Guatemalan Mora

However, due to the commercial scarcity of some woods, resorting to auction sites such as Ebay or Etsy may be the only way to obtain some desirable domestic, or in some cases exotic imported, species that are not routinely commercially harvested.  The potential risks of buying in these marketplaces have to be balanced against the desire to work with a specific species of wood.  That is inherently an individual decision.

I also realize that many, if not most, wood workers do not have endangered species lists memorized, therefore I think it worthwhile and important to do even a small amount of research before purchasing any lumber, domestic as well as imported, to be certain of the potential impact you are having, even in a small way, on threatened or endangered populations.  This information is easy to come by and takes only minutes to locate through any Internet search engine, including those you can access on your phone as you are standing in the lumber yard or store.  Unfortunately, you simply cannot count on a vendor to tell you a product they are selling is endangered.

Health Hazards:

Besides the standard health risks associated with any type of wood dust, Guatemalan Mora sap has been reported to cause dermatitis.

It is important to remember that although many people may, or may not, be sensitive to any given wood, the only experience that truly counts is your own, so use reported side effects as guidance but not as a substitute for cautious and safe practices.

Appropriate protective equipment is therefore always recommended when working with this, or any other, wood, exotic or domestic, unless you have worked with the species before and are certain you are not sensitive to it.

Complete information about health hazards associated with a wide variety of exotic hardwoods is available from The Wood Database.  Additional information about how to best use a dust collection system and personal protective equipment, such as respirators, can also be found through this excellent and comprehensive resource.

Fortunately, I did not experience any adverse effects while working with Guatemalan Mora.

My Personal Experiences:

Guatemalan Mora was certainly a hard wood and it was a real challenge to cut it to round on the bandsaw.  In fact, the Guatemalan Mora burned up a bandsaw blade.

Mora 7 x 2.5

I wouldn’t say that Guatemalan Mora is a favored wood since it didn’t cut cleanly for such a hard wood so it required a good deal of clean up sanding, which wouldn’t be so bad except that Guatemalan Mora quickly gums up sandpaper, somewhat similar to what happens with most rosewood, so Abranet is truly valuable when working with Guatemalan Mora.

Mora 9 x 2

I was pleased with the variations in color and streaking between the three different blanks.  The largest piece reminds me of Bocote because of the super strong streaking.  Each piece is so unique that it is almost hard to believe that they are all of the same species.

I don’t regret working with Guatemalan Mora but given only so much time to turn I would probably choose a more favorable wood in the future except that I know I have some more Guatemalan Mora in my stocks.  I will work with it again when I get to it but I won’t be on the lookout for more either.

Mora 9.5 x 2

All major cuts were made using the Easy Wood Tool system on my Robust American Beauty lathe, although I do use Robert Sorby bowl gouges for light final passes before sanding.  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 as well as Abranet sanding screens from Craft Supplies USA.  Final finish is Shellawax.