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Brazilian Cherry, aka Jatoba

I plan to follow Mary's lesson on carving a pie crust table top.  Is a tropical hardwood like this out of the question for this project?


I'm new to carving and don't know if a wood like this is doable or not.


Many thanks, Tom.


I'll take a shot at this since no one else has. I've never carved Jatoba but after reading up on it I think I'd pass on it for this project. Seems it's very hard plus it commonly has silica deposits. Both the hardness and the silica will dull your tools quickly and you'll spend a lot of time sharpening. If I was going to do this project I'd look for real cherry or walnut. Both are hard, though from what I read not as hard as Jotoba, and neither have silica deposits. I've carved both walnut and cherry and find they carve well and hold detail well. My preference would be cherry.

As for being new to carving, from what I've seen of Mary's lessons she goes step-by-step and you should have no trouble following along.

Just my opinion so take it for what it's worth.

Thomas Colligan has reacted to this post.
Thomas Colligan

Hi Thomas,

Sorry for the delay in responding to your message. I just saw this. Thanks Jim for your replay, and I agree with you. As a beginning carver I would hesitate to try anything that extreme. It could get very frustrating. The mahogany I used was very nice, but if you choose mahogany, you really need to make sure it's not one of those with challenging grain. Most likely if you find something as large as it needs to be for a pie crust table, it will be old growth mahogany with is just heavenly to carve 🙂

As Jim also mentioned, walnut or cherry would be other preferred wood, but each challenging because of the hardness of the wood. Maybe try to carve a section of the pie crust table in basswood so you can get the grain direction, shape and technique down, and then try working a test piece in whatever wood you will want to carve the table in. It's always good to become familiar with the wood before diving into a large piece of expensive wood. Just my thoughts...

Have fun!

Thomas Colligan has reacted to this post.
Thomas Colligan