I'm building a new workbench and can make the top out of Jatoba for about
$65 more than Hard Maple would cost. I know Jatoba is extremely hard so that
seems like a good reason to go with it but I haven't heard of people using
Has anyone got thoughts on this?
How does it glue up?
Should I use Gorilla glue or is regular carpenters glue good enough?
Is there any reason not to use it?
Any thoughts appreciated. Thanx
No personal experience, but from what I've read about Jatoba, it would make
a good workbench top - it's 125% harder than red oak and has similiar
toughness to ash and hickory. It's reputed to have a severe blunting effect
on tools, and an interlocked grain which makes it difficult to plane well,
but it glues well.
Whether you could justify using an increasingly dwindling resource such as
this beautiful tropical hardwood for the top of a workbench is a moot point,
and I think I'd be inclined to go along with your other suggestion of maple,
which at least you know to come from a well-managed and renewable forestry
Best of luck with your project.
The only reference I could find to availability was that it was hard to find in
the U.S. In its native range, it's used for just about any construction project
and is listed as suitable for all types of woodworking that oak is suitable
"Man is a reasoning rather than a reasonable animal."
For sure, there are a lot of sites offering Jatoba for flooring and
staircases as well, and I note that it's used quite a lot for railroad ties
(we call them sleepers) in its home environment.
Goodness knows I'm no greenie tree-hugger, and the particular tree(s) that
Norm's timber came from is obviously long defunct, so he's not going to
decimate the Amazonian rainforest any further by buying it. But I 'd like
to think that it didn't die in vain, and that he'd use it to make something
beautiful and lasting. There are a lot cheaper and just-as-effective
eco-friendly timbers that we can use for our workbenches. A respect-thing
for the timber if that doesn't sound too pompous.
While searching around for info, I note that there are all sorts of
medicinal uses for Jatoba, so if Norm goes ahead, and he's unfortunate
enough to need a remedy for Ache(Stomach), Arthritis, Asthma, Athlete's
Foot, Bladder, Bronchitis, Bursitis, Cough, Cystitis, Decongestant, Energy,
Fever, Fungicide, Laryngitis, Prostatitis or he needs a General Tonic, why,
he may be able to saw off small lumps of his workbench and make herbal tea
Hope you and your family have a good festive season after your recent
A friend of mine and I started on exactly this same path
a few weeks ago, as he really needed a good workbench. We ended
up using Pecan, though, as it was "only" $2.00/BF, and, came in
8/4 thickness, so the number of glue lines was halved.
After some mulling it over, I recommended Titebond II,
although I had seriously considered Gorilla Glue. I came to
this decision MAINLY because I find that Gorilla Glue a tad
brittle when set. The Titebond II is not only water resistant,
but, is just slightly flexible, so likely to take impact a
FWW, I would probably be inclined to make the bench
out of the Maple, both because of the environmental issues
and because of the color issues. That is a pretty massive
item, and, it is really going to darken the shop down.
However, with a base of Walnut or something like that, it
is going to be ONE nice looking bench and should give you
a lifetime of excellent service.
Tough heavy, relatively inexpensive, good looking gift from the Gods.
Made five samples in
Material: 5/4. Did get some changes in shape after assembly. Once
potato chipped in shape, you can't flatten.
Would I make a bench top with it? Think I'd make a small one first, a
If you have the time, see if it stays flat with your hold-down method.
If it does, I'd commit to a full sized slab. It will take a hell of a
beating. The table (at pix link) weighs 80 pounds and only 56" x 20" X
I have done it but don't know if I would again. Why hard on tools and seems
to dull tools faster than maple. Or I may just be using them more.
I had some 3/4 Jaboba left over from the floors of my in-laws house. I used
it as my bench top over two 3-1/2" solid rock maple hospital doors. The
bench is now so heavy that under it is a registered civil defense shelter. I
used Gorilla Glue to make sure that the glue was as tough if not tougher
than the wood. I also made Jabota dowels to attach the flooring to the doors
every 24". I used Danish Oil on mine and it is still oily. I am hoping that
in the next few month that will dry out so I can wax it well.
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