Jatoba (Brazilian Cherry) – Total Wood Species Guide

PROS: If you like the reddish tones of American cherry but would like something much harder, this is the stuff. It is harder than many domestic hardwoods. Its strength makes it a great floor for high traffic areas. It can have deep red, reddish brown and burgundy tones. It is a photosensitive wood which means that it will darken over time. An elegant wood with bold graining. It has an open grain like oak.

CONS: It can be difficult to obtain and will be moderately expensive. Due to its hardness it will prove to be a difficult sanding job. But when sanded, it will be nice and smooth. The color can vary significantly from one board to the next. It also is tricky to finish. Cherry does not take stain well. Because the grain is swirly, the stain is usually blotchy. You have to use a non-penetrating stain if you want it to look even. Gel stains work best on Brazilian cherry. If you want Jatoba but without the headache of a big project, you may want to consider getting it prefinished.

TREE FACTS: Brazilian cherry comes from the Brazilian Amazon. Some environmental groups have seen this species heavily targeted by illegal loggers. If you decide to purchase it, make sure that you are getting it from a legitimate source. Despite its name, it has no relation to black cherry.