Tulipwood (Dalbergia decipularis)

Tulipwood (Dalbergia decipularis)

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Common Name(s): Tulipwood

Scientific Name: Dalbergia decipularis (also Dalbergia frutescens)

Distribution: Northeastern Brazil

Tree Size: 20-30 ft (6-9 m) tall, less than 1 ft (.3 m) trunk diameter

Average Dried Weight: 60 lbs/ft3 (970 kg/m3)

Specific Gravity (Basic, 12% MC): .88, .97

Janka Hardness: 2,500 lbf (11,120 N)

Modulus of Rupture: No data available

Elastic Modulus: No data available

Crushing Strength: No data available

Shrinkage: Reported to be stable in use, with shrinkage rates likely similar to other rosewoods.

Color/Appearance: Heartwood is streaked with yellows, reds, oranges, and pinks. Color and figure can be highly variegated.

Grain/Texture: Pores are open and medium-sized. Grain is usually straight, with a fine texture.

Endgrain: Semi-ring-porous; medium sized earlywood pores, small latewood pores, solitary and in radial multiples of 2-3; light red heartwood deposits present; growth rings usually distinct; rays not visible without lens; parenchyma banded (marginal), apotracheal parenchyma diffuse-in-aggregates, paratracheal parenchyma vasicentric, and occasionally weakly aliform (winged).

Rot Resistance: Reported as having a low decay resistance, although it is resistant to insect attack.

Workability: Tends to be difficult to work due to its high density; also has a blunting effect on cutters. Can be difficult to glue do to an abundance of natural oils and high density. Turns very well and takes a high polish.

Odor: Has a mild, fragrant odor when being worked.

Allergies/Toxicity: Although severe reactions are quite uncommon, rosewood in the Dalbergia genus, (such as Tulipwood), has been reported as a sensitizer. Usually most common reactions simply include eye, skin, and respiratory irritation. See the articles Wood Allergies and Toxicity and Wood Dust Safety for more information.

Pricing/Availability: Likely to be very expensive, and seldom available as boards. Tulipwood is most often seen as smaller turning stock, with its cost being on par with other scarce exotics in the Dalbergia genus.

Sustainability: This wood species is not listed in the CITES Appendices or on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.

Common Uses: Veneer, fine furniture, inlay, marquetry, musical instruments (percussion), and small turned objects.

Comments: Not to be confused with American Tulipwood, (more commonly referred to as Tulip Poplar or Yellow Poplar), Brazilian Tulipwood is considered a true rosewood in the Dalbergia genus.

Tulipwood is a stunningly beautiful hardwood which is in short supply. The tree itself is only found in a narrow geographical area, and it’s small enough to be considered a shrub: typically yielding very small and narrow boards. Because of these limitations, Tulipwood is generally reserved for very small specialty wood items and accent pieces.

Related Species:

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