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MFA Acc. #: 2006.71


A hard, durable wood obtained from several South American trees of the genus Dalbergia, especially Dalbergia retusa. Cocobolo wood has a medium fine texture and is usually a reddish brown color with dark wavy figuring. It is dense and difficult to cut or carve. The wood is primarily used for making knife handles and small carved items. Cocobolo wood is naturally resistant to decay, but only small quantities of the wood are used each year.

Synonyms and Related Terms

Dalbergia retusa; bois de rose du Honduras (Fr.); cocobola

Density 50-60 ppcf

Hazards and Safety

Contact or inhalation may cause irritation and allergies.

Additional Images

Sources Checked for Data in Record

  • Random House, Webster's Encyclopedic Unabridged Dictionary of the English Language, Grammercy Book, New York, 1997
  • The American Heritage Dictionary or Encarta, via Microsoft Bookshelf 98, Microsoft Corp., 1998 Comment: cocobola
  • G.S.Brady, Materials Handbook, McGraw-Hill Book Co., New York, 1971 Comment: p. 210
  • Ralph Mayer, A Dictionary of Art Terms and Techniques, Harper and Row Publishers, New York, 1969 (also 1945 printing)
  • F. H. Titmuss, Commercial Timbers of the World, The Technical Press Ltd., London, 1965
  • Michael McCann, Artist Beware, Watson-Guptill Publications, New York City, 1979