Goncalo Alves (Astronium graveolens)
Goncalo Alves (Astronium graveolens)

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Common Name(s): Goncalo Alves, Tigerwood, Jobillo

Scientific Name: Astronium spp. (A. graveolens and A. fraxinifolium)

Distribution: From Mexico southward to Brazil

Tree Size: 100-130 ft (30-40 m) tall, 3-5 ft (1-1.5 m) trunk diameter

Average Dried Weight: 57 lbs/ft3 (905 kg/m3)

Specific Gravity (Basic, 12% MC): .80, .91

Janka Hardness: 2,170 lbf (9,640 N)

Modulus of Rupture: 16,970 lbf/in2 (117.0 MPa)

Elastic Modulus: 2,401,000 lbf/in2 (16.56 GPa)

Crushing Strength: 10,770 lbf/in2 (74.2 MPa)

Shrinkage: Radial: 4.2%, Tangential: 7.8%, Volumetric: 11.2%, T/R Ratio: 1.9

Color/Appearance: Heartwood is typically a medium reddish brown with irregularly spaced streaks of dark brown to black. Color tends to darken with age.

Grain/Texture: Grain can be straight, but is usually wavy or interlocked. Fine, uniform texture with good natural luster.

Endgrain: Diffuse-porous; medium to large pores in no specific arrangement, few; solitary and radial multiples of 2-3; tyloses and other heartwood deposits common; growth rings indistinct; narrow rays visible without lens, normal spacing; parenchyma vasicentric.

Rot Resistance: Goncalo Alves has excellent weathering properties, and is rated as very durable regarding decay resistance.

Workability: Goncalo Alves is generally not too difficult to work, despite its high density. Figured pieces with irregular grain can pose a challenge in planing and machining operations. Goncalo Alves can also have a moderate blunting effect on cutters. The wood is very resistant to moisture absorption, which can make it difficult to glue. Goncalo Alves turns and finishes well.

Odor: No characteristic odor.

Allergies/Toxicity: Although severe reactions are quite uncommon, Goncalo Alves has been reported as a sensitizer. Usually most common reactions simply include eye and skin irritation. See the articles Wood Allergies and Toxicity and Wood Dust Safety for more information.

Pricing/Availability: Widely available in a variety of widths and lengths as both lumber and veneer, as well as smaller craft blanks. Prices should be moderate 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: Flooring, veneers, furniture, cabinetry, carving, turned objects, and other small wood specialty objects such as: pool cues, archery bows, knife handles, etc.

Comments: Goncalo Alves is commonly referred to as “Tigerwood” or “Brazilian Tigerwood” among flooring dealers. The wood has superb stiffness, strength, hardness, and durability. However, density and other mechanical properties can vary widely depending on the growing site and source region. The name “Jobillo” is sometimes used to refer to higher grades of Goncalo Alves among woodturners.

Related Species:

None available.

Related Articles:

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

Goncalo Alves (Astronium graveolens)
Goncalo Alves (sanded)

Goncalo Alves (sealed)
Goncalo Alves (sealed)

Goncalo Alves (endgrain)
Goncalo Alves (endgrain)

Goncalo Alves (endgrain 10x)
Goncalo Alves (endgrain 10x)

Goncalo Alves (turned)
Goncalo Alves (turned)

Goncalo Alves (19" x 6.0")
Goncalo Alves (19″ x 6.0″)
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Kevin Kempton

Tigerwood is an all around nice wood to work with. Doesn’t take a high polish but is more than good enough for most applications. The end grain is nice and tight and does not seem to check very much. You have to be a little cautious when morticing near the stripes since it splits a bit more easily along those color boundaries. Probably not the best choice for carving due to weakness along color boundaries. . Has a really nice look in the right applications.

william jackson

Makes a pretty resonator guitar. Known as ron-ron where i live in costa rica

Kristian Heim

I built a classical guitar using Goncalo Alves. i love how it turns out. It is a bit challenging to work with. I found it a bit brittle and with considerable springback after bending. The light and dark areas also have a bit different characteristics when you work it.


william jackson

Beautiful ! I build classicals and acoustic guitars, but mostly use  Platymiscium  called Cristobal here. They make marimba keys from it . Called “the wood that sings” I use cocobolo too, but the cristobal has the best tone i’ve ever heard from any body-sides and back wood.

Michael Ross

I like Goncalo Alves, but it is not perfect. The color is warm and it finishes with a luxurious luster. I found it to be be brittle like a red cedar though not that bad, and interlocked enough to make it hard to find boards that don’t require special effort in place. Of course the effort pieces are the most interesting, but it wants to grab the plane edge and chunk out. I was trying to use a router plane on it and for rebates it was poor, but housing dadoes not too bad. This is the brittleness showing up.… Read more »

Timothy Terwilliger

I bought this wood to make a custom sign for a friend. My CNC machine malfunctioned and ruined the sign. So I made this Hei Matau (Polynesian fish hook) instead.

Mark L Robinson

Just purchased a custom Martin Guitar with Goncalo Alves back and sides. It is lovely to look at and has amazing tone and volume.

Randy Madison

Hi Mark, I’d love to see a picture of the Martin back! I have a 1980 D-28 and love it! I wish I could hear the tone with the Goncalo Alves. The East Indian Rosewood, became the high end standard in my mind. I had only been playing for a couple years before I bought the Martin and I love the tone, especially after 29 years! Randy


Hard, but very nice workability!
Would be nice to have Muiracatiara or Muiricatiara under “Common Names” so that it can be found searching with that name. That’s what it’s called here in Northeast Brazil.
I made a nice turned leg table with this.

Steven Ward Jr.

This is the first piece of goncalvo alves I have had the pleasure of turning. It was very easy to work, sand, and finish. Thanks to the distinctive striping and beautiful finishing characteristics I only had this completed for two hours before it sold.


It turns a very nice pen as well. Jr Gentleman in Goncalo Alves.

Willy Cordero

beautiful wood to work with, easy to cut and drill. Sanding is great with great finish.

Vladimir Gorbachev

aka Zorro

Jennifer C

This is a really lovely wood that has a beautiful chatoyance to it. These are sealed with two coats of CA and 12 coats of tru-oil. It is difficult to find with this much striping to it.

Billy T. Richison

These are beautiful grips! I have a pair on my Sig Sauer P238 but they don’t have the amount of striping these have. Well done!

Jennifer C

Thank you!


I agree these look very nice. I got a set of three finger grips like these but with a Tung Oil finish for my .4.2″ 357 SP101. I will probably get a two finger set if I get the snub nose version of the SP101.

Jennifer C

It is a really beautiful wood with a nice chatoyance to it! Seems to be difficult to find with nice stripping though; these were an exception.

Brendan McCormick

I agree with the blunting effect on tools. However, if you get a nice piece, it’s definitely worth it. one of my favourites and you can usually get a piece to work with for a good price. here is a platter/bowl that i did.

Vivien Hall

I am new to woodturning and I just used this wood to make a tea-light
holder. It was harder than the usual woods I turn but has come out
beautifully. I would use this wood again but you do need very sharp

Vivien Hall

I am new to woodturning and I just used this wood to make a tea-light holder. It was harder than the usual woods I turn but has come out beautifully. I would use this wood again but you do need very sharp tools.