From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
  (Redirected from Rosewood (timber))
Jump to: navigation, search
This article is about rosewood timber. For other uses, see Rosewood (disambiguation).

Rosewood refers to any of a number of richly hued timbers, often brownish with darker veining but found in many different hues.

True rosewoods[edit]

All genuine rosewoods belong to the genus Dalbergia. The pre-eminent rosewood appreciated in the Western world is the wood of Dalbergia nigra which is now a CITES-listed endangered species. It is best known as Brazilian Rosewood, but also as Bahia rosewood. This wood has a strong sweet smell, which persists over many years, explaining the name rosewood.[citation needed]

Another classic rosewood comes from Dalbergia latifolia known as (East) Indian rosewood or sonokeling. It is native to India and is also grown in plantations elsewhere in Southeast Asia.

Madagascar rosewood (Dalbergia maritima), known as bois de rose, is highly prized for its red color but is overexploited in the wild. Despite a 2010 moratorium on trade, illegal logging continues on a large scale.[1]

Throughout S.E. Asia Dalbergia oliveri is harvested for use in woodworking. It has a very fragrant and dense grain near the core, however the outer sapwood is soft and porous.

Dalbergia sissoo is also a rosewood species from India and Bangladesh. It is extremely dense, strong, and durable. It is slightly stronger than teak and is comparable in price. It’s density, hardness, and color intensity are lower than other rosewoods.[citation needed]

Some rosewood comes from Dalbergia retusa, also known as the Nicaraguan rosewood or as palisander.

Several species are known as Guatemalan rosewood or Panama rosewood: D. tucerencis, D. tucarensis, and D. cubiquitzensis.[2][3]

Not all species in the large genus Dalbergia yield rosewoods; only about a dozen species do. The woods of some other species in the genus Dalbergia are notable—even famous—woods in their own right: African blackwood, cocobolo, kingwood, and tulipwood. The woods of some other species are usable for tool handles at best.[citation needed]

Other rosewoods[edit]

The timber trade will sell many timbers under the name rosewood (usually with an adjective) due to some (outward) similarities. A fair number of these timbers come from other legume genera; one such species that is often mentioned is Bolivian Machaerium scleroxylon sold as Bolivian rosewood. Dalbergia cultrata that has variegated burgundy to light brown color, a low quality timber is sold as Malaysian Rosewood or as the Dalbergia oliveri. An another that may be found in market from Southeast Asia is Pterocarpus indicus sold as New Guinea rosewood (and related species).[citation needed]

Although its wood bears no resemblance whatsoever to the true rosewoods, the Australian rose mahogany (Dysoxylum fraserianum, family Meliaceae) and Australian Blackwood, (Acacia melanoxylon) is also sold as rosewood. Australian rose mahogany due to the strong smell of roses from freshly cut bark is more mistakenly called as a "rosewood".[4]


Back of guitar made with East Indian rosewood (Dalbergia latifolia)

All rosewoods are strong and heavy, taking an excellent polish, being suitable for guitars (the fretboards on electric and acoustic guitars often being made of rosewood), marimbas, recorders, turnery (billiard cues, fountain pens, black pieces in chess sets, etc.), handles, furniture, and luxury flooring, etc. Rosewood oil, used in perfume, is extracted from the wood of Aniba rosaeodora, which is not related to the rosewoods used for lumber.

In general, world stocks are poor through overexploitation. Some species become canopy trees (up to 30 m high), and large pieces can occasionally be found in the trade.

The dust created from sanding rosewood is considered a sensitizing irritant and can trigger asthma and other respiratory ailments. Often, the more a person is exposed to rosewood dust, the more sensitive they can become to exposure.[5]

Genuine Rosewood Product Characteristics[edit]

A Chinese Ming Dynasty compound wardrobe made of huanghuali rosewood, latter half of the 16th century.
  • Heavy density. Fake rosewood products tend to have lighter density. There is also a stark contrast between veneer and solid-wood products, especially in weight and the rundown of the grain.
  • Presence of hints of coarse grains with the shiny and silky smooth texture, compared to the glossy finish of artificial polishes.
  • Even texture with an orange/yellow-red to deep purple with black bars color range. Even if artificial dyes can reproduce the color, if with an uneven texture it can be confirmed the product is not made of rosewood. Fake rosewoods products would have a thick color or light colors with white color in some space.
  • If directly bought from workshop, the sawdust would have a flowery aroma. If not the product is compromised. Certain showpieces might have an unusual aroma, this is the effect of fragrant aerosol, not the quality.
  • Water test, A drop of water mixed with sawdust will make the dust submerged and the droplet will have a purplish precipitation.
  • Sound test, A gentle knock on the wood will produce a crisp sound without noise.

Machine carved pieces are more lean in waste but more prone to damage than hand carved pieces, especially for Rosewood. Qualitative craftsmanship is seen by the locks and joints of the product. Qualitative service by industrial standards in pricing is based upon the total product cost, the woodwork charge and the profit margin is calculated as 25%(2010) - 40%(2016) of the product manufacturing cost. Certain non-professional groups charge by per square feet of the work to be done and at times per hour rather than the work done, which was viewed as unethical through case studies. Though per square feet calculations are used in industrial manufacturing settings to estimate the work done by multiple person's but only in the above stated margins. If the product is sold through the store the pricing comes in a rounded figure of the double of the cost of original product manufacturing considering the selling expenses.(store expenses, delivery, care...etc.)

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "In search of Madagascar's rosewood mafia". BBC. 20 February 2014. Retrieved 21 February 2014. 
  2. ^ "Panama Rosewood Sets". Garnut Guitars. 
  3. ^ "TAXA Wood Knowledge Base". 
  4. ^ Boland, D.J.; et al. (1984). Forest Trees of Australia (Fourth ed.). CSIRO Australia. p. 120. 
  5. ^ "Wood Allergies and Toxicity". Eric Meier. January 2009. Retrieved 28 June 2012.