Family: Indian Rosewood belongs to the Legume Family. Botanical name: Dalbergia Latifolia.
Origin: Southern Asia, India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, and Java.
Common Names: Indonesian Rosewood, Bombay Blackwood, Malabar Rosewood, Black Rosewood, Sonokeling.
The Tree: Indian Rosewood trees size can vary depending on growth conditions. The trees can reach heights of 100 feet tall with varying diameters that can reach up to 5 feet.
Appearance of Wood: The heartwood of the Indian Rosewood is known for its beauty. The color of the heartwood ranges from a medium to dark brown and on occasion it can be purple with bold dark brown to dark purple streaks through the wood. Indian Rosewood has a uniform texture. The wood received its name from the fragrant aroma produced when the wood is first cut. As the wood ages it will darken to a deep brown color.
Density: Indian Rosewood is a heavy timber with high strength characteristics. It is extremely hard compared to the actual weight of the wood after being thoroughly seasoned. Average reported specific gravity ranges from .70 to .83 with an air-dried weight of 52 pounds per cubic foot. Janka Hardness is 2,440 pounds of force.
Drying and Shrinkage: Indian Rosewood dries well but it is recommended to dry the wood slowly to avoid checking and end splitting. Average reported shrinkage values are 2.7% radial, 5.9% tangential, 8.5% volumetric.
Working Properties: Due to the density and interlocked grain of Indian Rosewood, it can be difficult to work with. Cutting edges quickly become dull due to chalky deposits on the wood. Care must be taken throughout the finishing process as it is not uncommon for natural resins from the wood to impose before it can be seal coated properly. Generally, Indian Rosewood glues and finishes well.
Durability: Indian Rosewood is considered a very dense wood and is rated durable and resistant to termite attack.
Uses: Indian Rosewood can be used for musical instruments, specifically acoustic and electric guitars, furniture, cabinetry, veneer, structural paneling, turnings, and specialty wood projects. Indian Rosewood has enjoyed a long history and reputation of being an expensive, yet beautiful wood used for cabinets. Long ago it was used to make spokes for the wheels of Chinese military chariots.
Availability: Good availability in both board and turning blank form.