Readers with exhaustive memories may recall that I wrote about Canarywood in a post from 2014. This post is an updated version that adheres to my standard information template.
The tree that yields Canarywood is known to botanists as Centrolobium spp.. This designation means that more than one species may be harvested and sold as Canarywood. Without formal DNA analysis it is unlikely that the species of tree that yielded your specific piece of wood will ever be known. Fortunately for the purposes of wood working, it doesn’t matter.
Centrolobium spp. are fairly widely distributed, occurring from southern Panama all the way south through the southern portions of Brazil.
For the sake of simplicity, I will refer to Centrolobium spp. from this point forward simply as Canarywood.
The heartwood of Canarywood can vary greatly between samples. It may be simply a pale yellow-orange but it can also appear much darker approximating a reddish-brown color. Regardless of the predominant color scheme, there are almost always darker streaks throughout that add considerable interest to the finished piece.
If you are lucky, some pieces can be almost rainbow-like in their diffuse coloration.
The pale yellow sapwood is sharply delineated.
As is the case with many colorful tropical woods, the color of Canarywood does tend to darken and homogenize with age. There are methods that will help prevent, or at least slow, this color change that are described here.
In general the grain of Canarywood is straight, although in some pieces it can be irregular and even wild.
Canarywood displays a fine to medium texture with a good natural luster.
Canarywood is very durable in terms of its resistance to decay. It is also known to be resistant to termite and marine borer attacks.
Canarywood is reported to be easy to work with both hand and machine powered tools.
As is not infrequently the case with some exotic woods, tear-out can occur during plane operations if there is wild or irregular grain. This resource can help guide you in preventing this problem from occurring.
Once dry Canarywood displays good dimensional stability.
Canarywood is also reported to turn, glue, and finish well.
Canarywood also has a distinctive and pleasing scent when freshly cut.
Pricing and Availability
Canarywood is generally available in good sizes of dimensional lumber and is occasionally also offered as turning blanks. Prices should be moderate for an imported hardwood.
I no longer remember exactly which vendor I obtained my Canarywood from, but markings on the side lead me to believe it was purchased from a Woodcraft store in person.
In this blog, I almost always recommend several other vendors with whom I have done considerable business and in whom I have great confidence. These vendors are: West Penn Hardwoods, Bell Forest Products, Got Wood?, NC Wood, and WoodTurningz.
West Penn Hardwoods is selling a large 8” x 8” x 3” bowl blank of Canarywood for $35.33 with smaller pieces in both bowl blanks and spindles in decreasing size and price.
Bell Forest Products is only selling spindle sizes of Canarywood with none priced above $2.25 for a traditional pen blank size.
WoodTurningz is selling two bowl blank sizes of Canarywood. A whopping 10” x 10” x 2” platter blank will set you back $26.75 while a more moderate bowl blank of 6” x 6” x2” is $10.95.
I don’t usually quote prices from the following vendors, but I have purchased wood from them and have no complaints.
Woodcraft sells one bowl blank size, a 6” x 6” x 2” for $7.25.