Common Names
Katalox, Mexican ebony
Scientific Name
Swartzia cubensis
Southern Mexico, Central America, and northern South America
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 is usually straight, but can also be irregular or interlocked. With a fine even texture and good natural luster.
Avg. Dried Weight
72 lbs/ft3 (1,150 kg/m3)
Janka Hardness
3660 lbf
Modulus of Rupture
28,010 lbf/in2 (193.2 MPa)
Elastic Modulus
3,715,000 lbf/in2 (25.62 GPa)
Crushing Strength
15,240 lbf/in2 (105.1 MPa)
Radial: 3.9%, Tangential: 7.6%
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.
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.

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