Family: Palmae, the palm family.
Origin: Coconut palm is a tropical tree that grows in moist soil worldwide, typically near saltwater. Because the fruit is not affected by saltwater, far-reaching ocean currents have carried and deposited them on beaches all around the globe.
Other common names: Coconut palm is the only distinctive name worldwide.
The tree: The tall, stately Coconut is one of the best known trees in the world. It often grows to a height of 100 ft. or more and is one of the top 10 most important trees in the world. The long, slender trunk and crown of graceful leaves and clusters of coconuts symbolizing tropical beaches and dream vacation paradises.
Appearance: Coconut is very different from our familiar soft and hardwoods. It contains tough, dark brown, vascular strands embedded in softer, lighter wood. The wood in the center is very pithy and soft but becomes harder and denser the closer it gets to the outer perimeter of the tree.
Density: Average reported specific gravity is about .56(ovendry weight/green volume), equal to an air-dried weight of 43 pcf. Janka hardness is 1600 pounds of force.
Drying & shrinkage: It should be dried slowly and the stacks weighted as it might show some tendency to warp. It can be treated with preservatives.
Working properties: Because of its mixed density, Coconut is somewhat a difficult wood to work with. It is difficult to turn and cannot be sliced for veneer but it sands very well. Sanding is probably the easiest method of working it, by first cutting the basic shape with sharp cutting tools then sanding it to a finish. It finishes well and produces a very unique pattern.
Durability: It is resistant to attack by powder post beetles but otherwise has a poor durability record.
Uses: Coconut has a variety of unusual uses including walking sticks, flooring, joinery, turnings, small novelties and despite its low durability rating, it is often used for posts in the tropics. During WWll it was used largely in defensive barricades and bunkers.
Availability: Because of its widespread growth, Coconut is very abundant but there are only limited supplies available commercially.