Anybody have experience with Jatoba (Brazilian Cherry)?


I went down to my local hardwood dealer to get some nice wood for the new double vanity I'm building for my bathroom. I had been thinking I would use mahogany, that is until I saw the price of mahogany nowadays. At $8.00/b.f. that seemed pretty steep. I started thinking of maybe going with walnut, but I wasn't sure I'd be happy with that color, and it wasn't that cheap either ($6.50/b.f.).
My dealer suggested using Jatoba (a.k.a. Brazilian Cherry). The wood looked nice and was a good bargain at $3.75/b.f. I've not used it before, but some research shows it is a very tough, dense exotic hardwood. It certainly was heavy.
I'm looking for any experiences with using this wood. I know it is used for flooring a lot, but how is it as a furniture wood? I've done some work with Ipe and hope that Jatoba isn't as much of a pain in the ass, particularly the nasty Ipe dust. How difficult is it to work? What kind of finishes have people used with it? I'm thinking of a film finish for the bathroom usage, would that work with this wood?
It is hard to find visual examples of furniture built with Jatoba. What are your thoughts on how good it would look to build my vanity from it?
Thanks for any thoughts.
-Mark
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On Sat, 21 Jan 2006 15:45:49 -0500, Mark Blum

Very hard wood. What little I've done with it, I've found that it splinters very easily and easily tears out, make sure you use climb cuts at the end of any cuts you are going to have going around end grain. It does finish nicely.
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There is a nice article on woodcentral.com describing a hutch made of Jatoba -- migth be worth a read. Its in the main section under "messages"

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sam_spam snipped-for-privacy@comcast.net says...

Thanks for the pointer. That was indeed an interesting write-up and a beautiful hutch. Obviously after that project the author has extensive experience working with the wood.
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Mark Blum wrote:

Here are some... http://images.google.com/images?hl=en&q=jatoba%20furniture&sa=N&tab=wi
--
dadiOH
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Pretty wicked stuff; I make tools & some furniture out of it. See the
http://www.patwarner.com/images/t_square2.jpg link. Varies considerably from stick to flitch. Heavy, sand and glues well, mills well too. Pretty, best you get everything flat before cutting and joining. If it bends from misuse, you can't flatten it. Ergo, don't do any illegal x-grain gluing . Stuff left unsupported in your assembly may change shape.
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snipped-for-privacy@patwarner.com says...

Thanks for the feedback Pat. I'm curious about your above comments. Do you mean that it will sag under it's own weight? And what kind of misuse will cause it to bend?
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Mark Blum wrote:

I've made a couple of things (bookshelves, parts of an armoire, tables out of the cut up pieces of the cupped and twisted amroire panels ...)
When dry it is brittle (but not as bad as say purpleheart) and may tear out. A large amount of the wood I've bought was not fully dry, and I've seen almost unbelievable movement and collapse in some flatsawn boards. Around here it's pretty common to find 18" wide boards, but rarely dry. It seems stable enough after a year or two in our 15% humidity. But the appearance and dent resistance of the final piece make all the pain worth it.
-MJB
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