USDA Forest Service
Forest Products Laboratory
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Madison, WI 53705-2398
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Wood Technology Transfer Fact Sheet

Dalbergia nigra

Brazilian Rosewood


Family: Leguminosae

Other Common Names: Palissandre du Bresil (French), Jacaranda de Brasil (Spanish), Cabiuna, Caviuna, Jacaranda (Brazil).

Distribution: Of scattered occurrence in the eastern forests of the State of Bahia and southward to Espirito Santo and Rio de Janeiro and inland to include Minas Gerais. Because of long-time exploitation, the tree has become very scarce in the more accessible regions.

The Tree: Sometimes attains a height of 125 ft, with short irregular bole, often buttressed, trunk diameters 3 to 4 ft. Old trees are generally hollow and also lose much of their volume when the undesired sapwood is hewed off. Old defective stems yield the most attractive wood.

The Wood:

General Characteristics: Heartwood is various shades of brown to chocolate or violet irregularly and conspicuously streaked with black; dark specimens with oily or waxy appearance and feel; sharply demarcated from the white sapwood. Grain generally straight; texture medium to rather coarse; luster medium; fragrant rose-like odor, taste distinctive.

Weight: Basic specific gravity (ovendry weight/green volume) ranges from 0.62 to 0.73; air-dry density 47 to 56 pcf.

Mechanical Properties: (2-in. standard)

Moisture content Bending strength Modulus of elasticity Maximum crushing strength

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

Green (75) 14,140 1,840 5,510

12% 18,970 1,880 9,600

Janka side hardness 2,440 lb for green material and 2,720 lb at 12% moisture content. Forest Products Laboratory toughness average for green and dry material is 151 in.-lb. (5/8-in. specimen). Above values for Brazilian Dalbergia with a basic specific gravity of 0.80.

Drying and Shrinkage: The timber needs to be dried slowly to prevent checking. Once seasoned it absorbs moisture slowly and is dimensionally stable in service. Kiln schedule T3-C2 is suggested for 4/4 stock and T3-C1 for 8/4. Shrinkage green to ovendry: radial 2.9%; tangential 4.6%; volumetric 8.5%.

Working Properties: This wood has excellent working properties and veneers well. Some specimens may be too oily to take a good polish.

Durability: Heartwood is very resistant to decay and insect attack.

Preservation: No data available (the uses of this species are such that a preservation treatment would not be desirable even if the wood would be receptive).

Uses: Decorative veneers, fine furniture and cabinets, parts of musical instruments brush backs, knife and other handles, fancy turnery, piano cases, marquetry.

Additional Reading: (22), (56), (75)

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

56. Record, S. J., and R. W. Hess. 1949. Timbers of the new world. Yale University Press, New Haven, Conn.

75. Wangaard, F. F., W. L. Stern, and S. L. Goodrich. 1955. Properties and uses of tropical woods, V. Tropical Woods No. 103:1-139.

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