Cocobolo Wood: Uses, Properties, Pros, and Cons

Cocobolo Wood Uses, Properties, Advantages, and Disadvantages

What is cocobolo wood?

Cocobolo (Dalbergia retusa), also known as Cocobola or Cocabola, is a hardwood species native to Central America.

The Cocobolo tree is up to 60 feet tall, with a 1.5-2 feet trunk diameter. This is one with an exotic appearance and has unique figured grain patterns.

Not only that, but Cocobolo wood also has some good characteristics to be used for several valuable things.

However, this wood also has advantages such as being quite difficult to work with and a high price. Cocobolo wood is commonly used for fine furniture, musical instruments, turnings, knife handles, etc.

The properties of cocobolo wood

Cocobolo has a variety of colors, and you can find brown, yellow, red, and others. It would be the perfect combination to make this wood look beautiful.

The cocobolo sapwood is pale yellow and is great to incorporate into the design. Cocobolo has interlocked to straight grain, has a smooth, even texture, and good natural luster.

It is also a very resistant wood to rot and is resistant to insect attack. However, it is quite a difficult wood to work, as several things can become a challenge. So, prepare and do it well.

Cocobolo wood advantages

Durability: It is a good wood in its resistance to rot and insect attack because Cocobolo wood is considered very durable in resistance to rot and insect attack.

That’s why it seems like you can use this wood for long-term or large-sized wooden projects. Not only that, it seems that you can also use this wood for luxurious and high-quality wooden objects.

So basically, you don’t have to worry about the quality of its durability; after all, this is one of the woods whose prices are in the high range.

Appearance: As I said earlier, this is a wood with an exotic appearance and looks beautiful for some of the reasons.

You can see a unique wood grain figured with various colors, then combined with high quality. It seemed like it would be great to make some furniture or other things out of this wood, and it would be expensive items.

We hope you can find Cocobolo wood with the right look according to the use you want because some things like turned objects need the right wood appearance to make them look fabulous.

Cocobolo wood disadvantages

Fairly difficult to work: Don’t expect to work on Cocobolo wood easily because many things can be a challenge during the process.

For example, the oil content is high, so it can sometimes be a problem during the gluing. Cocobolo wood also has a moderate blunt effect due to its high density.

Not only that,  but you also have to be careful during planning because interlocking grains can cause tear-out.

There are many more problems that you face, and we hope you can solve them well. After the artistry is completed, it can become a luxury item with high artistic value.

Health risk: You have to be careful with Cocobolo wood, especially during the process, because this wood can cause some health effects, although it seems like severe reactions are rare.

It is a wood reported as a sensitizer and can cause several things, such as eye, skin, respiratory irritation, red eyes, nausea, and asthma-like symptoms.

As an exotic wood, this is a significant disadvantage, as it can become a problem during the working process. However, we hope you can prevent health risks by working on wood well and producing good items.

Pricing: It seems like you have to spend more money to get Cocobolo because the price is likely to be quite expensive.

This is because this wood is in limited supply, but its demand is relatively high. As one of the woods in the Dalbergia genus, the Cocobolo price seems to be in the same range as Rosewood.

We hope you can put this wood to good use if you have it. When making a purchase, don’t forget to provide the source, as it may come from a dubious source. Don’t forget to also not to overdo it when using it.

Availability: Using Cocobolo in excess is prohibited, especially in illegal logging because this wood is listed on the IUCN Red List and CITES Appendix II.

The IUCN Red List categorizes Cocobolo as vulnerable due to a significant population reduction of more than 20% in just the last 3 generations.

It is caused due to exploitation and decreased natural range. While CITES Appendix II restricts the entire genus in all Dalbergia species, it also includes finished products made of wood.

So, it would be best if you think again before using this wood.

Cocobolo wood for fine furniture

This is one of the woods that you can use as fine furniture. In addition to having good quality, Cocobolo also has an attractive appearance and is very suitable for use as furniture of ornamental value.

If you use it as fine furniture, it looks like it will be useful to use and make your home look beautiful. However, we don’t seem to recommend making it large-sized furniture.

This is due to the limited availability of Cocobolo wood, and it’s listed as vulnerable on the IUCN Red List. A small table, chair, and others seem sufficient.

Cocobolo wood for musical instruments

Clear musical notes when struck can be produced from the large Cocobolo woodblocks. It’s because of the hardness and density.

Several musical instruments such as clarinets, oboes, and flutes can be used from this wood. Several other things, such as bagpipes, fingerboards, and the entire neck and body of the guitar, can also be used as options in using Cocobolo.

So, it seems this is an exquisite wood for musical instruments. Besides that, it looks like you can also make them into additional musical instruments if needed. However, we think now you should look for other alternative wood.

Cocobolo wood for turnings

Using Cocobolo wood as a turning material is a good option. With this wood, you can make various turned objects of high quality, beautiful, and of high artistic value.

However, since it is a hardwood with a high density, it seems that turnings are not an easy thing to do.

That’s why, make sure you do good planning, including preparing the best quality tools, have a lot of experience, and choosing a good wood appearance.

Make sure you choose Cocobolo wood with a unique and suitable grain figured appearance, according to the turned objects you want to make.

Cocobolo wood for gun grips

If your gun grips are damaged, and you choose the right wood to replace them, then Cocobolo wood can be your choice.

This high-quality wood has good density and hardness, so we thought it was good enough to make sturdy gun grips. Cocobolo wood also has a fine even texture, so you will feel comfortable when using it.

This wood also has a high resistance to rot and is also resistant to insect attack. That seems to be enough to make you believe in Cocobolo’s quality.

Cocobolo wood for knife handles

Cocobolo wood can also be used as knife handles, although this is not the use we recommend.

Just like gun grips, this seems to be a knife handle that is comfortable to use because it has a smooth flat texture.

Not only that, but the Cocobolo knife handles will also have an attractive appearance, although that seems less important in this case.

We also think that Cocobolo is sturdy enough for knife handles due to its density and hardness.