Nyatoh (Palaquium spp.)
Nyatoh (Palaquium spp.)

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Common Name(s): Nyatoh

Scientific Name: Palaquium spp., Payena spp.

Distribution: India through Southeast Asia to the Philippines, New Guinea, and the Western Pacific Islands

Tree Size: 100-130 ft (30-40 m) tall, 2-3 ft (.6-1 m) trunk diameter

Average Dried Weight: 39 lbs/ft3 (620 kg/m3)

Specific Gravity (Basic, 12% MC): .53, .62

Janka Hardness: 1,070 lbf (4,760 N)

Modulus of Rupture: 13,920 lbf/in2 (96.0 MPa)

Elastic Modulus: 1,939,000 lbf/in2 (13.37 GPa)

Crushing Strength: 7,890 lbf/in2 (54.4 MPa)

Shrinkage: Radial: 3.2%, Tangential: 5.5%, Volumetric: 8.7%, T/R Ratio: 1.7

Color/Appearance: Heartwood can be pale pink to reddish or purplish brown. Sapwood is lighter colored, and not clearly delineated from heartwood.

Grain/Texture: Has a typically straight to shallowly interlocking grain. Texture is moderately fine.

Endgrain: Diffuse-porous; medium to very large pores in radial or diagonal arrangement, very few to few; commonly in radial multiples of 2-3; tyloses and other reddish brown gum deposits occasionally present; growth rings indistinct; narrow rays not visible without lens, spacing normal to fairly close; parenchyma diffuse-in-aggregates, and depending on species, marginal.

Rot Resistance: Rated as non-durable and is susceptible to insect attack.

Workability: Some species within these genera have high silica content and will rapidly dull cutting edges. Those not containing silica work fairly easily, though there still tends to be gum buildup on tools.

Odor: Reported to give off a sour smell when being worked.

Allergies/Toxicity: Working with Nyatoh has been reported to cause irritation to mucous membranes. See the articles Wood Allergies and Toxicity and Wood Dust Safety for more information.

Pricing/Availability: Nyatoh is considered a utility wood in the native regions where it grows. It is not commonly seen or sold in the United States.

Sustainability: Nyatoh is not listed in the CITES Appendices, but a number of species in the Palaquium genus are on the IUCN Red List; most are listed as vulnerable due to a population reduction of over 20% in the past three generations, caused by a decline in its natural range, and exploitation.

Common Uses: Furniture, plywood, and interior joinery.

Comments: The two genera, Palaquium and Payene, are closely related and have very similar characteristics: though when dealing with specific data, (as seen above), it only reflects the average values from a number of species. A latex material called gutta-percha has been harvested from trees in the Palaquium genus, though its use today has been largely supplanted by synthetic materials.

Related Species:

None available.

Related Articles:


Nyatoh (Palaquium spp.)
Nyatoh (sanded)
Nyatoh (sealed)
Nyatoh (sealed)
Nyatoh (endgrain)
Nyatoh (endgrain)
Nyatoh (endgrain 10x)
Nyatoh (endgrain 10x)

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Gary PriceEmilyMattHolger HansenGregory Curtis Holmberg Recent comment authors
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guys which wood is better for the body of a shred/metal/rock guitar? Nyatoh or Mahoghany? difference in tone? thanks a lot!


Well, fwiw, Ibanez uses it on their Axion Label guitars designed for metal

Gary Price
Gary Price

There is no difference. You could use Alder or Poplar and get the same tone because you don’t get any sonic change at all from a piece of wood. Strings and pickups are your concerns. Grab you a DiMarzio Fred for the neck and a Seymour Duncan Black Winter or Pegasus and you will be good to go. You might also like active pickups, SD blackouts might be a tad better than the EMG stuff.

Holger Hansen
Holger Hansen

I’ve just finished an acoustic guitar using nyotah for the back and sides. Haven’t played it yet but the tap tone sounds good.

Gregory Curtis Holmberg
Gregory Curtis Holmberg

I’ve seen Nyatoh used on electric guitar necks in a style of guitar that would usually use Mahogany. The Ibanez AS83 uses Nyatoh, and is essentially a copy of a Gibson ES-335, which uses Mahogany. Compared to Mahogany, Nyatoh is a little bit denser (620 vs. 590), but significantly stiffer (13.37 vs. 10.06). The added stiffness makes it great for necks. This is even stiffer than the other wood commonly used for necks, Hard Maple (12.62). This combination of density and stiffness give Nyatoh one of the best sound energy radiation coefficients of the woods commonly used for necks. Nyatoh’s… Read more »