Redheart (Erythroxylon mexicanum)

Redheart (Erythroxylum spp.)

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Common Name(s): Redheart, Chakte Kok

Scientific Name: Erythroxylum spp. (syn. Erythroxylon spp.) and Simira spp. (syn. Sickingia spp.)

Distribution: Southern Mexico to southern Brazil and Paraguay

Tree Size: 50-65 ft (15-20 m) tall, 1-1.5 ft (.3-.5 m) trunk diameter

Average Dried Weight: 40 lbs/ft3 (640 kg/m3)

Specific Gravity (Basic, 12% MC): .52, .64

Janka Hardness: 1,210 lbf (5,380 N)

Modulus of Rupture: 14,320 lbf/in2 (98.7 MPa)

Elastic Modulus: 1,497,000 lbf/in2 (10.32 GPa)

Crushing Strength: 6,690 lbf/in2 (46.2 MPa)

Shrinkage: Radial: 2.8%, Tangential: 8.2%, Volumetric: 10.6%, T/R Ratio: 2.9

Color/Appearance: Aptly named, in some instances freshly surfaced Redheart can be a very bright, watermelon red—though color can vary in intensity and hue from board to board: anywhere from a light orange/pink, (similar to Pink Ivory), to a darker brownish red. In some cases, it can look quite similar to Bloodwood, though usually with a more visible and figured grain pattern. Redheart’s vibrant color quickly fades to a reddish brown in direct sunlight, though this color change can be slowed (but usually not stopped entirely) by using a finish with UV inhibitors, and keeping the wood away from strong lighting.

Grain/Texture: Redheart has very small pores, and a fine, even texture. The grain is usually straight, but pieces with wild or curly grain are sometimes seen.

Endgrain: Diffuse-porous; small to very small pores arranged predominantly in radial multiples of 2-5; growth rings indistinct; rays not visible without lens; parenchyma varies by species: sometimes rare or absent, or vasicentric and weakly aliform (winged).

Rot Resistance: Laboratory tests have shown Redheart to be moderately durable to attack by decay fungi.

Workability: Redheart has good working characteristics, and planes, machines, and sands well. Turns, glues, and finishes well, though a brown color shift is to be expected.

Odor: Redheart can have a distinct, rubber-like smell when being worked depending on species.

Allergies/Toxicity: There have been no adverse health effects associated with Redheart. See the articles Wood Allergies and Toxicity and Wood Dust Safety for more information.

Pricing/Availability: Tends to be on the medium to high side for an import. Most prefer the less expensive lumber of Bloodwood due to is similar coloring (which tends to retain its color slightly better), and higher density and strength. Redheart should compare in price similarly to rosewoods such as Cocobolo.

Sustainability: This wood species is not listed in the CITES Appendices or on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.

Common Uses: No data available.

Comments: Although Chakte Kok and Redheart are from two different genera, (Simira and Erythroxylum, respectively) the working properties and appearance of the two are so close, and both have so poorly documented scientific data, (both Simira salvadorensis and Erythroxylum mexicanum are currently unrecognized species at GRIN), the two different species and genera have been combined on this page for the sake of simplicity and consolidation. Wood retailers will sometimes sell the two woods interchangeably.

The scans show examples of what is labeled as Redheart, while the mechanical data numbers reference the wood referred to as Chakte Kok.

Related Species:

None available.

Related Articles:


Redheart (sanded)

Redheart (sanded)

Redheart (sealed)

Redheart (sealed)

Redheart (endgrain)

Redheart (endgrain)

Redheart (endgrain 10x)

Redheart (endgrain 10x)

Redheart, Curly Maple, Sapele (turned)

Redheart, Curly Maple, Sapele (turned)