Common Names: Chechen, Chechem, Black Poisonwood, Caribbean Rosewood
Scientific Names: Metopium brownei
Why we use for Bokken: Absolutely gorgeous grain and tough as nails. A perfect wood for bokken.
Appearance: Heartwood color is highly varied, with red, orange, and brown contrasted with darker stripes of blackish brown. Color tends to shift to a darker reddish brown with age. Well defined sapwood is a pale yellow
Grain: Grain is usually straight, but may be wild or interlocked. With a uniform medium to fine texture and good natural luster.
Durablility: Rated as being very durable, and moderately resistant to most insect attacks.
Scent: No characteristic odor.
Safety: Although severe reactions are quite uncommon, Chechen has been reported as a sensitizer. Usually most common reactions simply include eye and skin irritation.
Availability: Generally available as lumber, though turning blanks and thin craft lumber is also sold. Chechen is touted as a low-cost substitute for more expensive tropical woods, and prices should be moderate for an imported hardwood.
Other Comments: Its alternate name, Black Poisonwood, comes from its toxic sap, which turns black and causes severe skin reactions similar to poison ivyand both are classified in the same family: Anacardiaceæ. However, the wood itself is safe to handle, though there are some allergenic reactions associated with the wood dust.