HARD, STRONG AND DISTINCTIVELY RED
African padauk is sometimes known as barwood, presumably because it is moisture-resistant and can survive knocks. The moderately coarse texture is consistent, though the deep red color is streaked with darker lines. It is liked by woodworkers because it is
tough but relatively easy to use, even though the grain can be interlocking in patches, otherwise being straight or wavy. It is often used for flooring because it wears very slowly.
Type Tropical hardwood
Other names Barwood, African coralwood
Related species Burma padauk (P. macrocarpus), narra (P. indicus), Andaman padauk (P. dalbergioides)
Alternatives Jarrah (Eucalyptus marginata)
Sources Central and West Africa
Color Red, which darkens to purple-brown quickly
Texture Moderately coarse, but consistent
Grain Straight, but slightly wavy, with some interlocking
Hardness Very tough
Weight Medium to heavy (c .45 lb./cu. ft.) (720 kg/cu. m)
Strength Moderate to good
Seasoning and stability Excellent on both counts
Range of board widths Reasonable
Range of board thicknesses Reasonable
African padauk has the sort of consistent figure that does not generate remarkable effects from different cuts, though decorative results can be achieved by quartersawing Burma padauk.
Woodworkers should exercise some caution when using padauk, though African padauk does not appear to have been listed as vulnerable. Other species, particularly Andaman padauk, are much rarer. Very little certified padauk is available.
AVAILABILITY AND COST
May be difficult to find, and is likely to be expensive.