Siamese Rosewood (Dalbergia cochinchinensis)

Siamese Rosewood (Dalbergia cochinchinensis)

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Common Name(s): Siamese Rosewood, Vietnamese Rosewood, Thai Rosewood, Cambodian Rosewood 

Scientific Name: Dalbergia cochinchinensis

Distribution: Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, and Laos

Tree Size: 65-100 ft (20-30 m) tall, 2-3 ft (.6-1 m) trunk diameter

Average Dried Weight: 65 lbs/ft3 (1,035 kg/m3)

Specific Gravity (Basic, 12% MC): .85, 1.03

Janka Hardness: 2,430 lbf (10,790 N)

Modulus of Rupture: 24,800 lbf/in2 (171.0 MPa)

Elastic Modulus: 2,375,000 lbf/in2 (16.38 GPa)

Crushing Strength: 16,970 lbf/in2 (117.0 MPa)

Shrinkage: No data available

Color/Appearance: Heartwood is a medium to dark reddish brown with darker brown to black streaks throughout. Sapwood is a pale yellowish white, sharply demarcated from heartwood. 

Grain/Texture: Grain is straight to slightly interlocked. Medium to fine uniform texture with good natural luster.

Endgrain: Diffuse-porous; solitary and radial multiples of 2-3; large to very large pores in no specific arrangement, few to very few; heartwood deposits (yellow and dark brown) common; parenchyma diffuse-in-aggregates, winged, banded, and reticulate; narrow rays, spacing normal to fairly close.

Rot Resistance: Reported to be very durable, though seldom used in applications where rot resistance is required.

Workability: Despite its density and occasionally interlocked grain, workability is fairly good. As with all rosewoods, Siamese Rosewood can be difficult to glue or finish. Turns well.

Odor: Mild scent not resembling most rosewoods in the Dalbergia genus.

Allergies/Toxicity: Although severe reactions are somewhat uncommon, Siamese Rosewood has been reported as a sensitizer. Usually the most common reaction is skin irritation, as well as other effects such as rashes or hives. See the articles Wood Allergies and Toxicity and Wood Dust Safety for more information.

Pricing/Availability: Increasingly scarce due to recent CITES restrictions. Turning blanks and burls are occasionally available. Prices are high for an imported hardwood.

Sustainability: Siamese 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 vulnerable due to a population reduction of over 20% in the past three generations, caused by a decline in its natural range, and exploitation (see comments section below).

Common Uses: Fine furniture, turned objects, musical instruments, and other small specialty wood items.

Comments: Although beautiful and venerated as a true rosewood in the Dalbergia genus, Siamese Rosewood has been one of the central species in illegal logging in Asia. To help put it in perspective, as of 2013, the largest remaining Dalbergia cochinchinensis tree in Thailand is currently guarded day and night by an entire platoon of Thai soldiers. Siamese Rosewood may fairly be called a blood wood, and sadly, the label has nothing to do with the color of the wood.

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Siamese Rosewood (Dalbergia cochinchinensis)

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Siamese Rosewood (sealed)

Siamese Rosewood (sealed)

Siamese Rosewood (endgrain)

Siamese Rosewood (endgrain)

Siamese Rosewood (endgrain 10x)

Siamese Rosewood (endgrain 10x)