Cocobolo decks

Been thinking about redoing the decks on a canoe or two with cocobolo. I’ve used it to hang kneeling thwarts in the past, and know it holds up well to water exposure.

So I think it could make some really gorgeous decks. But at the same time I am perplexed why I don’t see more people using cocobolo to dress up their canoes given it’s beauty and hardiness. It’s weighty and expensive, but I’m not advocating whole thwarts or yokes or seats of cocobolo. But little accents of cocobolo seem like a nice, appropriate choice.

Is there something I am missing, any reason not to use cocobolo for decks? It seems like such a natural choice for the application I guess I am second guessing myself for never having seen it mentioned before.

The pipes

– Last Updated: Apr-22-08 10:28 AM EST –

Well...I may have some insight from the world of bagpipes. I play a set of MacLellan pipes, and instead of the traditional/conventional wood -- african blackwood -- these are made of cocobolo. For the record the sound is a little more "rounder" or mellow...because the wood, while similar, is slightly less dense. Thats why I like them.

However, not too many pipemakers want to work with cocobolo because the dust is very toxic. Causes all sorts of skin, eye, lung issues unless there is an active dust control system. Even then, its reputed to a problem.

That said, the wood is gorgeous with rich reddish streaks between the blacker areas.

Not sure of its performance in a watery medium though....and there's no way I'll bring that set of pipes with me when I'm kayaking. (Heh!)

The dust is quite the irritant. But I, and I hope most ppl, never create dust without a respirator and dust collection. Most woods are to some degree an irritant or sensitizer. Cedar is actually quite bad in it’s own right.

I have a cocobolo Gibson practice chanter myself. Very nice, and one of the reasons Jerry uses cocobolo is because of it’s moisture resistant properties. Though I think for GHB’s most ppl still prefer the African Blackwood, even as it becomes hard to come by and is more finnicky with moisture. Cocobolo certainly has become more popular over the years though, especially for starter sets. But I digress.

I still think that simple little projects like decks, trusses, and hangers would be great applications for cocobolo.

Well then…

– Last Updated: Apr-22-08 2:34 PM EST –

...I would say that Cocobolo might make a very distinctive deck. The right sealant - varnish or one of the polyurethane variants - would be critical though. Also, it would add a little weight to the craft.

Give it a go, and let us know how it turns out.

Three reasons
two of which you have already noted. It is expensive and it ia more than twice as dense as mahogany. The third reason is that, like teak, it has lots of natural oils and does not glue very well.

Don’t need to glue it…
No need to glue it for the uses I have in mind :slight_smile: Besides, teak glues just fine, and I have made several cocobolo pieces that are several years old now and the glued joints have all held up fine. This ‘hard to glue tropical woods’ things is by and large myth.