Common Name(s): Lemonwood, Degame
Scientific Name: Calycophyllum candidissimum
Distribution: Cuba and Central America
Tree Size: 40-80 ft (12-24 m) tall, 1-2 ft (.3-.6 m) trunk diameter
Average Dried Weight: 51 lbs/ft3 (810 kg/m3)
Specific Gravity (Basic, 12% MC): .67, .81
Janka Hardness: 1,880 lbf (8,350 N)
Modulus of Rupture: 22,100 lbf/in2 (152.4 MPa)
Elastic Modulus: 2,284,000 lbf/in2 (15.75 GPa)
Crushing Strength: 9,790 lbf/in2 (67.5 MPa)
Shrinkage: Radial: 4.8%, Tangential: 8.6%, Volumetric: 13.2%, T/R Ratio: 1.8
Color/Appearance: Heartwood is a light brown to pale yellowish color. Sapwood is lighter in color and isn’t clearly demarcated form the hartwood.
Grain/Texture: Grain tends to be straight to slightly interlocked. Fine, uniform texture with a slightly lustrous appearance.
Endgrain: Diffuse-porous; solitary and radial multiples of 2-4 or more; small pores in no specific arrangement, numerous to very numerous; parenchyma absent; narrow rays not visible without lens, spacing fairly close.
Rot Resistance: Mixed reports depending on type of decay fungi; usually rated as moderately durable. Excellent resistance to marine borers.
Workability: Overall working properties are fair, though dry wood is reported to have a high cutting resistance. Lemonwood turns, glues, and finishes well.
Odor: No characteristic odor.
Allergies/Toxicity: Besides the standard health risks associated with any type of wood dust, no further health reactions have been associated with Lemonwood. See the articles Wood Allergies and Toxicity and Wood Dust Safety for more information.
Pricing/Availability: Most quality trees are primarily grown in Cuba, so the wood can be difficult to obtain due to trade restrictions. Lemonwood is sometimes seen for sale as turning blanks, bow stave blanks, and veneer. Prices are likely to be moderately high for an imported wood.
Sustainability: This wood species is not listed in the CITES Appendices or on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.
Common Uses: Archery bows, carvings, turned objects, and fishing rods.
Comments: Not to be confused with the wood from actual lemon trees (Citrus limon), which is not regularly used in woodworking applications. Lemonwood is sometimes referred to as Degame.
Lemonwood has a very good MOR-to-weight ratio, and generally possesses good strength properties, which explains its use in archery bows and fishing rods.
Scans/Pictures: A special thanks to Steve Earis for providing the wood sample of this wood species.