Cocobolo Desk Designs: All Things You Should Know Before Buying

In the post-pandemic world, home offices have become a necessity for most people. And what would make a better home office than the one which is classily decorated and invokes motivation in the worker?

And if you make the frontline staff of your organization or have to deal face-to-face with your clients regularly, you can’t skimp on the designing, furnishing, and decoration of your office. After all, you have to make a convincing first impression.

Cocobolo desks make a prominent item that shouts class and privilege. They are elegant, rare, and extremely durable. With all these qualities, it is just understandable that these artifacts are hard to own or buy. And when you get the right material and design, you have to cough up thousands of bucks to acquire it.

Still interested in getting a cocobolo desk for your office? Know why it’s famous and how you can maintain the elegance for which it is known.

Read More: Types of Wood Finishes

What is a Cocobolo Desk?

If you have come here after watching Better Call Saul and want to search more about the elegant desk he had in his office, you may not have fully appreciated the value of this artifact, yet. While most people get this wood and its products because of its rarity, there are several facts about this hardwood that makes it praiseworthy.

Cocobolo wood is harvested from the cocobolo tree. Scientifically, this tree is known as Dalbergia Retusa. This deciduous plant grows between 20 and 25 meters. The tree can have different structures. Sometimes, it stands tall with an elongated crown and straight trunk. At other times, the tree is smaller in size and spreading.

Previously, this tree was widespread. However, because of excessive cutting down and minimal plantation, the species has gone rare. Now, authorities and growers are showing an interest in planting it but its slow growth rate means that it’s not going to get replenished any time soon.

The tree takes around two decades to mature.

Another reason for its rarity is the imbalance between the efforts to replenish the species and the rate of cutting it down. Because of its excessive harvest, the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species (2009) has categorized it as Endangered.

What Makes Cocobolo Desk So Popular?

Cocobolo Desks So Popular

More knowledgeable people in the field of woodworking admire this material because of its grains. It showcases a variety of grain patterns from straight to interlock. The straight grain of cocobolo is very rare and is only harvested from large trees. Mostly, the pattern is swirly.

Also, its grain is tight. The patterns made by the grain vary from plant to plant but always carry aesthetic appeal.

Its unique tones and patterns of tones include purple, orange, and red hues.

The rarity – for which it is popular – comes from its slow growth. Once fully grown to 60 feet, woodcutters have to employ special care to harvest and prepare the wood for further processing. Some cocobolo trees also grow up to a height of 80 feet.

Most commonly found trees are 2ft wide. Rarely, their diameter may also grow to 3ft. In such cases, the trees are poorly-formed. These trees, however, give the most exotic wood because of their beautiful design.

Its popularity among the Chinese because of its reminiscent of the Ming and Qing dynasties has also risked the continuity of this tree.

The tree is known for its bactericide, algaecide, and fungicide compounds. It is not toxic to humans but its small particles and sawdust are known to cause respiratory issues. It’s recommended to use precautionary measurements while machining this wood.

Hardness And Durability

The most desirable feature of this wood is its durability and hardness. Hardness tests for woods determine the level with which any wooden material is prone to dents and wear and tear. We test this hardness with the Janka Hardness Test. If a specific wood gets a higher number from the list, it is considered harder than average.

Cocobolo wood gets a hardness score of 1136 lbf. This score tells that cocobolo wood stands at just a reasonable level of hardness for most buildings and furniture items. It’s not too hard – as with higher hardness levels comes higher handling requirements.

If a piece of wood is too hard, it will bear huge pressure and accidents. Yet, most of the time, this piece would not be suitable for homes and offices. Because of its density, this wood requires a higher level of maintenance and protection.

If wood is not hard enough, it will depreciate quickly making it a poor choice for furniture items.

At the same time, those pieces of wood that lie near cocobolo wood in hardness are best for construction work and home use. These woods have enough hardness to tolerate everyday use and are soft enough to not require special temperature conditions.

Species Of Cocobolo Wood

Mexican, Guatemalan, and Nicaraguan cocobolo make three of the most common species of this tree. Woods from the three species differ in pattern and tones making one more desirable than another.

Mexican cocobolo makes the most desired wood. For starters, it carries exotic grain. The swirling and dancing pattern combine with the dominant hues of dark purple and black and background colors of orange and red. These color patterns reverse in some cases of Mexican cocobolo.

