#94: Bocote

Bird number: 127
Date: December 4, 2012
Wood: Bocote (Cordia alliodora)
Source: Woodcraft

I’m not 100% certain that this is Cordia alliodora, although I do know that it is one of the Cordia species. And since Cordia alliodora is the most common, I figure that’s what this piece is.

The most striking thing about Bocote, of course, is the high contrast in the grain. What’s really interesting to me, though, is how straight the grain is. This piece is a bit unusual in that it has that slight figuring at the base of the tail. Most Bocote lumber you see will have straight grain from one end to the other. A friend who had seen my SpectraPly bird first thought that this was another type of that laminated wood product.

The wood is hard enough that I didn’t even consider carving it with a knife. It’s about 95% as dense as water, so I had to take it a little slow with the bandsaw and use a slower speed with the power carver to avoid burning the wood. Other than that, I had no problems with this figure. The wood machines well, and sanding was not at all difficult. Just more time consuming than most of the other birds.

Bocote is commonly available as veneer, in board form, and as turning blanks, although it is somewhat expensive. The wood is typically used for high-end furniture, cabinetry, flooring, boat building, musical instruments (especially the backs and sides of guitars), gun stocks, turned objects, and small specialty wood items. You’ll find few carved items from Bocote.

The wood is known to cause cross reactions once an allergy to some other woods is developed. For example, you might work with Bocote many times without developing any kind of reaction. But if you develop an allergic reaction to Cocobolo, for example, it’s very likely that you will subsequently be sensitive to Bocote. The body works in strange ways.

Lovely stuff, this Bocote, but pretty expensive. I have another piece of it that I’ll use for something, but can’t see myself buying another chunk unless I have a project that must have this type of wood.