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SAPODILLA

Manilkara spp.

Manilkara spp. of the family Sapotaceae, including at least Manilkara huberi, Manilkara jaimiqui, Manilkara valenzuelana, and Manilkara zapota and may also include Manilkara bidentata, which is usually sold as bulletwood or massaranduba and has its own page on this site as bulletwood. The Plant List lists 53 (!!!) synonyms for Manilkara zapota, which is quite humorous to those who prefer common names and don't believe botanical names are all that unique. Also on this page is Manilkara bahamensis (wild sapodilla).

This is a very hard, heavy wood but works reasonably well. It grows throughout Latin and Central America and is used primarily for heavy construction due to its strength.

The wood is a rich pink when first exposed but fairly quickly turns brown, thus creating a "rare steak" effect in planks that have developed the brown outside but have freshly exposed insides, as you can see below.

Although sapodilla and massaranduba are consistently listed by many sources
as being from different groups of Manilkara species, the more I look at
them the less I am able to find ANY characteristic that distinguishes
them from each other at the level of 1200 grit sanding and 12X examination,
and they have some shared botanical names


my samples:
NOTE: these pics were all taken in very bright incandescent lighting --- colors will vary under other lighting conditions


both sides of a sample plank of sapodilla / Manilkara zapota --- 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


END GRAIN UPDATE from directly above


plank, raw --- no surfacing at all and it has what I discovered to be a rust colored patina


plank and end grain --- this was cut from the plank directly above and you can see the significant difference in color now that I've sanded off the patina. Also, note the salmon pink inside and note that the darker color goes into the wood a good 1/4 inch --- I have no idea whether this is a function of how long the wood has been dried but the vendor I bought it from describes the look, very appropriately I think, as a "rare steak" appearance that he says changes to a more solid brown over time.


end grain closeup of the piece directly above


END GRAIN UPDATE from directly above --- this was taken many years after the pics above and the "raw steak" color is long gone


side grain closeup of the same piece


the same piece as above, but this time shown dry and wet (with water) side by side so you can see how a finishing agent is likely to enrich the color of the wood.


both sides of a sample plank of sapodilla / Manilkara zapota --- 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 only explanation for why the color on this is so far off of the other pieces here is species differences. The end grain characteristic are the same as the other pieces, aside from the color difference.


end grain and end grain closeup of the piece directly above


END GRAIN UPDATE from directly above


both sides of a sample plank of wild sapodilla / Manilkara bahamensis --- 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


END GRAIN UPDATE from directly above


both sides of a sample plank of wild sapodilla / Manilkara bahamensis --- 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


END GRAIN UPDATE from directly above


both sides of a sample plank of sapodilla burl / Manilkara zapota --- 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


END GRAIN UPDATE from directly above



The Wood Book pics


flat cut, quartersawn, end grain
sapodilla (listed as Sapota achras, which is now taken as just a syn. for Manilkara zapota) from The Wood Book --- both levels of enlargement are available for each of the 3 views

web pics:


plank from the vendor who sold me all the pieces you see above in "my pics". I think he got the color too far into the red on this pic


plank


planks listed as sapodilla / Manilkara zapota