This section is from the book "Spons' Mechanics' Own Book: A Manual For Handicraftsmen And Amateurs", by Edward Spon. Also available from Amazon: Spons' Mechanics' Own Book.
Crabwood is mostly used for picture-frames and small ornamented cabinet-work, etc. It seldom grows larger than 3-4 in. in diam., and is a rather hard, fine, cross-grained, moderately heavy wood. The heartwood is of a beautifully veined Vandyke brown, its external edge bright black, and the alburnum of a pure white. In Trinidad, the balata is a timber extensively used for general purposes, and much esteemed. Its diameter is 2-6 ft. The mastic is also held in high estimation, and varies from 2 to 4 ft. in diam. The gru-gru, which is a palm, yields beautiful veneer, as also does the gri-gri. For some of these trees it will be observed there is no vernacular name, consequently the choice lies between the native and the botanical name. The heartwood of the butterwood only is used. The beauty of the wood is well known, but it never attains a large size. Its recent layers are of a uniform yellowish-white colour. The carapa bears a considerable resemblance to cedar, and is extensively used and much esteemed. It is 2-3 ft. in diam. The West Indian cedar of Trinidad is a most useful timber, and is well deserving the attention of consumers, as is also the copai, a beautiful and durable wood.
The sepe is a light wood, resembling English elm, impregnated with a bitter principle, which preserves it from the attacks of insects. It is tough, strong, and is used for general purposes. In diameter it ranges from 1 to 2 ft. L'Angleme is a strong, hardy wood, exclusively used for the naves of wheels, etc. Cour-baril is a valuable and abundant timber of 2-6 ft. in diam., and may be otherwise described under the name of West India locust. Yorke saran is a very hard and useful wood, and also pearl heart, which has the advantage of being very abundant, and runs from 2 to 4 ft. in diam. Aquatapana is a very durable and curious wood, susceptible of high polish, and 18-36 in. in diam. The green, grey, and black poni furnish the favourite timbers of the colony, and produce the hardest and most durable of wood. Their timber takes a fine polish, has a peculiar odour, and is very abundant. The trees are 3-4 ft. in diam., and proportionately lofty.