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Katalox

Katalox has exceptional strength properties, and is among the very stiffest and strongest woods available worldwide. Its dark colour makes it a popular substitute for ebony, and the wood is sometimes called Mexican Royal Ebony, though it is not a true ebony in the Diospyros genus.

Thicknesses

Subject to availability

4/4
5/4
6/4
7/4
8/4
9/4
10/4
12/4
16/4
20/4
1/2"
3/4"
1"

Distribution

Southern Mexico, Central America, and Northern South America

Scientific Name

Swartzia spp. (S. cubensis)

Specific Gravity: Basic 

0.94

Specific Gravity: 12% MC

1.15

Janka Hardness

3660

Colour/Appearance

Heartwood is dark reddish brown to nearly black, sometimes with a strong purple hue. Sapwood is sharply demarcated and is pale yellowish white. Pieces with curly or wavy grain are not uncommon.

Grain/Texture

Grain is usually straight, but can also be irregular or interlocked. With a fine even texture and good natural luster.

Endgrain

Diffuse-porous; medium to large pores, very few to few; solitary and radial multiples of 2-3; mineral/gum deposits occasionally present; parenchyma winged, confluent, and banded; narrow rays, fairly close spacing.

Rot Resistance

Varies depending upon species, but generally very durable. Heartwood is usually considered to have a high resistance to decay and termites; though it is susceptible to marine borers.

Workability

Katalox is typically considered difficult to work on account of its high density. The wood has a moderate to high blunting effect on cutters, and if there is interlocked grain present, tearout can occur during planing. Can be troublesome to glue because of its high density and natural oils present.

Odor

Katalox has a very faint odor when being worked.

Allergies/Toxicity

Katalox has been reported to cause respiratory irritation in some individuals.

Pricing/Availability

Usually available in turning squares or as figured lumber (generally with a large amount of sapwood present).

Sustainability

This wood species is not listed in the CITES Appendices or on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.
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