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Indian Rosewood Dalbergia latifolia
It is not easy to describe Indian rosewood, as one piece is so different from the next, as is true of so many of the Dalbergia species. Generally a very dark brown, with a medium-coarse texture, the lumber features intrusive purple-red, pink and cream streaks. The grain is closely interlocking but otherwise straight or gently curving. Confirming the source of Indian rosewood is unlikely to be easy, and there are concerns regarding illegal logging, though plantation-grown lumber, known as sonekeling, is probably safer. Durable and hard, Indian rosewood is popular for both furniture making and ornamental turning. It is also used as a veneer for interiors, doors and cabinets.

Type Tropical hardwood
Other names Sonekeling, East Indian rosewood
Similar species D. javanica, D. sissoo
Alternatives Other rosewoods (Dalbergia species), European walnut (Juglans regia)
Sources India
Color Dark brown, with wild streaks of cream, purple-red and pink
Texture Medium to coarse
Grain Straight or gently curving, but also interlocking
Hardness Very hard
Weight Heavy (52 lb./cu. ft.) (830 kg/cu. m)
Strength Generally strong
Seasoning and stability Color improves during seasoning, which should ideally be slow and in a kiln to minimize degradation. Very stable.
Wastage Only problem is likely to arise from limited range of boards to suit specific needs.
Range of board widths Limited
Range of board thicknesses Limited
Durability Very durable

Quartersawn lumber has a ribbon figure.

Reportedly vulnerable and overexploited. Apparently, true Indian rosewood is protected by the Indian Forest Act and cannot be exported in log or board form. However, sonekeling, the plantation lumber, is certainly available.

Not widely available, and likely to be expensive.

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Updated: 12/2017   copyright 2011 Rowecraft