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PAELA

Caesalpinia platyloba and Caesalpinia violacea

Caesalpinia platyloba and Caesalpinia violacea of the family Fabaceae (syn Leguminosae) the legume, pea, or bean family

Also widely known in the USA as chakte viga. This wood is very easy to work, has a nice orange/red color, and reportedly has good tonal qualities. It often is strongly iridescent, as can be seen in at least one of the bowl segments at the bottom of this page.

Some vendors seem to use the name chakte viga for the lumber and paela for the burl form, but both are common names for the same wood. I have generally noted on this page if a wood was listed as chakte viga instead of paela (the absence of such a note implies paela) although I don't know that it really matters since there appears to be only two species that are sold as this wood, under either name. I can confirm that the wood darkens with exposure and I believe reports that say it is color fast after the initial darkening.

The Paela species (Caesalpinia platyloba and Caesalpinia violacea) are closely related to Pernambuco (Caesalpinia echinata) and they sometimes look quite similar, even to the extent of it being pretty much impossible to tell then apart by simple visual inspection. What paela is NOT closely related to is "chakte" or "chakte-kok" which are names for Sickingia salvadorensis, but these IS some confusion out on the internet between the two because some vendors insist on calling paela "chakte".

my samples:
NOTE: these pics were all taken in very bright incandescent lighting ("soft white" at 2700K)
colors will vary under other lighting conditions


COLOR CHANGE IN PAELA --- two sides of a piece of paela. The sides were identical in color when freshly sanded but I exposed one side (shown on the right) to direct sunlight for a couple of afternoons and this is the result.



paela exposure series --- both sides are raw, freshly sanded, and half has been covered and the rest exposed to light. The first pic is the raw baseline and the 2nd pic shows the exposure after one month. To see the complete series, click here: paela exposure series As you can see just from these two shots, paela darkens with age, although the darkening is really more just a shift from orange to a less attractive orangish-brown. The reason for the darker color along both upper and lower edges is because the is a piece sliced off of the edge of a plank and the edges shown here are where the face grain patina went into the wood for about 1/8th of an inch on both sides.


both sides of a sample plank of chakte / Caesalpinia platyloba --- HUGE enlargements are present. This sample was loaned to me by David Clark whom I thank for this and other contributions to the site. Other than the vendor of this plank, I have not seen the name "chakte" (except as "chakte viga") used for Caesalpinia platyloba. The color on this piece is outstanding, but not unique as you'll see from further pics below.


end grain and end grain closeup of the piece directly above


END GRAIN UPDATE from directly above


both sides of a sample plank listed as chakte / Caesalpinia platyloba --- HUGE enlargements are present. This sample was loaned to me by Mark Peet whom I thank for this and other contributions to the site. Other than the vendor of this plank, I have not seen the name "chakte" (except as "chakte viga") used for Caesalpinia platyloba.


end grain and end grain closeup of the piece directly above


END GRAIN UPDATE from directly above


both sides of a sample plank of chakte viga / Caesalpinia violacea --- HUGE enlargements are present. This sample was loaned to me by David Clark whom I thank for this and other contributions to the site.


end grain and end grain closeup of the piece directly above. The end grain pic does not have as rich a color as the wood actually has (which is correctly represented in the face grain shots directly above)


END GRAIN UPDATE from directly above


both sides of a sample plank of chakte viga / Caesalpinia violacea --- HUGE enlargements are present. This sample was loaned to me by David Clark whom I thank for this and other contributions to the site. The second side is freshly sanded whereas the first side has a bit of an age patina.


