The wood commonly known as Ziricote is known to botanists and other scientists as Cordia dodecandra.
C. dodecandra is native to southern Mexico and Central America. Some readers may note that Cordia is the same genus as Bocote, a closely related wood that I greatly enjoy working with.
For the sake of simplicity and common understanding, I will refer to C. dodecandra as Ziricote from here forward.
The heartwood of Ziricote rangers in color from a medium to a dark brown, sometimes with either a green or purple hue, with darker bands of black growth rings intermixed.
The pale yellowish sapwood is sometimes incorporated into designs for aesthetic effect, or to cut down on wastage.
Ziricote has a very unique appearance which is sometimes referred to as “spider-webbing” or “landscape” grain figure. Quartersawn Ziricote surfaces can also have ray flakes similar in appearance to those found on quartersawn Hard Maple.
The grain of Ziricote is straight to slightly interlocked.
Ziricote features a medium to fine texture with good natural luster.
Ziricote is reported to be naturally resistant to decay.
Ziricote is fairly easy to work with considering its high density.
The wood tends to develop end and surface checks during drying, which can be problematic though the wood is stable once dry.
Pieces of Ziricote are usually available in narrow boards or turning squares, with sapwood being very common.
Ziricote turns and finishes well, and in most instances, it can also be glued with no problems, although, on rare occasions, the wood’s natural oils can interfere with the gluing process.
Ziricote has a mild, characteristic scent while being worked, somewhat similar to the smell of Pau Ferro.
Pricing and Availability:
Ziricote is likely to be quite expensive, exceeding the price of some rosewoods, and approaching the cost of some types of ebony. Also, planks of Ziricote commonly have varying amounts of pale sapwood included, which can contribute to high wastage if not incorporated into a project.
In this blog, I almost always recommend several vendors with whom I have done considerable business and in whom I have great confidence. These vendors are: West Penn Hardwoods, Bell Forest Products, NC Wood, WoodTurningz, Amazon Exotic Hardwoods, Griffin Exotic Wood, Exotic Woods USA, Got Wood?, and Wood Turning Blanks 4U.
Of my favored vendors, West Penn Hardwoods, Bell Forest Products, WoodTurningz and Exotic Woods USA are all offering Ziricote but only in varying spindle sizes. Prices range from $1.82 for a pen blank up to $59.95 for a 3″ x 3″ x 12″ peppermill blank.
Woodfinder is an excellent website that is dedicated to advertising wood dealers. In your search for Ziricote this can be an invaluable resource provided you use multiple search terms to capture all the possible listings. I can’t speak to the quality of any of the listed dealers, but Woodfinder does have the advantage of allowing searches to be performed based on location which might allow an interested buyer to visit a listed wood dealer in person to hand pick pieces at a comfortable price.
A significant problem with using Woodfinder is that many vendors are listed for woods that, upon further investigation, they do not offer. I don’t know if perhaps once they did and they didn’t update their listings or if some vendors use a standardized list of woods that include most everything conceivable with the idea that once you land on their page you will find something you want to buy even if you didn’t know it beforehand. It happens to me all the time!
Ziricote is commonly used to make furniture, veneer, cabinetry, gunstocks, musical instruments (acoustic and electric guitars), turned objects, and other small specialty wood items.
Ziricote is not listed in the CITES Appendices nor is it on the IUCN Red List.