What don't I know about Cocobolo?

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Forum topic by OldWrangler posted 12-11-2014 04:39 AM 1183 views 0 times favorited 9 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View OldWrangler's profile


731 posts in 1894 days

12-11-2014 04:39 AM

Topic tags/keywords: question

Hey Guys, I know someone has my answer cause y’all always do.

I just finished a box and used some scrap Cocobolo as trim. Looks great but I have tried to finish it several ways and the Cocobolo always stays stick,. even 3-4 days later. I’ve tried rattle-can poly, wipe on poly, clear lacquer and Danish Oil. None of these worked. I brought it in the house where it would be warmer, I’ve washed the Cocobolo with paint thinner and again with Acetone., still no go. I know the wood is oily but I have had no trouble with other oily woods like Teak.

So what’s the secret?

-- I am going to go stand outside so if anyone asks about me, tell them I'M OUTSTANDING!

9 replies so far

View scopemonkey's profile


191 posts in 4463 days

#1 posted 12-11-2014 05:02 AM

Try a sealer coat of dewaxed shellac first, then topcoat with poly.

-- GSY from N. Idaho

View longgone's profile


5688 posts in 3608 days

#2 posted 12-11-2014 05:23 AM

You shouldn’t have the problem with lacquer. I have worked with Cocobolo a lot and finished around 25+ of them with lacquer without any problem. I used the Deft can lacquer.

View Spacehog's profile


87 posts in 1824 days

#3 posted 12-11-2014 08:43 AM

I agree about the dewaxed shellac. I’m surprised that you still had trouble after washing with Acetone. I usually wash the wood with Naphtha just before finishing, and it seems to do the trick with oily woods. The book I read said to apply the finish as soon as the Naphtha appears to have dried so that the oil doesn’t seep back out. I don’t know how much of a difference that would make, but maybe it would help. The book I read favored Naphtha because it dries extra fast which allows you to work with the wood quickly after washing it. Your situation sounds frustrating though! I hope you get it figured out.

-- Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might...

View Duckster's profile


382 posts in 1650 days

#4 posted 12-11-2014 01:23 PM

Let your little rubber ducky float around on it in your bathtub.

-- Duckster, Texas. {Any day of fishing, Beats a good day at work.} Wash your feet and love Jesus

View OldWrangler's profile


731 posts in 1894 days

#5 posted 12-11-2014 01:44 PM

Duck, you are always so much help…...thanks.

And who told you I have a bathtub?

-- I am going to go stand outside so if anyone asks about me, tell them I'M OUTSTANDING!

View Tennessee's profile


2895 posts in 2814 days

#6 posted 12-11-2014 02:42 PM

I usually wash it with acetone JUST before adding the first coat – in my case, usually Tru-Oil or spray lacquer. Never had any problems. I think Spacehog is right, have to do the finish immediately after the wash.

-- Tsunami Guitars and Custom Woodworking, Cleveland, TN

View Planeman40's profile


1365 posts in 3061 days

#7 posted 12-11-2014 05:39 PM

After having some minor reaction to breathing the dust from working with Cocobolo I found out it is a relative to Rosewood which figures as it is almost a hard and dense. These woods have an oil (sap?) in the wood that is mildly toxic. I imagine this oil is your finishing problem. I didn’t encounter a finishing problem as I used shellac.

-- Always remember: It is a mathematical certainty that half the people in this country are below average in intelligence!

View OldWrangler's profile


731 posts in 1894 days

#8 posted 12-12-2014 04:47 AM

Soon as someone suggested the shellac, I remembered I had this problem before and shellac was the answer. Thanks to all who helped. One coat of shellac is already dry and it sealed good. Tomorrow I start building up coats of poky.

Y’all are good. LJ is a valuable resource.

-- I am going to go stand outside so if anyone asks about me, tell them I'M OUTSTANDING!

View BigYin's profile


421 posts in 2716 days

#9 posted 12-12-2014 05:54 AM


Theres two kinds of people – them thats allergic to cocobolo and them that will be allergic to cocobolo…..

-- ... Never Apologise For Being Right ...

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