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Living in Hawaii I run across wood from trees that are unknown or at least rare in the rest of the country.  I have been clearing my 3 acres a bit at a time and have recently cut an Albizia (falcataria moluccana) and a Gunpowder tree (trema orientalis).  These may grow in southern Florida but I never saw any when I was there. 


Both of these trees are pretty much considered weed trees here as they grow fast and take over open ground rapidly.  The wood tends to be brittle and they lose branches in any kind of wind.  As they can get very tall this is a real problem.  After cutting them I noticed the wood had an interesting look to it so did some research.  Both are easy to dry/season but will develop cracks if the ends are not sealed with paint or wax.


Albizia is light in weight and color and has some streaks in it.  The grain is medium coarse but straight.  It is harder than balsa, about like bass.  Cuts and machines easily and glues well.  Will hold fastenings but needs to be drilled first to avoid splits.  Don't think it would work well for exposed work but as a filler or possibly a solid hull I think it would work fine.


Gunpowder Tree wood has a straight, fairly fine grain and is light brown to pinkish brown when dry.  The heart wood is light weight and a bit harder than bass when dry, the sap wood is lighter and softer.  Cuts, machines and glues well.  Holds fastenings fairly well.  Might make a good material for decking and other exposed work that is not under stress.


Neither wood is rot or insect resistant and both will stain if not dried properly. 

Edited by grsjax
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  • 3 weeks later...



When you get around to cutting those trees, I'm sure some of us here would love to see some pics of the wood. I've never heard of either one. Why do you suppose the one is called a gunpowder tree? Does it pop loudly when you burn it, perhaps?



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I will take some pics and post them.  I have read that the gunpowder tree wood was used to make charcoal that was used to make gunpowder and that is how the tree came to be call the gunpowder tree.  Don't know if that is true but it makes a good story.

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