CAMATILLO ( MEXICAN KINGWOOD )
Common Name(s): Kingwood
Scientific Name: Dalbergia cearensis
Distribution: Brazil (and occasionally from Mexico)
Tree Size: 30-60 ft (10-20 m) tall, less than 2 ft (.6 m) trunk diameter
Average Dried Weight: 75 lbs/ft3 (1,200 kg/m3)
Specific Gravity (Basic, 12% MC): .98, 1.20
Janka Hardness: 3,340 lbf (17,240 N)
Modulus of Rupture: No data available
Elastic Modulus: No data available
Crushing Strength: No data available
Shrinkage:No data available
Color/Appearance: Heartwood is a dark purplish or reddish brown with darker black streaks. Sapwood is a pale yellow.
Grain/Texture: Grain is usually straight; occasionally interlocked. Fine, uniform texture and a high natural luster.
Endgrain: Diffuse-porous; small pores in no specific arrangement; solitary and radial multiples of 2-3; heartwood deposits occasionally present; growth rings distinct due to seemingly marginal parenchyma bands; rays not visible without lens; parenchyma banded, apotracheal parenchyma diffuse-in-aggregates, paratracheal parenchyma vasicentric, and aliform.
Rot Resistance: Reported as being very durable in decay resistance, and is also resistance to termites.
Workability: Tends to be difficult to work due to its high density. Kingwood has a moderate blunting effect on cutters, and tearout can occur during planing if interlocked grain is present. Can be difficult to glue due to natural oils and high density. Turns very well and takes a high polish.
Odor: Distinct, rosewood-like odor when being worked.
Allergies/Toxicity: Although severe reactions are quite uncommon, Kingwood has been reported as a sensitizer. Usually most common reactions simply include eye and skin irritation, as well as pink eye. See the articles Wood Allergies and Toxicity and Wood Dust Safety for more information.
Pricing/Availability: Likely to be very expensive, and seldom available as lumber; Kingwood is most often seen as smaller turning stock, with its cost being on par with other scarce exotics in the Dalbergia genus. Kingwood is seldom available in large pieces due to the small size of the tree itself, and is instead used as accent pieces.
Sustainability: Although Kingwood is not evaluated on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, it is listed on CITES appendix II under the genus-wide restriction on all Dalbergia species—which also includes finished products made of the wood.
Common Uses: Inlays, veneers, tool handles, and other small turned and/or specialty items.
Comments: Considered a true rosewood in the Dalbergia genus, Kingwood is among the densest (and probably strongest) of all the rosewoods. There is very little mechanical data available on Kingwood, though given its weight, and its relation to other rosewoods, it’s likely to be extremely stiff, strong, and stable.
In terms of its history, Kingwood supposedly got its name from several French kings (Louis XIV and Louis XV) that preferred the wood in the use of fine furniture.