Ocotea porosa (syn. Phoebe porosa) of the family Lauraceae, the Laurel family
variously spelled imbuia, imbuya, embuia, and imbulia, I have seen botanical names of Ocotea porosa and Phoebe porosa both given for this species.
This species grows in Southern Brazil and is sometimes called Brazilian Walnut (but it is not a true walnut). It is a colorful, fine textured wood, prized by woodworkers. The heartwood is yellow-olive to chocolate brown, sometimes gray-brown, with variegated streaks and stripes. Grain pattern varies widely, with many different figures occurring in individual boards. It is hard and moderately heavy (about 42 pounds per cubic foot). Heartwood is durable. Emits a spicy, resinous scent and taste.
It is easy to work with hand and power tools, although grain tends to pick up when planing. Finishes to a high luster. Glues well.
Used for high grade furniture, cabinetry, joinery, paneling, flooring, gun stocks, musical instruments
Use of the term "burl" with this wood is often applied to what should really be called "blistered", which is NOT a burl at all, but looks a lot like one
my samples: NOTE: these pics were all taken in very bright incandescent lighting ("soft white" at 2700K) colors will vary under other lighting conditions
sample plank and end grain sold to me as imbuia / Phoebe parosa which is a mis-spelling of Phoebe porosa which is a synonym for Ocotea porosa
both sides of a small plank cut from the larger one above
end grain and end grain closeup of the small plank directly above and an END GRAIN UPDATE from some other plank on this page
plank and closeup --- the closeup pic has too much green
Imbuia plank pic contributed by Neal Kuwabara. We are not sure whether the figure is knots or burl, and Neal tells me that the plank is just a little darker than what shows up in the pic. Neal's voting for burl and since I haven't seen the plank, just the pic, I'm abstaining.
veneer --- HUGE enlargements are present. This part of a collection which is discussed here: COLLECTION D. Note that the label spells it "imbuya" which is fairly common. The very dark color may be somewhat to an age patina but I don't know that for sure.
figured veneer and closeup
figured veneer and closeup
blistered veneer with and without sapwood --- the sapwood on the last pic is not quite as yellow as the real wood. NOTE: the first pic has both levels of enlargement so you can get a close up look at the twisty, interlocked grain. When I first got this, I thought it was a burl
planks listed as imbuia / Ocotea porosa
a couple of planks with a lot of sapwood and fairly light heartwood. I bought both of these and they are shown among the samples at the top of this page
planks and a closeup
figured planks and a closeup of them
more figured planks
curly imbuia pics contributed by Kenny McCulloch, whom I thank for the contribution.
planks listed as pomelle --- I'm doubtful about the red color
plank with a finishing agent applied
thin wood laid out for a guitar back
pen blanks that have been waxed
mottled plank and closeup
veneer listed as imbuia / Octotea porosa
veneer sheets listed as imbuia / Phoebe porosa, with the first being burl, the second "chicken scratch" (I have no idea what that is), and the last flat cut
listed as pomelle veneer sheets and a closeup, this really look more like curly than pomelle
listed as "figured veneer", this is blistered veneer.
listed as figured burl veneer
this is all listed as burl veneer, but I believe that it is blistered veneer and the vendor made the same mistake I did when I first got a piece, in believing that it is a burl when it actually isn't.
bookmatched burl veneer
quartermatched burl veneer
listed as a root burl veneer
listed as a burl veneer, but actually blistered veneer, with unlikely color --- sometimes I just have to put in the silly pics I find on the Internet, just as a continuing validation of why I did this site in the first place.
a bar made from different colored planks of imbuia, showing a pretty good range of available colors.
guitar back made with fancy figured imbuia --- I'm sure it has a finishing agent applied and I'm not sure how accurate the color is or how much the finishing agent affected the color.
bowl by Bryan Nelson (NelsonWood). Bryan fine-polishes his bowls with 1200 or even higher grit sandpaper while they are spinning at high speed on the lathe and then finishes them there with a friction polish of his own devising, thus achieving a shine and color vibrancy that is beautiful to behold.