end grain and end grain closeup of the piece directly above


END GRAIN UPDATE from directly above


both sides of a sample plank listed as chakte / Caesalpinia platyloba --- HUGE enlargements are present. This sample was loaned to me by David Clark whom I thank for this and other contributions to the site. Personally, I do not like using the name "chakte" for paela because that contributes to the confusion between paela (Caesalpinia platyloba) and chakte-kok (Sickingia salvadorensis)


end grain and end grain closeup of the piece directly above


END GRAIN UPDATE from directly above



both sides of a sample plank of paela / Caesalpinia spp. --- HUGE enlargements are present. This was cut from the
both sides of a plank (sold to me as chakte viga) and the end grain for each end --- the 1st pic is of a side that has been freshly exposed through light sanding and the 2nd pic is of a side that has been long exposed and thus has some patina. There is an obvious crack through the center of the piece. This piece came from a mixed lot from the BogusColorVendor so you can compare the accurately represented color of these pics to those web pics of theirs at the bottom of this page. As usual, their pics are generally not to be believed although a few of them are probably not too overdone since this species really CAN be quite a strong orange color. This plank is slightly lighter in color than what I have now come to believe is average for this wood.


end grain closeup from the piece directly above --- color is a little too dull and sanding marks are rather severe but check out the update directly below


END GRAIN UPDATE from directly above --- part of the reason for the color deepening, in addition to the explanation given in the link, is that the piece has aged considerably and is now a deeper, richer orange than it was when the original pics above were taken. Also, you can see that the cracks have opened up a bit more (although this is somewhat exaggerated by the fine dust that makes them stand out more than in the original)


turning stick and end grain


end grain and side grain closeups from the piece directly above


HIGH GRIT END GRAIN CLOSEUP of one of the planks somewhere on this page, done to get another pic for the anatomy pages


raw plank and end grain --- once I've sanded it down, I'll get an end grain closeup (see below)


fine-sanded small piece and end grain (cut from the larger one directly above) --- I was dismayed to find that the rich orange color only goes about 1/8" deep from each face surface. I don't know if exposure will turn any cut surface rich orange eventually, but I'm assuming (and hoping) so. My only previous piece of this wood was a small turning stick less than 1" square and a foot long (see sample at top of page) and it was rich orange throughout (although a lighter orange than this one), as you can see from its use in the bowl shown at the bottom of this page.


end grain closeup of the piece directly above


another plank from the same vendor --- I'll do closeups when I've cut-off a piece and sanded it.


a batch of sticks --- these are a very light, and somewhat dull, orangish yellow color, accurately represented here


both sides of a plank that was planed some time ago and has a patina --- color is just a little darker than the wood; a smaller piece was cut out of this and is shown directly below with a more correct color


both sides of a sample plank of paela / Caesalpinia spp. --- HUGE enlargements are present. This was cut from the piece directly above and the color here is more correct.


end grain and end grain closeup of the piece directly above


END GRAIN UPDATE from directly above


both sides of a plank that was planed some time ago and has a patina --- color is accurate


sticks, showing some of the color variety that occurs in paela --- these were cut from a 1-inch thick plank and this is the side grain in each case


long plank with a crack through most of it --- the plank was cut in half for shipping. The closeup has enlargements


plank and closeup


two sets of planks, showing some good color variation. The set on the left is not actually quite as orange as the pics shows --- I messed up a little on the color correction.


planks --- color of wood is actually a little brighter than what shows here


planks and closeup --- these are both the prettiest and the ugliest paela I've ever gotten. The top board is so washed out that I am just trusting the vendor (whom I DO trust) that it is paela. I certainly would not have identified it as such had I picked it up at a lumber store. The lower planks have a fantastically rich red/orange color as you can see.


both sides of a sample plank of paela / Caesalpinia spp. --- HUGE enlargements are present. This was cut from the
small plank cut from the "washed-out colored" larger one directly above and medium-fine sanded, plus an end grain pic


end grain closeup of the piece directly above --- as you can see by comparing it to other end grain closeups on this page, it has the identical pattern to other paela, so it appears that my trust in the vendor is well founded. (I knew that).


