Geographic Distribution

The wood most commonly sold as Yellowheart is known in the botanical world as Euxylophora paraensis. On occasion, some other woods that have a strongly yellow color, such as Canarywood (Centrolobium spp.) may be misleadingly sold as Yellowheart. Yellowheart may also be referred to by the Portuguese name of Pau Amarello. When searching for stocks of this wood it is helpful to use both common names.

The species name of this wood gives us a good clue as to where it is found. E. paraensis is found almost exclusively in the Brazilian state of Para, in the south-west of the country, also the location of the famous wetland known as the Pantanal.

E. paraensis may occasionally be referred to as a “satinwood” although this is technically not an accurate botanical description.

For the sake of simplicity and common understanding, I will refer to E. paraensis from here forward as Yellowheart.

Yellowheart Interior

Yellowheart Interior

General Characteristics

As would be expected given the common name of Yellowheart, the heartwood color ranges from pale to golden yellow. Unlike many other strongly colored hardwoods, Yellowheart will darken only slightly with age. The Yellowheart sapwood is variably reported to be distinct pale yellow or white, while some others have reported that there is little to distinguish the heartwood from the sapwood.

In general, the grain of Yellowheart is straight, however, on rare occasions, a specimen may appear that features strong figure such as a wavy and/or interlocked grain.

The texture of Yellowheart is quite fine and when properly sanded, Yellowheart shows a very high natural luster and shine.

The end-grain of Yellowheart will be diffuse and porous. The large pores have no specific arrangement. On occasion, there may be mineral deposits present in the heartwood.

Although I cannot imagine that it would make much difference for the most common uses of Yellowheart in North America, it is considered to be moderately durable in terms of decay resistance. Depending on which “authority” you ask, Yellowheart may be resistant to insect attack or it may be susceptible. The consensus seems to be out for the present.

Working Characteristics

Most users report that Yellowheart is easy to work with both hand and machine powered tools. However, as is always true with any wood species, if there is interlocked grain or significant figure present, then difficulties may be encountered, especially tear-out during plane operations.

Probably due to the occasional mineral deposits, Yellowheart can have a moderate blunting effect on cutting surfaces. Frequent re-sharpening or the use or replaceable carbide, or similar, cutters, is recommended to help compensate for this tendency.

Yellowheart is reported to both glue and finish quite well.

Yellowheart is very dense and hard, considerably harder than Oak and quite close to the hardness of Hickory.

Some authorities claim that Yellowheart features a mild, but unpleasant, scent when being worked. However, my experience was that while there decidedly was an odor present, I found it to be spicy and not at all unpleasant. A visitor to my shop thought it smelled vaguely soapy but agreed with me that the odor was best described as spicy and not at all unpleasant.

Yellowheart Bottom

Yellowheart Bottom


Yellowheart is wood that is commercially important in Brazil and it is therefore widely harvested and exported. There is a good availability of lumber in a range of widths as well as wide availability in a range of turning blank sizes. In general, the pricing should be fairly inexpensive for an imported hardwood.

I always recommend both West Penn Hardwoods and Bell Forest Products as excellent sources of both domestic and exotic hardwoods. I have had multiple dealings with both vendors and have always been very satisfied.