Rosewood trees primarily grow in the Central and South American regions. Although, they can be found in Indonesia, East India, Madagascar, as well as in Tanzania and Mozambique of West Central Africa. There are over 100 species of rosewood trees throughout the world. Some trees are called rosewood, like the well known bubinga tree from West Equatorial Africa, but technically it is not from the rosewood species. Brazilian rosewood is considered one of the most prized, if not the most sought after rosewood species in the world. Unfortunately, it is one of the endangered species, and cannot be sold internationally. Brazilian rosewood thrives in cool damp climates in the high tropical rainforest, at altitudes between 3000 to 5000 foot elevations. Also, it likes moist loamy soils that are well drained. It typically grows independently, and the trees can, at times, be scattered great distances apart.
Brazilian rosewood is a very strong, dense, and oily wood that weighs 53 lbs/cu. ft. It is also very hard, dense, and possesses a high shock resistance. Its heartwood colors vary from orange to bright red to a purple-brown. The grain pattern is mostly straight, but can occasionally be slightly wavy or spiraled. It has medium sized pores and a medium coarse texture. Brazilian rosewood has natural oils that prevent water absorption and make it resistant to insects and decay. Also, in addition to its beautiful colors and interesting wood patterns, is the desirable floral-like scent that it emits. Another desirable attribute of rosewood, is that it is considered one of the best tonal woods in the world.
Brazilian rosewood is easy to work with both machine equipment and hand tools. It turns well and is relatively easy to carve, as long as the tools are kept sharp. It sands well, but gluing can be a problem due to its oil content. Cleaning the glue joints with acetone prior to gluing will greatly reduce these problems. Brazilian rosewood does not accept oil based stains or finishes well, so water based products should be used for best results. Because of its beautiful colors and grain pattern, usually stains are not necessary. A clear finish and then polished with a paste wax will bring out the natural beauty and create a high luster.
Rosewood has many uses such as fine furniture, flooring, cabinet work, decorative veneer, and inlay work. It is also a desirable wood for musical instruments, such a piano cases, guitars, and other string instruments. Some other uses include: billiards tables, wood carvings, knife handles, jewelry boxes, and novelties. Turned items such as pool cues, bowls, chess pieces, and decorative pens are very desirable.
All Exotic Woods:
Wood Species Index
|Brazilian Rosewood Tree:
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