Desert Ironwood » Olneya tesota

Why Desert Ironwood?
Here's what to know about woodworking with this wood
woodworking characteristics


Olneya tesota is one of the densest and most stable woods known. It is so dense that it will not float in water, and so hard that it has been used for bearings. It's hardness and color variety means it yeilds extremely attractive appearance and finishes beautifully. Due to its hardness and tree size the pieces are small.
color of Desert Ironwood

Color Range

Ironwood is deep chocolate-brown, almost black, mottled with yellowish-red.
other names for Desert Ironwood

Other Names

Desert ironwood, Arizona ironwood, palo de hierro, tesota, palo de fierro, palofierro, Sonora ironwood
uses for Desert Ironwood

Some Typical Uses

Handles, jewelry, carvings, accents, decorative projects, boxes, hand craft.
the Desert Ironwood tree

What's the Tree Like?

If you've ever seen the tree, you'll know why the pieces are always small. The Desert Ironwood is a typical desert tree, which reaches a non-plussing height of 25 feet with a short thick trunk that is up to 18 inches in diameter. It's rarely straight, growing with all manner of twists and turns. The Desert Ironwood tree grows in North America
map of where this wood grows


lbs /Bd. Ft.
67.60% heavier than red oak (3.58 /bd. ft.)


Janka Rating
152.71% harder than red oak (1290 psi)


Specific Gravity
71.88% more dense than red oak (.64)

Woodworking with Desert Ironwood:

General Workability
Somewhat Difficult 9/10
Red Oak

Wood Texture
V. Fine 2/10
Red Oak

Ease of Finishing
Easy 1/10
Red Oak