Jatoba - how does it weather?

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New User
I am considering using jatoba for the floor boards of the boat I am building. I know that is durable and hard, but can't seem to find much info about how it weathers. Anyone have any experience with it outside? Any problems with checking, cupping, or warping? Also, if I mill it to a thickness of 1/2 inch, would it be flexible enough to take a mild bend?

Thanks much



Bruce Swanson
Corporate Member
I don't know how well jatoba weathers, but there was a hot tub manufacturer in Gastonia that used jatoba for their hot tubs. I do know it is difficult to plane because of it's squirrely grain pattern. It dulls the knives in my planer much more quickly than oak or maple.


According to "Wood Identification & Use" Jatoba (aka Courbaril) has the following properties:
  • Grain is largely interlocked
  • Good steam-bending properties (dry bending is not rated in this book)
  • A moderate blunting affect on cutting edges
  • Nails poorly and requires preboring for screws
  • Stains well but will not finish to a high-polish
  • Fair gluing properties
  • Has little movement in service
  • Heartwood is moderately durable and very resistant to dry-wood termites but also very resistant to preservative treatments. Sapwood readily accepts preservatives but has little natural decay resistance.
  • Has been used for railroad ties
  • Health Risks: Skin irritant
Hopefully that answers a few of your questions. You will want to be extra careful of breathing and handling the dust if you are prone to allergic reactions (as with most exotic woods).

I've found this book, "Wood Identification & Use", and "The Real Wood Bible" to be great sources of information for many domestic and exotic soft and hardwood species.


New User
I have an Adirondack chair that has been on my front porch for over 4 years. It is finished with McClosky's Man-O-War Spar Varnish and has held up very nicely - no movement, very little checking. It is in need of another coat this year when I get around to it, but the Brazilian Cherry has held up well.

Trent Mason

New User
Trent Mason
I built a small cross out of jatoba for my parents to place at the grave site of their dog. Finished it with marine spar varnish and to the best of my knowledge it has held up just fine for almost three years now. I would think that you'd be OK as long as you use a good quality finish. That marine spar varnish is very expensive, but if you have a boat that's probably a drop in the bucket. :rotflm:


New User
I'm in the process of building a Jatoba deck.

The portion you see here has been installed for about 6 weeks. Some boards checked, most did not. A few boards cupped, most did not. A lot depends on the type of fasteners used. The finish used is Messmer's UV Oil. This photo was take in the rain.

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