Guanacaste (Enterolobium cyclocarpum)
Guanacaste (Enterolobium cyclocarpum)

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Common Name(s): Guanacaste, Parota

Scientific Name: Enterolobium cyclocarpum

Distribution: Primarily Central America, as well as Mexico and northern South America

Tree Size: 65-100 ft (20-30 m) tall, 5-8 ft (1.5-2.5 m) trunk diameter

Average Dried Weight: 27 lbs/ft3 (440 kg/m3)

Specific Gravity (Basic, 12% MC): .34, .44

Janka Hardness: 470 lbf (2,100 N)

Modulus of Rupture: 8,640 lbf/in2 (59.6 MPa)

Elastic Modulus: 1,226,000 lbf/in2 (8.46 GPa)

Crushing Strength: 5,390 lbf/in2 (37.2 MPa)

Shrinkage: Radial: 2.2%, Tangential: 4.9%, Volumetric: 7.1%, T/R Ratio: 2.2

Color/Appearance: Heartwood is light to medium brown, sometimes with a reddish hue. Darker streaks of brown are sometimes present. Sapwood is pale yellow and is clearly demarcated from the heartwood.

Grain/Texture: Grain usually slightly interlocked. Very coarse texture. Moderate natural luster.

Endgrain: Diffuse-porous; solitary and radial multiples; very large pores in no specific arrangement, very few; mineral/gum deposits occasionally present; parenchyma vasicentric, confluent; narrow to medium rays, spacing wide.

Rot Resistance: Rated as durable to very durable; mixed insect resistance.

Workability: Easy to work with hand and machine tools. However, tearout is common during planing, and fuzzy surfaces may be seen after machining, especially on quartersawn surfaces. Glues and finishes well.

Odor: No characteristic odor.

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

Pricing/Availability: Because of the large trunk size, very large slabs of natural-edged Guanacaste are not uncommon (and their weight is generally much lighter than other imported hardwoods). Boards and other sawn lumber is also occasionally available. 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: Furniture frames, table slabs, boatbuilding, millwork, and turned objects.

Comments: Guanacaste has a unique appearance and texture, which is mostly due to its very large pores, which give it a somewhat coarse-textured, almost fibrous look.

Related Species:

None available.

Related Articles:

None available.

Scans/Pictures:

Guanacaste (Enterolobium cyclocarpum)
Guanacaste (sanded)

Guanacaste (sealed)
Guanacaste (sealed)

Guanacaste (endgrain)
Guanacaste (endgrain)

Guanacaste (endgrain 10x)
Guanacaste (endgrain 10x)
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Charlie

Hello, great page. Does any one knows what is the ideal humidity to work with parota to avoid twisting or cracking? also, any ideas on diy drying with out an oven?

Alice Bennett

Since this is listed as a hardwood, could it be used as a cutting board? I have a single block 15x8x4 and it seems like a good use for it. I would use Odies Oil to food safe treat it. I would welcome any commments

Tom

I’ve never used it, but its Janka is only 470. That’s too soft for a cutting board in my opinion. For reference, This site has black cherry listed at 950, and walnut at 1,010.

D. Yager

Not good for cutting boards. It’s tempting because the grain/color is nice but it’s too porous and soft. Local woods here in Mexico include mesquite, red euc., primavera, all good for cutting boards.

Brian

As a purely decorative cutting board (how all cutting boards should we used), it will look fine. As a functional one, it is much too soft. Use polypropylene instead.

Michele Herron

My thought was to build my whole house in Costa Rica using Guanacaste lumber to get fungal and insect protection. Is it too light to use for structural???

Alex Smith

this wood would be fine to build a house out of

wendy

Does any one know the moisture setting for this wood on a moisture meter making veneer out of it

Melissa

Does anyone know if we can use this wood to make exterior tables?

cass

the store Timber Woodworking Machinery in Mesa Arizona has plenty, including a few large slabs!

David

In El Salvador used for furniture, doors, beds, shelves. Known as “conacaste”, a word from the local Nahuat language meaning “ear tree” because of the shape of its seed pods (interesting to read about similar usage in Hawaii). As everyone else observes, its sawdust is very irritating to the lungs and eyes. One way to banish bats from a building is to ignite conacaste shavings (sprinkled with a bit of water) in a pan and let them smolder in the building.

Casey Marriott

Parota’s two-tone colouring makes beautiful wooden furniture, which we came across a lot of in Mexico in very large sizes. We’re now working solely with parota wood at https://www.parotas.com, and the natural lustre really shows up well just by sealing it with oils.

Patrick Atanasije Pineda

I just bought a large slab 3.50m x 1.10 going to make a 12 person dining table, any tips or suggestions. How does this wood finish with oil vs polyurethene ?

Lori

Hi
Is Parota wood good for a large exterior double door in Cabo Mexico? We need a hard wood that can resist in high heat and humidity, sun, termites and rot from the sea air.
Thanks

Gisele

Hi Casey,

I am trying to find an expert on the wood. You’re site is beautiful by the way.

I have a slab that is my leather studio work table. I would like to use it without treating it with oil. Should I be concerned that it will ruin? If I need to treat it do you have an oil recommendation that will leave it looking natural as possible without a shine?

Thanks, Gisele

Justine

Hi Gisele, try polyurethane. It gives an amazing finishing while you protect it

Isak Ziegner

We call it “sneeze wood” in Hawaii. Really rough on the lungs. THis wood is really beautiful and can be a look alike for big island koa with its red coloration. Very similar to monkey pod but with the red hue added. It is rather soft and a lot lighter than most other slabs. Goes by “Parota” with most US retailers. Called Ear pod sometimes in Hawaii due to some seriously strange ear shaped seed pods.

Louis Pereira

This is very true. I just finished a high top table with this. Turned out great but during the sanding and planning of this wood I had to keep a dust mask on even with a vacumm connected to the equipment.

Matthew

“No characteristic odor,” huh? The sawdust from this stuff is like cayenne powder. If you’ve got a dustmask on and get just a bit in your nose, you’ll be sneezing the rest of the day.

Andrea Arzensek

that is one beautiful wood!