Common Name(s): Balsa
Scientific Name: Ochroma pyramidale
Distribution: Tropical regions of the Americas; also grown on plantations
Janka Hardness: 350
Color/Appearance: Heartwood tends to be a pale reddish brown color, though it is not commonly seen in commercial lumber. Most boards/blocks of Balsa are from the sapwood, which is a white to off-white or tan color, sometimes with a pink or yellow hue.
Grain/Texture: Balsa has a straight grain with a medium to coarse texture and low natural luster.
Workability: Generally very easy to work with virtually no dulling effect on cutters; yet because of its extremely low density, fuzzy surfaces can be a problem when using dull cutters. Balsa generally should not be used to hold nails, with glue being the preferred method of joining. Balsa stains and finishes well, though it has a tendency to soak up large quantities of material on the initial coats.
Sustainability: This wood species is not listed in the CITES Appendices or on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.
Common Uses: Buoys, rafts, surfboards, model airplanes, musical instruments, packing/transport cases, core stock in sandwich laminations, and fishing lures.