Botanical Name: Machaerium epp.

Sometimes referred to by the generic term “iron – wood,” pau ferro has no significant history of use in North America, despite its similarity to the rose­woods. However, with the current extremely limited supply of Brazilian rosewood, pau ferro has assumed a position of greater prominence, particularly for woodworkers. As the rosewoods become scarce, its use will no doubt increase.

Other Names: Caviuna, moradillo, santos rosewood; capote, siete cueros (Colombia); caecaron (Venezuela); chiche (Ecuador); tuseque, morado (Bolivia); jacaranda, jacaranda pardo (Brazil).

Source: South America (primarily Bolivia and Brazil). Characteristics: Straight to irregular grain; fine to coarse texture; heartwood, light to medium brown or purple with dark growth lines; grayish sapwood.

Uses: Turning, musical instruments, fine furniture, cabinetwork and veneers.

Workability: Ranges from fair to good. The dust may cause skin and respiratory problems.

Finishing: Accepts finishes well.

Weight: 49-60 Ib./cu. ft.

Price: Expensive.


Botanical name: Pyrus communis Pearwood is a relatively rare lumber, available in small sizes for highly specialized uses. The tree itself grows to a height of only about 50 feet and is primarily valued for its fruit. In fact, much available pearwood comes from old orchard trees. Because of its fine workability, it is ideal for carving.

Other Name: Swiss pear.

Sources: Europe, U. S.A. and western Asia. Characteristics: Straight grain; very fine, even texture; pinkish-brown.

Uses: Carving, turning, brush backs, recorders, piano keys and decorative veneers.

Workability: Medium; moderate blunting of cutters; excellent turning wood.

Finishing: Excellent, particularly for staining; often dyed black to resemble ebony in veneer form.

Weight: 44 Ib./cu. ft.


Price: Expensive.

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