Monkey Pod Wood

Here's a little information on Monkey Pod wood, also sometimes called just "Monkey Wood."February 25, 2009

A bid package we have has things made out of monkey wood. Has anybody ever used this or heard of it? Is it available in solid or veneer?

Forum Responses
(Architectural Woodworking Forum)
From contributor R:
I have milled monkey pod, if it’s the same as described. It is seen often in Hawaii. From my experience you will need carbide to mill this species. It is hard as rock and very dense.

From contributor L:
When I was in the Philippians they made salad bowls for the tourist trade out of monkey pod. It kind of looked like mahogany.

From contributor S:
Apparently they use monkey wood for carvings, salad bowls, and etc. so it shouldn't be toxic.

From Gene Wengert, forum technical advisor:
Monkey pod is also called monkey wood. There are several different species in the genus of Enterolobium, so that can account for the variation in appearance. There is no assurance that a common name used for this genus is not also used for another wood of a different genus, as common names are freely used by merchants.

From contributor D:
I know my brother-in-law has some trees in his yard in Kansas that he calls monkey trees. They have a reddish brown fuzz for bark on young growth and as they get older the bark becomes more like normal bark. I have not known these to get very big, and they are slow growing.

From contributor E:
I have never worked with monkey wood, but five years ago I purchased a dining set made of monkey wood. It is one of the most durable I have ever owned. It seems to be a very hard wood.

The comments below were added after this Forum discussion was archived as a Knowledge Base article (add your comment).

Comment from contributor A:
I am going to build a Martin 'D' sized acoustic guitar. A well-known luthier supply house has back and side sets for sale. Monkey pod wood seems to have very good and unusual grain patterns. As it is used for guitar back and sides, it will be a hard, dense wood weighing in at the 40lb per cubic foot range. Some exotic tropical hardwoods are known to be toxic and protection should be used (frequent hand washing). I don't know if monkey pod is toxic, but anyone planning to use this wood should do further research.

Comment from contributor B:
Monkey Pod is plentiful in Hawaii. I work with it regularly and offer it in 4/4" and 8/4" at my lumber yard. I haven't seen it in veneer/plywood. It is close to working with mahogany in every way. It has a strong odor that is a little irritating. You should definitely use a respirator.