Other Names and Species:
The tone and color variation to be found in this wood resemble that of American walnut — hence the nickname “Brazilian walnut.” The heartwood of imbuia may be either plain in appearance or beautifully figured and variegated, with the color ranging from a yellowish tone or olive all the way to chocolate brown. By contrast, the distinct sapwood tends be be grayish in color. Imbuia is a highly lustrous wood with a rather fine texture and a grain that ranges between straight and curly or wavy (it has been variously described as burly, quilted, and bubbly).
One of the most important commercial species in Brazil, imbuia is quite hard and dense, and it is noted for its resistance to marring, denting, and wear. Freshly cut, the wood has a resinous taste and scent that is almost spicy, but it loses this characteristic when dried.
Janka Hardness: 950
Imbuia (Brazilian walnut) is one third harder than Douglas fir, is just under two thirds as hard as hard maple, about fifty-eight percent as hard as wenge, and about forty-three percent as hard as santos mahogany’s ranking of 2200.
The wood of imbuia, which is resistant to decay, saws and machines satisfactorily, and it takes stains and finishes quite well.
Imbuia is often used in wood flooring and decorative veneers, as well as in the manufacture of fine furniture and cabinet work, paneling, joinery, guitars, and gunstocks.