. All of the doors and
    windows were manufactured with Andiroba. These windows and doors began
    developing mushrooms about 2 years after installation. We kept cleaning
    off the mushrooms and have now discovered that they have begus to rot
    from the inside out meaning the center of the rails. By the time you
    discover it the center is already pulpy. Do you have a reason why this
    could be happening?

  • Michael

    What I would like to know in both cases of the rot; had the windows and door been well preserved and coated with a finish like Sadolin or Sika and of course been maintained?