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Sterculia rhinopetala

NOTE: this is a very coarse wood with strong blunting effect on cutting tools and is usually unattractive compared to many woods. I recommend against using it. The only reason I have so many samples is that I got a lot of them in mixed lots where they are thrown in readily because it's not a popular wood. The one plank I bought (my first sample below) ended up getting used entirely for shop jigs and firewood. As you can see from the bowl at the bottom of this page, this wood CAN be attractive in use, but it's a bear to turn (I think it has silica in it) --- my own experience is more severe in this regard than most reports, so perhaps I have obtained pieces that were unusually fibrous and silicaceous.

my samples:

both sides of a small piece of wawabima / Sterculia rhinopetala --- HUGE enlargements are present.

end grain and end grain closeup of the piece directly above

END GRAIN UPDATE from directly above

small piece cut-off the end of a thick plank, and the end grain of the same piece

end grain closeup of the piece directly above --- a section that has some sapwood. Note how the grain pattern in the sapwood is identical to that in the heartwood; only the color is different.

end grain closeup and END GRAIN UPDATE of a pure heartwood section of the piece directly above

both sides of a sample plank of wawabima. HUGE enlargements are present.

side grain and end side closeup of the piece directly above, shown because it's a perfectly quartersawn surface, nicely showing the little ray flaks of this species and also the graininess of the quartersawn surface (this surface was pretty well sanded, so there are some light sanding scratches easily visible in the 2nd enlargement but clearly these are at an angle to and different from the the coarse wood fibers running left to right

end grain and end grain closeup of the piece directly above

END GRAIN UPDATE from directly above

a couple of small sticks that give excellent examples of the two main forms of side grain pattern characteristic of this wood.

a plank with closeup and end grain

small sticks

END GRAIN UPDATE from one of the sticks directly above


stick and end grain

two views of a small plank that has been fine-sanded; the 2nd pic gives an excellent view of the blotchy-flake side grain pattern that can help identify this wood

the same piece as directly above but moistened with water

web pics:

flat cut planks


plank listed as lotofa (an alternate common name) / Sterculia rhinopetala --- I'm pretty sure the color is just silly, even if the wood was moistened for the pic.

wawabima segment on a laminated bowl. On the left is how it looked fresh off the lathe and on the right is after one coat of natural stain to block moisture absorbtion until I get around to putting on a few coats of polyurethane. This is the bottom of the bowl, so you don't even see this unless you turn the bowl upside down, which is a shame because this piece of wawabima looks unusually nice.