Jatoba Wood | Uses, Pros and Cons

What is Jatoba wood?

Jatoba wood is a dense and durable hardwood from the species Hymenia curbaril, native to Central and South America. It is also known as Brazilian cherry wood.

It is commonly used to make flooring, furniture, and cabinetry. Jatoba wood is known for its strength, resistance to wear and tear, and is naturally resistant to rot and most insect attacks. Hence it is the best hardwood for outdoor use.

#Jatoba wood
Scientific NameHymenaea courbaril
Tree Height100 to 165 ft (30 to 50 m) tall, 2-4 ft (.6-1.2 m) trunk diameter
Janka Hardness2,690 lbf (11,950 N)
Average Weight57 lbs/ft3 (910 kg/m3)
Modulus of Rupture22,510 lbf/in2 (155.2 MPa)
Rot-resistantResistant to insects and rot
Wood TypeHardwood

Jatoba wood Uses

Jatoba Wood is used for high-quality furniture, flooring, decking, musical instruments, cabinetry, tool handles, shipbuilding, and small wooden objects.

It is a hard and moisture-resistant wood, perfect for outdoor use. It is hard enough to resist scratches and dents, making it the perfect wood for durable flooring.

Jatoba wood is often used for turning projects such as bowls, vases, and other decorative items.


Jatoba wood is known for its beautiful reddish-brown color, varying from light orangish brown to dark brown. Jatoba wood darkens when exposed to light. Some boards may also have darker streaks or spots, which enhance the natural beauty of the wood.

Jatoba wood typically has interlocked grain with a medium to coarse texture and medium natural luster.

Jatoba wood Pros and Cons

Jabota wood is an excellent wood species, but no one is suitable for all applications. We must know the limitations of wood before use. The Pros and Cons of Jatoba wood are as follows.


  1. Durable and Stable: Jatoba is very dense and hard, which makes it very durable and able to withstand wear and tear.
  2. Attractive Appearance: Jatoba wood has a beautiful reddish-brown color and unique grain pattern, making it a popular choice for furniture.
  3. Resistant to decay and insects: Jatoba wood is naturally resistant to decay, insects, and fungal growth, making it a great choice for outdoor applications such as decking and outdoor flooring.
  4. Sustainable: Jatoba wood is sourced from responsibly managed forests in South America and is a renewable resource that can be replenished over time.
  5. Low Maintenance: Jatoba wood requires low maintenance compared to other hardwoods.


  1. Difficult to Work: Jatoba wood is a very dense hardwood, so it can be difficult to work with, and being heavy can also make it difficult to transport.
  2. Expensive: Jatoba wood can be more expensive than other types of wood.
  3. Pre-drilling is required: When using jatoba wood for construction or woodworking projects, pre-drilling may be necessary to avoid splitting or cracking.
  4. Slow Drying: Jatoba wood dries very slowly, requiring thorough drying before being finished or sealed.
  5. Allergies/Toxicity: It is reported to cause skin irritation. That’s why you need to cover the open part of the body before working.


Jatoba wood is a hardwood species with high density and weight. So working with Jatoba can be a bit difficult. The interlocking or irregular grain pattern is the cause of tear out when you plane the wood. So use the right tools to get the job done smoothly and keep your blades sharp.

Novices need to take special care while working. Working at height can be difficult due to the heavy wood, so enlist the help of a coworker.

Jatoba Wood Finishing

Jabota wood is known for its beautiful color, so you do not need to stain or paint. However, you’ll need a protective outdoor finish to protect from moisture and damage or for outdoor use. The oil-based finish is recommended.


Jatoba is a hardwood species with a Janka hardness rating of 2,690 lbf (11,950 N) and an average dry weight of 57 lbs/ft3 (910 kg/m3). 

Below is a comparison of the hardness of jatoba Janka with other popular woods to give you an idea of how hard jatoba wood is.

Wood SpeciesJanka Hardness
Pink Ivory3,230 lbf (14,370 N)
Gaboon Ebony3,080 lbf (13,700 N)
Cocobolo2,960 lbf (14,140 N)
Bloodwood2,900 lbf (12,900 N)
Brazilian rosewood2,790 lbf (12,410 N)
Amazon Rosewood2,700 lbf (11,990 N)
Jatoba Wood2,690 lbf (11,950 N)
Marblewood2,530 lbf (11,250 N)
Purpleheart2,520 lbf (11,190 N)
Beefwood2,420 lbf (10,770 N)
Honey Mesquite2,340 lbf (10,410 N)


Yes, Jatoba wood is naturally resistant to rot and insect attacks. Due to the presence of oil, the wood’s surface becomes greasy, so the wood does not absorb moisture easily. This natural oil also protects the wood from insects.

This natural resistance to decay and rot makes it an ideal choice for outdoor applications such as decking and siding, as well as for indoor use in areas such as bathrooms and kitchens where exposure to moisture is common.


How Durable is Jatoba Wood? 

Jatoba wood is generally durable and suitable for outdoor use but cannot withstand extreme weather for long periods. However, jatoba wood requires regular care and exterior finishing to make it durable.

Is Jatoba Wood Good for Cutting Boards? 

Yes, Jatoba wood is often used in cutting boards because of its hardness and resistance to wear and tear. It has a tough grain. So it doesn’t warp or tear easily over time. Its natural oils help prevent bacteria from penetrating the wood.

Is Jatoba Wood Toxic? 

Jatoba wood is generally considered non-toxic and safe for use in household applications. Wood is not known to contain any toxic substances, but it can cause general skin irritation when worked with. So be careful and safe while working.

Is Jatoba Wood Expensive?

Jatoba wood is considered a premium and exotic hardwood and can be relatively expensive compared to other woods. Jatoba wood price depends on factors such as wood quality, thickness, and availability of wood in the local market.