Chakte Viga (Caesalpinia platyloba)
Chakte Viga is an esteemed wood and is sought for the unrivaled orange color tone that the heartwood is renowned for. Ranging in shades from light apricot to burnt orange with hints of red, Chakte Viga’s color will deepen with age and exposure. Sapwood ranges from yellow to pale white. Chakte Viga is a joy to work with. Valued by jewelers for inlays, it also turns well and can be shaped to fine detail and buffed to a glassy polish. Very fine texture with a closed grain, it sometimes displays an interlocked grain that creates figuring. Chakte Viga is known to plane very well and also readily accepts wood glues. Also known to be termite resistant, it is used in some remote areas of Mexico for wood posts. Some of these posts are said to be over 100 years old.
Perhaps the closest relative to the more-famous Pernambuco (used for violin bows), Chakte Viga shares many of the same excellent acoustic properties. With great color, a smooth texture, and a unique iridescent quality that seems to shimmer under the proper wood finish, Chakte Viga has an almost subliminal cachet. This wood is very easy to work, has a nice orange/red color, and reportedly has good tonal qualities.