Katalox (Swartzia cubensis)
Katalox, or Mexican Royal Ebony, is a dense Central American hardwood. It is listed in several USDA publications as a suitable substitute for African Gabon Ebony in stringed instruments (usually fingerboards and bridges). Trees are typically 40-75' tall with diameters of 12" to 20" and prefer soils that drain well; they do not grow well in areas with water saturated soil. Similar to a true Ebony, only about 20-30% of any log produces the dark heartwood. The dark purple/black color accents well with the creamy/golden sapwood to create contrast that can be well utilized for a unique look in your projects. The wood turns well and takes a nice finish. Common uses are fine boxes, musical instruments, flooring, and other fine woodworking projects. It is far superior in strength to either Teak or Hard maple. Strength qualities in compression parallel to grain are exceptionally high. It is very hard - much harder than White oak, Hard maple, or Teak. The wood is exceptionally heavy. It weighs much more than Hard maple or Teak in the green or seasoned condition. The wood is very dense.