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. Can be confused with genuine mahogany, but andiroba tends to have darker, more reddish brown colored marginal parenchyma bands.
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).