Guatemalan variety imitates the patterns and feel of Mexican cocobolo yet attracts less interest from buyers because of its dimmer colors.

Nicaraguan comes third because of its popularity. These are more widely available than the former two. The reason which distracts attention from this variety is its loose grains. It contains orange, red, and black hues.

Why Are Cocobolo Desks So Precious?

Cocobolo desks So Precious

The first reason behind their popularity is their rarity. Just because not everyone can get access to the wood and its artifacts, it has become as superior as a limited edition item. Collectors compete to get their hands on its finest varieties.

This scarcity also lends a sense of extravagance and wealth. After all, not every office – or home office – can afford to have such a luxury.

The imbalance of supply and demand leads to an increased price of raw material for a cocobolo desk. Once the workmen get hold of these expensive logs of wood, they can only proceed by giving them treatment and design that complements their value. In turn, these desks tend to be well-planned and beautifully executed.

This wood is also known as the rainbow of wooden colors because of the variety of hues each log presents. Aesthetically, these colors add variety to your interior without compromising on the natural content of your interior design.

The artifact upholds a vintage appearance. They never get phased out. You may never know a year or decade when they become trendy or in fashion. That’s only because the desk isn’t up for use among most households.

Some Uses Of Cocobolo Woodworks

Cocobolo desk makes the most popular use of this wood. But desks are not the only objects made from this wood. This wood makes many other artifacts. It makes a great choice for every wooden thing that depends on its hardness.

At the same time, it produces vintage pieces. So the wood is used in high-end art projects.
As the cost of cocobolo wood is high, some woodworkers use only its veneer to get the desired finish without spending thousands of bucks on their product. This veneer not only enhances the aesthetic value of the piece but also ensures their immunity against dents and scratches and longevity.

Because of its strong grip, the wood makes an excellent choice for knife handles.

Longevity also serves the musicians when they use this wood in their musical instruments – the most prominent of which is the guitar. It is a preferred wood for guitars because it enhances sound quality considerably.

The drum is another instrument that often uses cocobolo wood.

In some cases, people go to extra lengths to incorporate this wood into their wooden floors. Although it could cost them a fortune if they installed whole floors made from cocobolo woods, they use the cost-reduction method to make it affordable. Homeowners only use this wood on some part of the floor or to areas which they want to highlight.

Cocobolo Wood Alternatives

Although the price of cocobolo wood and its desk, in turn, is justified to some extent by the quality we get with it, the price is still too high for many of us. If you think that its high hardness score, beautiful grain, and colors, and the prestige it brings are not enough reasons to spend so much money on this artifact, you have a point.

In that case, you can choose to mix the things up with other woods. A unique quality of cocobolo is its ability to mix well with other woods. You can simply get a desk made from a mixture of woods taking cocobolo as the primary material.

If you want to avoid this exotic altogether, you can go with other woods with similar hardness scores and beauty. Here are a few options from which you can choose.

Red Cedar

Red Cedar desk

With a hardness score of 910, this wood makes a softer option in comparison to cocobolo wood. You would love it for its appearance which is just as classy as cocobolo albeit much cheaper.


Maple desk

Maple’s hardness score stands at 1450 which makes it considerably harder than cocobolo. If you are considering it for your indoor furnishing, know that the wood will only last long with proper finishing. Being harder brings the issue of high density which may prompt the wood to crack easily under unfavorable temperatures. But adequate finishing can make the piece last long.


Cherry desk

Cherry is a common choice for making wood furniture and hardwood floors. At 950, the cherry wood is considerably softer than cocobolo. So, it’s prone to wear and tear.



It is one of the costlier options available to you; yet, its price is lower than cocobolo. Its specialty is its brown grain which looks appealing.

Other Rosewood Woods

If you are still looking for eye-catching options, you can explore different rosewood varieties which are cheaper than cocobolo yet equally beautiful.

Wrap Up

Cocobolo desk makes an exceptional piece of furniture for any office – home or otherwise. If you are considering buying it, know that it makes one of the most expensive pieces of furniture. The only way to justify the price is if you plan to keep it at the office where you are visited by high-end clients. It will showcase your prestige and business worth.

If you go ahead with the purchase and can afford the additional price, get the piece from Mexican cocobolo. This is the rarest and most beautiful kind of this variety.

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