Color/Appearance:Color can be highly varied, ranging from reddish/orange to a dark violet/brown, usually with contrasting darker black streaks. Narrow sapwood is a pale yellow and is clearly demarcated from the heartwood.
Grain/Texture:Grain is typically straight, though sometimes slightly irregular or interlocked depending on the species. Fine, even texture and a naturally high luster—though depending on the particular species, the wood can have a coarser, more fibrous texture.
Endgrain:Diffuse-porous; medium pores in no specific arrangement, moderately numerous; solitary and radial multiples of 2-3; mineral deposits occasionally present; parenchyma banded, diffuse-in-aggregates, vasicentric; narrow rays, spacing close.
Rot Resistance:Rated as very durable, though quite susceptible to insect attack, and not recommended in direct ground contact.
Workability:Pau Ferro is considered overall to be of fair workability, as it can blunt the cutting edges of tools, and any irregular grain has a tendency to tearout during machining operations. Also, many of the same challenges ingluingrosewoods are common to Pau Ferro as well. Pau Ferro turns and finishes well.
Odor:Depending on the species, the wood can have a characteristic scent.
Allergies/Toxicity:Although severe reactions are quite uncommon, Pau Ferro has been reported as asensitizer. Usually most common reactions simply include eye and skin irritation. Anecdotal evidence suggests that there is a high rate of reaction among woodworkers, and the wood contains the very same sensitizing substances as those found in rosewoods(Dalbergiagenus). See the articlesWood Allergies and ToxicityandWood Dust Safetyfor more information.