Our Timber

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Mahoe is the timber tree currently being harvested from 24 – 28yrs old plantations at Las Casas de la Selva. Mahoe or Hibiscus elatus, (also known as “Blue Mahoe” for the characteristic coloration of its wood after milling), is a tree native to Jamaica and Cuba. A volunteer species, characteristic of open disturbed habitats and also found, due to its shade tolerance, as an understory tree in secondary forests, mahoe grows to 25 m tall and upwards of 100 cm DBH (KIMBER, 1970).  It was recognized as a potentially important species for plantation and forest enrichment after a survey by Jamaican foresters (LONG, 1963 cited in KIMBER, 1970). It is an excellent wood with a rich variety of colors and attractive grain, but surprisingly, very little mahoe is currently being produced anywhere else. The first plantings in Puerto Rico were in the 1940s and it has been also been introduced to other Caribbean islands and Hawaii for evaluation. It has become naturalized in Mexico, Peru, Brazil, southern Florida and the West Indies (CHUDNOFF, 1982 cited in WEAVER, FRANCIS, n.d.)

BUY OUR MAHOE WOOD
Mahoe turning and carving blanks are $26.00 per board foot
Mahoe lumber (wood from the mill that requires no further processing) is $20.00 per board foot. Wood for sale may include some sapwood, and all ends are anchor-sealed. Mahoe can vary greatly in color from tree to tree, the blue tone does not tend to endure for many years. The wood transforms over time to shades of browns, purples, greys, and bluey-greens. See pictures below of the variety of mahoe colors.

ABOUT PUERTO RICO HARDWOODS

For hardwood timber sales, email  3t Vakil,
3t(at)eyeontherainforest.org
Please include in your email:
1) Approx dimensions in inches.
2) Your shipping address.
3) Your shipping preference for a quote: Priority (8-12 days) or Standard Mail (14-18 days) .
We accept secure payments through Paypal.

Buying our wood and products is the best way to support our sustainable forestry enterprise in Puerto Rico. Thank you for your support, it is highly appreciated.

selective-thinning

Mahoe, Talipariti elatum, (formerly Hibiscus elatus), is a large forest tree endemic to Jamaica, Cuba, and now naturalized in Puerto Rico. The straight stems of mature specimens can rise to a height of 80 feet, with trunk diameters of 12 to 18 inches, on favorable sites attaining diameters of 36 inches. Its relatively fast growth makes mahoe a highly suitable candidate for sustainable forestry management. The leaves are long-stalked heart-shaped, flowers are large and funnel shaped, usually red, but occasionally yellow or orange.
Mahoe is a moderately hard wood with a specific gravity of 0.58-0.62. The heartwood is very durable, highly resistant to attack by decay fungus, and resistant to subterranean termites. The fairly straight grain is richly variegated with shades of steely blues, metal grays, deep purples and pinks, olive greens and yellows, creams and browns, along with an elegant chatoyance in the wood. The narrow sapwood is pale white and subtly flecked, creating an attractive contrast with the heartwood. From reports and our own experience, the timber is generally easy to saw, plane, route, mould, mortise, carve, glue, nail, screw, sand, and turn, with a natural gloss in the wood when finished. It responds very well to both hand and machine tools in all woodworking operations. The wood has a musical quality and has been traditionally used in the making of cuatros, (puertorican guitars). Fine boxes, furnitures, inlay works, floors, details, turned pieces, exquisite jewelleries, sculptures, and ancient board games, have been, and demand to be transformed from the Mahoe. Architects, furniture-makers, designers, artists & wood lovers will find a charm in working with this wood.
Despite there being no scientific evidence to back up cutting trees only in the waning moon, we do only harvest trees in the waning moon. Some links on this topic : http://cms.herbalgram.org/herbalgram/issue85/article3488.html  http://www.moontimediary.com.au/working-with-the-moon-phase-diary-and-lunar-calendar/  http://sustainablesources.com/GSBNarchives/msg03545.html.

Four Week Termite Test of Hibiscus elatus (Blue Mahoe) Sapwood and Heartwood Against Feeding by the Eastern Subterranean Termite Reticulitermes flavipes (Kolla

Wood blocks of H. elatus sapwood and heartwood in addition to southern pine controls were cut to about 25.4 mm square by 6.4 mm (n=5). All blocks were dried in an oven at 40ºC overnight, weighed, and conditioned at 27oC to a 12.9% equilibrium moisture content prior to being subjected to a termite bioassay according to a no-choice test procedure (ASTM 1998c). Each block was placed in a lidded-test dish with 50 g sand, 8.5 mL DI water and 1g termites. Dishes were incubated at 27oC and 80% RH for 4 weeks. After four weeks, blocks were removed from the dishes, cleaned, dried, re-conditioned and weighed to determine weight loss. A visual rating of attack was recorded for each block.
Visual ratings are based on a 10-point scale: 10 being sound wood and 0 being complete failure (AWPA 2003). Sapwood of H. elatus had an average visual rating of 9, while the heartwood had an average rating of 9.2 (see figure 1). A rating of 9 signifies slight attack, with up to 3% of cross sectional area being affected. Control Southern yellow pine blocks had an average visual rating of 0, signifying complete failure. Mass losses observed also showed minimal damage to the blocks, though heartwood is significantly more resistant to termite feeding than is the sapwood. No mortality was observed in any of the groups.
Figure 1: Test Blocks
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  • Arango, R.A., Green, F., Hintz, K., Lebow, P.K. & Miller, R.B. (2006) Natural durability of tropical and native woods against termite damage by Reticulitermes flavipes (Kollar)
    International Biodeterioration & Biodegradation 57: 146-150.
  • American Society for Testing Materials. (1998c) Standard test method for laboratory evaluation of wood and other cellulosic materials for resistance to termites. D345-74. In: Annual Book of Standards, Vol. 04.01. ASTM, West Conshohocken, PA. pp. 430-432.
  • AWPA (2003) Standard method of testing wood preservatives by laboratory soil block cultures E10-01. In: Annual Book of AWPA Standards, American Wood Preservers’ Association, Selma, Alabama, USA, pp. 419-429.
  • Experiment carried out for Tropic Ventures, Nov/Dec 2006
    Rachel Arango, Biological Laboratory Technician, USDA Forest Products Laboratory
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Q: Why is Mahoe sometimes called Blue Mahoe when it varies through so many colors? A: Because of its bluey green shades it was called Blue Mahoe to distinguish it from its relative, the seaside mahoe (Hibiscus tiliaceus L.) Above: images of Mahoe leaves, flowers, seeds,  and trees.