|Common Name(s): Wamara, Guyana Rosewood
Scientific Name: Swartzia spp. (S. benthamiana, S. leiocalycina)
Distribution: Southern Mexico, Central America, and northern South America
Tree Size: 100-130 ft (30-40 m) tall, 2-4 ft (.6-1.2 m) trunk diameter
Average Dried Weight: 67 lbs/ft3 (1,080 kg/m3)
Specific Gravity (Basic, 12% MC): .92, 1.08
Janka Hardness: 3,660 lbf (16,260 N)
Modulus of Rupture: 28,490 lbf/in2 (196.5 MPa)
Elastic Modulus: 3,535,000 lbf/in2 (24.38 GPa)
Crushing Strength: 15,260 lbf/in2 (105.3 MPa)
Shrinkage: Radial: 4.7%, Tangential: 7.6%, Volumetric: 12.3%, T/R Ratio: 1.6
Color/Appearance: Heartwood varies from medium reddish brown to purplish black, frequently with darker contrasting stripes. Sapwood is sharply demarcated and is a pale yellowish white.
Grain/Texture: The grain is usually straight, but can also be irregular or interlocked. With a fine even texture and good natural luster.
Endgrain: Diffuse-porous; medium pores in no specific arrangement; solitary and radial multiples of 2-3; mineral/gum deposits occasionally present; parenchyma winged, confluent, and reticulate; narrow rays, fairly close spacing.
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: Wamara 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: Wamara has a very faint odor when being worked.
Allergies/Toxicity: Wamara has been reported to cause respiratory irritation in some individuals. See the articles Wood Allergies and Toxicity and Wood Dust Safety for more information.
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, turnings, and other small specialty items.
Comments: Sometimes called Guyana Rosewood for its lustrous, dense, and colorful wood, Wamara technically isn’t a true rosewood (Dalbergia genus), but is in what could arguably be viewed as one of the most under-appreciated genera of tropical hardwoods: Swartzia. This genus is filled with a variety of colorful and striped woods, most of which remain obscure.
Wamara is very closely related to the more widely known hardwood: Katalox (Swartzia cubensis). Both woods possess superb strength properties, though Wamara tends to be more variable in coloration and appearance, frequently sporting dark contrasting stripes.
Wood Allergies and Toxicity
…ood in a particular genus will share similar allergic compounds with other related woods, resulting in cross-reactions.) For example, Cocobolo is in the Dalbergia genus, and is also closely related to other woods such as Kingwood, Tulipwood, Honduran Rosewood, etc. Also, you may notice two wood types that sound like they’re related, such as Black Cherry (Prunus genus) and Brazilian Cherry (Hymenaea genus), but they are actually quite…
…Red List of Threatened Species. Common Uses: Inlays, fine furniture and cabinetry, parquet flooring, turnings, and other small specialty items. Comments: Sometimes called Guyana Rosewood for its lustrous, dense, and colorful wood, Wamara technically isn’t a true rosewood (Dalbergia genus), but is in what could arguably be viewed as one of the most under-appreciated genera of tropical hardwoods: Swartzia. This genus is filled with a variety of…
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…ng works for it: Cinderella needs to get some well-deserved attention. Honorable mentions: Muninga (Padauk-relative with rock-solid stability) Boxwood (legendary for turning and carving) Laburnum (think of it as European Rosewood) Wamara (close relative to #2 ranked Katalox) Sycamore (break out of bland with some quartersawn stock) Texas Ebony (Ebony!? from Texas!? …kinda) Imbuia (looks like a burl, but it’s naturally that awesome)…
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…with Katalox and Wamara, Pau Rosa has since been placed into its own genus, Bobgunnia. Pau Rosa is one of only a handful of woods that have the potential of being nearly rainbow-colored; its appearance is reminiscent of Tulipwood or Canarywood. Related Species: None available. Related Articles: None available. Scans/Pictures: A special thanks to Steve Earis for providing the wood sample and turned photo of this wood species, as well as Rory Wood…
…Royal Ebony, though it is not a true ebony in the Diospyros genus. Related Species: Queenwood (Swartzia spp.) Wamara (Swartzia benthamiana) Related Articles: Gluing Oily Tropical Hardwoods Preventing Color Changes in Exotic Woods The Ten Best Woods You’ve Never Heard Of Top Ten Hardest Woods Scans/Pictures: Katalox (sanded) Katalox (sealed) Katalox (endgrain) Katalox (endgrain 10x) Katalox (turned)…
…s to be in the mid range for an imported hardwood. Sustainability: This wood species is not listed in the CITES Appendices or on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Common Uses: Turned objects, and other small specialty wood items. Comments: No data available. Related Species: Katalox (Swartzia cubensis) Wamara (Swartzia benthamiana) Related Articles: None available. Scans/Pictures: Queenwood (sanded) Queenwood (sealed) Queenwood (endgrain)…