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Forest Products Laboratory
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Wood Technology Transfer Fact Sheet

Dalbergia latifolia

Indian Rosewood

Family: Leguminosae

Other Common Names: Shisham (India).

Distribution: Throughout the Indian peninsula scattered in the dry deciduous forests, but nowhere common; attains its best growth in the Bombay region.

The Tree: On favorable sites, trees reach a height of 100 ft, with clear, cylindrical boles 35 to 50 ft in length; diameters may reach 5 ft, more often 2.5 ft or less.

The Wood:

General Characteristics: Heartwood varying in color from golden brown to dark purple brown with darker streaks giving an attractive figure; sapwood yellowish often with purplish tinge, sharply demarcated. Grain narrowly interlocked; texture moderately coarse; luster low; fragrant when freshly cut but without distinctive odor or taste when seasoned.

Weight: Basic specific gravity (ovendry weight/green volume) 0.70; air-dry density 53 pcf.

Mechanical Properties: (First set of data based on the 2-in. standard; second set the 2-cm standard.)

Moisture content Bending strength Modulus of elasticity Maximum crushing strength

(%) (Psi) (1,000 psi) (Psi)

Green (38) 9,190 1,190 4,530

12% 16,920 1,780 9,220

Green (17) 9,700 1,110 4,700

12% 17,500 1,660 9,450

Janka side hardness 1,560 lb for green material and 3,170 lb for dry.

Drying and Shrinkage: The timber seasons well with no appreciable degrade and is reported to dry defect-free in log form. Kiln schedule T6-D2 is suggested for 4/4 stock and T3-D1 for 8/4. Shrinkage green to ovendry: radial 2.7%; tangential 5.8%; volumetric 8.5%. Movement in service is small.

Working Properties: Moderately difficult to work with hand and machine tools because of the high density; chalky deposits, if present, will dull cutters; glues well and takes an excellent finish; can be peeled and sliced for veneer.

Durability: Heartwood is rated as highly resistant to attack by decay fungi and termites. Sapwood vulnerable to powder-post beetles.

Preservation: No information available.

Uses: Fine furniture and cabinetwork, musical instruments, turnery, decorative veneers, specialty items.

Additional Reading: (17), (38), (47)

17. Farmer, R. H. (Editor). 1972. Handbook of hardwoods. H. M. Stationery Office, London.

38. Limaye, V. D. 1933. The physical and mechanical properties of woods grown in India. Third interim Report on Project 1. Indian Forest Records 16(1 0):1 -70.

47. Pearson, R. S., and H. P. Brown. 1932. Commercial timbers of India. Gov. of India Central Publ. Br., Calcutta.

From: Chudnoff, Martin. 1984. Tropical Timbers of the World. USDA Forest Service. Ag. Handbook No. 607.