Sissoo (Dalbergia sissoo)

Sissoo (Dalbergia sissoo)

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Common Name(s): Sissoo, Sheesham

Scientific Name: Dalbergia sissoo

Distribution: Primarily northern India, Nepal, and Pakistan, as well as Western Asia; also grown on plantations

Tree Size: 35-65 ft (10-20 m) tall, 2-3 ft (.6-1 m) trunk diameter

Average Dried Weight: 48 lbs/ft3 (770 kg/m3)

Specific Gravity (Basic, 12% MC): .63, .77

Janka Hardness: 1,660 lbf (7,380 N)

Modulus of Rupture: 14,140 lbf/in2 (97.5 MPa)

Elastic Modulus: 1,508,000lbf/in2 (10.40 GPa)

Crushing Strength: 8,050 lbf/in2 (55.5 MPa)

Shrinkage: Radial: 3.1%, Tangential: 5.3%, Volumetric: 8.4%, T/R Ratio: 1.8

Color/Appearance: Heartwood ranges from golden brown to a darker reddish brown. The pale, straw-colored sapwood is clearly demarcated from the heartwood, and is sometimes incorporated into finished products—possibly for reasons of  economy rather than aesthetics.

Grain/Texture: Sissoo generally has a straight grain, though it can be interlocked—sometimes severely so. Texture is medium to coarse with a good natural luster.

Endgrain: Diffuse-porous; large pores in no specific arrangement; solitary and radial multiples of 2-3; gums and other heartwood deposits (reddish brown) common; growth rings indistinct; rays not visible without lens; parenchyma aliform (winged), confluent, and banded.

Rot Resistance: Sissoo has good decay resistance and is rated as durable to very durable.

Workability: Sissoo has good working characteristics, and responds well to nearly all machining operations (the exception being sections of wood with interlocked grain, which tend to tear out during surfacing). However, chalky deposits occasionally present in the wood can dull cutters quickly. Sissoo turns, glues, and finishes well.

Odor: Sissoo has a distinct scent that is characteristic of most rosewoods in the Dalbergia genus, though the scent is somewhat milder than other species.

Allergies/Toxicity: Although Sissoo is usually considered to be less allergenic than other rosewoods in the Dalbergia genus, it has still been reported to cause skin irritation. See the articles Wood Allergies and Toxicity and Wood Dust Safety for more information.

Pricing/Availability: Almost never exported to the United States, Sissoo is highly valued in India, where its price is on par with Teak. The tree itself tends to grow in a crooked fashion, so long, clear sections of lumber are seldom seen. One of the few Dalbergia species where certified sources are available.

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

Common Uses: Veneer, plywood, musical instruments (percussion), furniture, flooring, boatbuilding, carving, and turned objects.

Comments: Sissoo is sometimes called “Indian Rosewood,” and though it is a member of the Dalbergia genus, its status as an official rosewood is disputed. It’s density, hardness, and color intensity are lower than other rosewoods, but the wood is held in high regard in its native India, where it is a very valuable timber.

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Scans/Pictures:

Sissoo (Dalbergia sissoo)

Sissoo (sanded)

Sissoo (sealed)

Sissoo (sealed)

Sissoo (endgrain)

Sissoo (endgrain)

Sissoo (endgrain 10x)

Sissoo (endgrain 10x)

Sissoo (with sapwood)

Sissoo (with sapwood)