END GRAIN UPDATE from directly above


planks and closeup showing sapwood --- colors are accurate but the closeup shows the color as it appears in a bright light and the distance pic shows a more normal lighting color


planks with a nice variety of color within each plank


both faces of a plank that has been medium-fine sanded.


both sides of a sample plank of paela / Caesalpinia spp. --- HUGE enlargements are present. This was cut from the
both ends of the same plank. As you can see, the side that is fresh cut exposes a section where the deep rich orange color has not yet developed. As you can see from the time exposure series linked at the top of this page, that color WILL develop with time and exposure.


end grain closeup of the piece directly above and an END GRAIN UPDATE from a sample in the same batch as the one above.


stick and end grain --- this strong color streaking is usually associated with small splits in the wood


end grain closeup of the piece directly above --- this is the OTHER end from the one of which I took the normal end grain pic.


both sides of a plank that has numerous worm-holes and the associated color change that sometimes comes along with "bug poop".


planks with nice rich dark color


plank and end grain (cut from one of the larger pieces directly above)


end grain closeup of the piece directly above


both sides of a curly paela plank --- the curl is stronger than what shows up here


both sides of a sample plank of paela / Caesalpinia spp. --- HUGE enlargements are present. This was cut from the
curly plank and end grain --- this was cut from the larger plank above and sanded down for the pics


end grain closeup and END GRAIN UPDATE of the piece directly above


both sides of a sample plank of paela / Caesalpinia spp. --- HUGE enlargements are present. This was cut from the
From one of the larger planks somewhere on this page I made this "formal sample" sized piece for a friend --- HUGE enlargements are present. The plank has been out in my garage for years but I think it was for most of that time covered by other planks but still, that explains some of the richness of the color on the heartwood side. The other side is mostly sapwood.


end grain and end grain closeup of the piece directly above


END GRAIN UPDATE from directly above


both sides of a sample plank of yarua / Caesalpinia vesicaria --- HUGE enlargements are present. This sample was loaned to me by David Clark whom I thank for this and other contributions to the site. NOTE: this is NOT a wood that has paela as a common name, but it is a closely related species and since it does not deserve its own page on this site, my choices were to put it here w/ paela or not list it at all, so here it is.


end grain and end grain closeup of the piece directly above


END GRAIN UPDATE from directly above

web pics:


plank (listed as chakte viga) with wet and dry sections --- the dry section appears to me to be unusually dull for this species


planks --- based on my experience, I'd say ALL of these colors could well be accurate


plank with a heavy pith check down the middle


turning blocks


turning block listed as chakte viga


planks, all listed as chakte viga


plank listed as chakte viga and with a color that I think is a little over the top


planks and closeups, both from the same vendor and both listed as chakte viga


scales


figured planks listed as chakte viga


curly planks with completely unbelievable color


curly planks with believable color


turning squares listed as chakte viga


veneer listed as chakte viga / Caesalpinia platyloba



burls


burls --- note how the burl is a totally different color from the wood of the tree --- I believe that paela burls are always root burls; I'll check it out


two views of the same burl (pics are obviously not quite to the same scale)


burl


burl and closeup


two ends of the same burl


two bookmatched sets of burl planks from the same vendor --- judging from the shape I would say that it is inescapable that these are from the same burl despite the significant difference in color between the two pics.



these are all from the BogusColorVendor so the colors are highly suspect. Also, these were all listed as "chakte viga" which is a widely used alternate common name for paela. Some vendors use chakte viga for the "normal" wood and paela for the burl.


plank


figured plank


both sides and a closeup of a plank


both sides and closeup of a plank


both sides of a figured plank and a closeup --- this was listed as "lace" chake viga, which I believe is just a marketing term made up by this vendor, but I could be wrong --- they are so fundamentally dishonest that I don't believe anything they say.


plank closeups


planks


both sides and a closeup of a plank listed as fiddleback





hair clip made from paela burl; seems to have much heavier gum pockets than is typical of this burl. The owner of the site I stole this image from, Emily Palm of Blue Heron Woodworks, tells me the finish is a mix of tung and linseed oils plus a bit of waterlox.


paela bowl turned by correspondent Jim Voss, who finished it w/ Behlen's Master Woodturner's Finish, an alcohol-based finish. I cannot say for sure that this color is totally accurate but I find it totally believable and Jim says it looks pretty accurate (I had to correct it quite a bit from what he sent, which he said was not accurate at all)


one of my laminated bowls, with a nice piece of paela at the front of this pic. This piece was made from the relatively light-color piece at the very top of this page.


laminated bowl with an iridescent paela section (lower right) that is just gorgeous.