Common Names: Katalox, Mexican Ebony
Scientific Names: Swartzia spp. (S. cubensis)
Why we use for Bokken: Beautiful and robust wood perfect for bokken. Has an almost purple hue to it. Almost exact same qualities as Lignum Vitae but more affordable.
Appearance: Heartwood is a dark reddish brown to nearly black: sometimes with a strong purple hue. Sapwood is sharply demarcated and is a pale yellowish white.
Grain: Has very fine pores and a fine texture. The grain is usually straight, but can also be irregular or interlocked. A curly or wavy grain pattern is sometimes seen as well.
Durablility: Varies depending upon species, but generally very durable. Heartwood is usually considered to have a high resistance to decay and termites; though it is susceptible to marine borers.
Scent: Katalox has a very faint odor when being worked.
Safety: Katalox has been reported to cause respiratory irritation in some individuals.
Availability: Usually available in turning squares or as figured lumber (generally with a large amount of sapwood present). Expect prices to be in the mid to upper range for an imported tropical hardwood.
Other Comments: Katalox has exceptional strength properties, and is among the very stiffest and strongest lumber available worldwide. Its dark color makes it a popular substitute for ebony.