Burmese Rosewood (Dalbergia oliveri)

Burmese Rosewood (Dalbergia oliveri)

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Common Name(s): Burmese Rosewood

Scientific Name: Dalbergia oliveri

Distribution: Primarily Myanmar (formerly Burma), and other southeast Asian nations

Tree Size: 50-100 ft (15-30 m) tall, 1-3 ft (.3-1 m) trunk diameter

Average Dried Weight: 59 lbs/ft3 (940 kg/m3)

Specific Gravity (Basic, 12% MC): .78, .94

Janka Hardness: 2,710 lbf (12,060 N)

Modulus of Rupture: No data available

Elastic Modulus: No data available

Crushing Strength: No data available

Shrinkage: Radial: ~2%, Tangential: ~5%, Volumetric: ~7%

Color/Appearance: Heartwood color ranges from an medium orange to a darker reddish brown; sometimes with darker black streaks. Yellow sapwood is clearly demarcated from heartwood. Color tends to darken with age, though it tends to maintain its color better than other colorful exotic woods.

Grain/Texture: Grain is usually straight or slightly interlocked. Medium-fine texture and a good natural luster.

Endgrain: Diffuse-porous; very large pores in no specific arrangement, very few to few; solitary and radial multiples of 2-3; heartwood deposits (red and dark brown) common; narrow rays not visible without lens, spacing fairly close; parenchyma vasicentric, winged, and reticulate.

Rot Resistance: Rated as very durable regarding decay resistance, with mixed resistance to insect attacks.

Workability: Generally easy to work with both hand and machine tools, though it can blunt cutting edges rapidly. Care should be taken in gluing and finishing, due to natural oils in the wood that can disrupt the drying process. Turns and polishes well.

Odor: Burmese Rosewood has a distinct, rosewood-like scent while being worked.

Allergies/Toxicity: Although severe reactions are quite uncommon, rosewood in the Dalbergia genus, (such as Burmese Rosewood), 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: Availability is somewhat limited, but Burmese Rosewood isn’t as scarce as some of the other more endangered rosewoods. Expect prices to be in the mid to upper range for an imported tropical species.

Sustainability: Burmese Rosewood is listed on CITES appendix II under the genus-wide restriction on all Dalbergia species—which also includes finished products made of the wood. It is also listed on the IUCN Red List as endangered due to a population reduction of over 50% in the past three generations, caused by a decline in their natural range, and exploitation.

Common Uses: Furniture, flooring, musical instruments (percussion), turned objects, and other small specialty wood items.

Comments: Burmese Rosewood is one of the lesser-known rosewoods, though it’s a well-known tonewood within its natural range. The wood is used for the bars of the ranad ek, a traditional Thai xylophone.

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Burmese Rosewood (Dalbergia olivera)

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Burmese Rosewood (endgrain)

Burmese Rosewood (endgrain 10x)

Burmese Rosewood (endgrain 10x)