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PILON

Hyeronima alchorneoides

THE TIMBER:
Both the color and density of this wood can vary considerably. The heartwood is generally reddish-brown, although it is not uncommon to find pilon that is dark chocolate-brown, comparable in color to black walnut. The sapwood is normally light pinkish-tan and is much softer than the heartwood. Pilon's somewhat coarse texture and often interlocked grain give it a mahogany-like appearance, but it is much heavier and less lustrous. The wood is very strong and elastic. It is only slightly less rugged than Brazilian rosewood in most respects.

WORKABILITY:
On first examination, on would think pilon should be more popular than it is. It has adequate strength for most furniture applications, its color and figure rival both mahogany and walnut, and it machines quite well, except for its slight tendency to chip when pieces with extremely interlocked grain are planed. Like most dense woods, screws and heavy -gauge nails require pilot holes, but it is easy to finish. With reasonable care in selecting uniformly colored material for a given project, it is dark enough so as not to need staining and it takes varnish beautifully. While it does not have an inordinate tendency to check, it is so prone to warping and volumetric change it is difficult to find boards that are flat enough for use in anything but small projects. Router bits and belt sanders cause the wood's resin to burn or darken quickly.

USES:
Within its native range, pilon is used for heavy construction such as beams and bridge timbers where its strength and elasticity are especially advantageous. Also, its durability makes it a good wood for both shipbuilding and railroad ties. Some is used for flooring, plywood, veneer, turnery and furniture.

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