Black Cumaceba

Some years ago I bought a blank sold as “Black Cumaceba” from Tropical Exotic Hardwoods based in San Diego.  At the time, I lived in Georgia so shipping was prohibitively expensive, at times more costly than the wood itself, so I only bought blanks that I had never heard of elsewhere and that included Cumaceba.

My usual sources are silent on the subject of Cumaceba so I can’t claim to know a great deal about it but I do know that it comes from South America, most often from the Amazon region of Peru.

Black Cumaceba Interior

Cumaceba is hard and dense so it cuts quite cleanly, requiring only a moderate amount of finish sanding.  The color of Cumaceba is fantastic!  I don’t understand why it was called “black” since the color is instead an intense pinkish-red.  In texture and color one could be forgiven for thinking that this was Paduak.  The Cumaceba also smells fantastic when being cut.  The scent is intensely sweet, almost like fresh cotton candy.  My piece of Cumaceba features a good deal of figure in the form of dark brownish red streaking.

Cumaceba is a difficult wood to find which is unfortunate since I really enjoyed working with Cumaceba and would work with it again if I could find it.  I was able to locate a few spindle blanks and pen blanks but no bowl blanks.  If you can find Cumaceba blanks buy them while you can.

Cumaceba turning blanks are hard to find but Cumaceba itself is quite popular as an herbal remedy for any number of complaints.  I believe it is the bark that is most commonly used in herbal medicine and ground Cumaceba products are easy to find, even on Amazon.  This won’t do wood turners any good but it does highlight that some trees have multiple uses and value.

Black Cumaceba Reverse

All cuts were made using the Easy Wood Tool system on my Robust American Beauty lathe.  Forward chucking was in a Nova Chuck, while reverse chucking was done using a Nova Chuck with Cole Jaws.  Sanding was with Gold and Green Wave sanding discs from Packard Woodworks.  Final finish is Shellawax.

As always, I wish all my readers a great experience in whatever your wood working interests happen to be and to those who like working with lathes especially, do a good turn today!