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Also known as Brazilian Redwood or Bulletwood, Massaranduba is an economical alternative to some of the pricier decking options like Ipe. The species is widespread throughout Central and South America, grows in a variety of conditions and soils, and is quite large, making it an abundant species that is readily available. The Massaranduba tree grows to heights of 100 to 150 feet and has a wide trunk diameter. The trunk’s long, straight bole means more straight grain yield and lower wastage levels.
Massaranduba has a reddish-brown heartwood and a pale brown sapwood, although there is little demarcation between the two. The wood is very strong and hard (hence, “Bulletwood”), yet it still machines well, causing only moderate blunting of cutting edges. Massaranduba also finishes well and polishes to a high shine.
As a decking and exterior wood, Massaranduba makes a great Ipe alternative due to its high weather and insect resistance. With its deep red color, it is also an attractive wood for decking. The wood will silver with exposure, but the red color can be maintained with periodic treatment (which is also recommended to control potentially problematic wood movement).
The downside of Massaranduba wood is that stability can sometimes be an issue. While the wood is quite weather, insect, and rot resistant, one should consider the geography and climate of the final installation point before deciding on Massaranduba as the right species. Massaranduba can sometimes check badly in sudden temperature and moisture shifts, so if your climate is prone to such extreme changes, this weakness should be taken into account. The checking and warpage can be controlled, however, through proper treatment with finishes and oils.
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