Trees belonging to the rosewood family (genus Dalbergia) are considered woodworking royalty. Beautiful to look at, tough with a rose like scent, they are used in high-end furniture, cabinetry and musical instruments. East Indian Rosewood should be familiar to most woodworkers, especially for its use in musical instruments. It is also available as lumber, blocks, squares, and decorative veneer.
East Indian Rosewood is native to Southern Asia, particularly India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Indonesia. It prefers the lower elevations, especially the damp tropical monsoon forests. Since it grows over such a wide area, there is some variety in colouration and grain structure. It is not a tall tree, occasionally reaching 100 feet with a 2.5-foot diameter. Specimens with 5-foot diameters have been logged. It is prized for the long straight trunks that can yield quality quartered lumber.
East Indian Rosewood is also grown in plantations in India and Indonesia. There is considerable debate among woodworkers on how this affects its working properties as well as its acoustic characteristics. Lumber from these plantations can show signs of fungal attack showing up as a dark stain. Also, wood from plantations will exhibit wide growth rings and changes in texture and colour. How this affects acoustic qualities is very subjective.
East Indian Rosewood end grain