Bulletwood (Manilkara bidentata)

Bulletwood (Manilkara bidentata)

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Common Name(s): Bulletwood, Massaranduba

Scientific Name: Manilkara bidentata

Distribution: Caribbean, Central and South America

Tree Size: 100-150 ft (30-46 m) tall, 2-4 ft (.6-1.2 m) trunk diameter

Average Dried Weight: 67 lbs/ft3 (1,080 kg/m3)

Specific Gravity (Basic, 12% MC): .85, 1.08

Janka Hardness: 3,130 lbf (13,920 N)

Modulus of Rupture: 27,870 lbf/in2 (192.2 MPa)

Elastic Modulus: 3,344,000 lbf/in2 (23.06 GPa)

Crushing Strength: 12,930 lbf/in2 (89.2 MPa)

Shrinkage: Radial: 6.7%, Tangential: 9.4%, Volumetric: 16.8%, T/R Ratio: 1.4

Color/Appearance: Heartwood is a medium to dark reddish brown. Color tends to darken with age. Pale yellow sapwood is clearly differentiated from the heartwood, though not always sharply demarcated.

Grain/Texture: Grain straight to interlocked or wavy. Fine uniform texture with low natural luster.

Endgrain: Diffuse-porous; radial multiples of 2-5 common; medium to large pores, few; tyloses and mineral deposits common; parenchyma diffuse-in-aggregates, reticulate; narrow rays, spacing fairly close.

Rot Resistance: Rated as very durable, with good resistance to most insect attack. Susceptible to marine borers.

Workability: Despite its high density, Bulletwood generally produces good results with both hand and machine tools, though it does exhibit an above-average dulling effect on cutters. Responds well to steam-bending. Can pose challenges in gluing due to high density and oil content.

Odor: No characteristic odor.

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

Pricing/Availability: Infrequently imported, Bulletwood is sometimes available as decking or flooring planks. Expect prices to be in the mid to upper range for an imported hardwood.

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

Common Uses: Heavy construction (within its natural range), decking, flooring, boatbuilding, bent parts, and turned objects.

Comments: Bulletwood is an incredibly strong, dense wood which has good durability in exterior applications.

Related Species:

Related Articles:

Scans/Pictures: A special thanks to Steve Earis for providing the turned photo of this wood species.

Bulletwood (Manilkara bidentata)

Bulletwood (sanded)

Bulletwood (sealed)

Bulletwood (sealed)

Bulletwood (endgrain)

Bulletwood (endgrain)

Bulletwood (endgrain 10x)

Bulletwood (endgrain 10x)

Bulletwood (turned)

Bulletwood (turned)



  1. Pradeep September 6, 2018 at 2:26 pm - Reply

    I made this box out of Massaranduba, and drenched it with normal kitchen linseed oil

  2. bren May 19, 2018 at 6:07 am - Reply

    oil based finish seems to work fine on the windows i made from this timber.

  3. Curtis Clemenson April 1, 2018 at 5:08 pm - Reply

    I am reforesting in Costa Rica. Any idea where I can source the seeds?

    • Frank April 23, 2018 at 6:54 pm - Reply

      Where in Costa Rica? I’m right here in the central valley. Níspero seems like an odd species to plant for commercial purposes so I assume your concerns are environmental. You’d have some more luck looking for the local public universities’ own botanists, TEC and UCR have big groups dedicated to forestry and reforestation.
      Otherwise go look for the trees in the pacific coast, there are still plenty, and you should be able to obtain a seed.

  4. Becky March 15, 2018 at 2:07 pm - Reply

    What product would you recommend to seal the Macaranduba wood?

    • Frank April 23, 2018 at 7:00 pm - Reply

      Nitrocellulose based sanding sealer works best, but you need a spray gun. Other options: water based sealer, shellac. I wouldn’t recommend oil based sealer as that might conflict with the natural oils and make a gooey mess.

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