Katalox Specs

Scientific Name
Swartzia cubensis
Common Name(s)
Katalox, Mexican ebony
Distribution
Southern Mexico, Central America, and northern South America
Average Dried Weight
72 lbs/ft3 (1,150 kg/m3)
Specific Gravity
Basic: 0.94, 12% MC: 1.15
Janka Hardness
3,660 lbf (16,260 N)
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)
Shrinkage
Radial: 3.9%, Tangential: 7.6%,
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.
Texture
Grain is usually straight, but can also be irregular or interlocked. With a fine even texture and good natural luster.
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). Expect prices to be in the mid to upper range for an imported tropical hardwood.
Sustainability
This wood species is not listed in the CITES Appendices or on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.
Common Uses
Inlays, fine furniture and cabinetry, parquet flooring, guitars, turnings, and other small specialty items.
Comments
Katalox has exceptional strength properties, and is among the very stiffest and strongest woods available worldwide. Its dark color 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.

Katalox Turning Blank Prices

1.5″ x 1.5″ x 12″ Katalox Turning Blank

1.5″ x 1.5″ x 12″ Katalox Turning Blank

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