The determination of wood machining characteristics are basic to define its utilization in the manufacture of products that require smooth surfaces. In this study 34 tropical species were analized according to the ASTM-D-1666-64 standard for planning, turning, molding, boring and sanding tests. In the planning test, 13 species were evaluated as excellent and good, therefore they can be used in any product where the smoothness of the surface is a requirement; 14 were rated as regular and 7 as poor and very poor. Regarding the cutting angles, the best results were obtained with 20 ° in woods with high and medium density, and the 30 ° is more adequate for low density woods. In the turning test, 24 species were classified as excellent and are suggested to be used in works where smoothness is required; 4 were graded as good and 3 as regular, both adequate for turning products if a good sanding process is applied; the last 3 species were classified as poor and very poor. From the molding evaluation, it is suggested that 21 species be used in molding products and the 13 left, with low quality due to the effect of the cutting in diagonal direction to the grain, could be improved when the cutting is performed in the parallel direction to the grain. In the boring test, a large percentage of the species, presented excellent results, 24 species equivalent to 74 %, 3 good, 1 regular and 6 poor and very poor. In the sanding process, 15 species were graded as excellent, 4 as good, 6 as regular and 9 as poor and very poor. Integrating the results of every one of the machining test, 28 species can be used for products were the surface smoothness is important, such as furniture, turning products (tool handles), handicrafts, cabinets in general, etc. The 6 species with poor machining characteristics could be used in products were the smoothness is not a limitation, such as pallets, containers, studs and construction in general, or other uses as rough lumber.