Green Heart Wood

Green Heart Wood and Greenheart Wood - Same Thing!

You'll sometimes see this tropical hardwood called "Green Heart Wood" and sometimes you'll see "Greenheart Wood".  Rest assured, it's the same wood.  Some people simply prefer to SPLIT the name (a little "lumber humor" there).  We use both names interchangeably so that we don't alienate either group. 

What Makes Green Heart Wood So Great?

Greenheart wood is attractive, durable, versatile and environmentally friendly. It is a tropical hardwood that is world renowned for its strength and durability. It is highly resistant to decay, termites, fire, and marine organisms. Greenheart requires no treatment and it's three to four times stronger than pine or fir. Greenheart can be specially milled for your desired project. This superior timber has been engineered and used in many projects such as fender systems, lock gates, framing, decking and pilings.

These photos provide insight into just some of the potential of green heart wood:

8" x 10" Greenheart Timber Frame - Florida
8" x 10" Greenheart Timber Frame - Florida

Green heart Timber loaded on 40' Flat Rack
Green heart Timber loaded on 40' Flat Rack

3" x 12" Greenheart lumber - Coney Island Board Walk, N.Y.
3" x 12" Greenheart lumber - Coney Island Board Walk, N.Y.

Green Heart Decking - St. Thomas
Green Heart Decking - St. Thomas

Specially milled Greenheart supplied to Scotland - 2005
Specially milled Greenheart supplied to Scotland - 2005

Below is a copy of the official USDA Forest Service "Center for Wood Anatomy Research" spec sheet on greenheart wood.  Download the Greenheart wood PDF spec sheet, or read the HTML version below.

Center for Wood Research Logo

Ocotea rodiaei

Family: Lauraceae

Demerara Greenheart


Other Common Names: Bibiru, Sipiri, Kevatuk (Guyana), Beeberoe, Demerara, groenhart, Sipiroe (Surinam).

Distribution: Commercial quantities mostly in the north central portion of Guyana but also found in Surinam and in the Venezuelan Guiana. It has also been reported from the Maroni Region of western French Guiana and from northern Brazil.

The Tree: Grows to a height of 130 ft with diameters up to 40 in., commonly 16 to 24 in. in diameter with heights of 100 ft. Boles are cylindrical, straight, and clear for 50 to 75 ft with only moderate taper; usually basally swollen or with low buttresses.

The Wood:

General Characteristics: Heartwood varies from light to dark olive green or blackish often with intermingling of lighter and darker areas; not sharply defined from the pale yellow or greenish sapwood. Texture fine and uniform; grain straight to roey; lustrous; odorless and tasteless when dry.

Weight: Basic specific gravity (ovendry weight/green volume) 0.80 to 0.91; air- dry density 62 to 70 pcf.

Mechanical Properties: (First set of data based on the 2-cm standard; second on the 2-in. standard.)

Janka side hardness 1,880 lb for green material and 2,360 lb at 12% moisture content.

Drying and Shrinkage: The wood dries very slowly with a marked tendency to check and end split; however, warping is not serious and the total amount of degrade is not excessive. Lumber over 1 in. in thickness should be air-seasoned prior to kiln-drying. Kiln schedule T2-C2 is suggested for 4/4 stock and T2-C1 for 8/4. Shrinkage green to ovendry: radial 8.8%; tangential 9.6%; volumetric 17.1%. Movement in service is rated medium.

Working Properties: Moderately difficult to work with hand or machine tools because of its density, dulls cutting edges rather quickly but finishes to a fine smooth lustrous surface. Turns easily and takes a high polish. A moderately good steam-bending wood. Gluing gives variable results.

Durability: The heartwood is rated highly resistant to attack by decay fungi and is also rated as highly resistant to attacks by marine borers but this may vary from one locality to another, particularly in brackish waters. Highly resistant to attack by dry-wood termites.

Preservation: Impermeable to preservative treatments.

Uses: Marine and ship construction, lock gates, docks, industrial flooring, vats, filter press plates, piling, heavy construction, turnery, specialty items (fishing rods, billiard cue butts).

Additional Reading: (22), (40), (42), (46)

22. Farmer, R. H. (Editor). 1972. Handbook of hardwoods. H. M. Stationery Office, London.
40. Kynoch, W., and N. A. Norton. 1938. Mechanical properties of certain tropical woods chiefly from South America. Univ. of Mich. School of Forestry and Conservation Bull. No. 7.
42. Lavers, G. M. 1969. The strength properties of timbers. For. Prod. Res. Bull. No.
50. H. M. Stationery Office. London.
46. Longwood, F. R. 1962. Present and potential commercial timbers of the Caribbean.
Agriculture Handbook No. 207. U.S. Department of Agriculture.

From: Chudnoff, Martin. 1984. Tropical Timbers of the World. USDA Forest Service.
Ag. Handbook No. 607.



Articles Related to
Green Heart Wood

Coming Soon!


Copyright 2011 -  Durable Wood Products. All Rights Reserved.