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                          NEW GUINEA ROSEWOOD

                                                              The characteristics, uses and qualities of Pterocarpus Indicus

                                       ( the " P " is silent), commonly sold in Australia as New Guinea Rosewood.

 

 

                        Amboyna (Moluccas), Narra ( Phillipines), Ligi ( Solomons), and New Guinea Rosewood are some of the variety of  

                        names given to this timber which is readily available on our market.

 

                        This tree species varies considerably in height, from between 25 metres up to 40 metres. It is described as having a

                        somewhat variable grain pattern, some leading furniture makers actively seek out the timber because of its  

                        flexibility, strength and the relative ease of its working qualities. In Victoria, at least one leading maker uses New 

                        Guinea Rosewood for Cabriole legs and Serpentine fronts. One particular maker states that 80% of any given 

                        specification in this timber carves and turns very well. It is considered not hard on cutting tools although it is harder  

                        than either African or Honduras Mahogany.

 

                        Australian Furniture Timbers has air dried New Guinea Rosewood in boards and sections both in Melbourne and in

                        Cairns. The only degrade occurring in the course of the air during process is end splitting. This timber is noted for its

                       exceptional stability in use.

 

                       New Guinea Rosewood varies in colour from straw to gold to a deep red. It is the latter colour which justified the

             "Rosewood" classification in the timber trade. It is true however that the "red" timber makes up only a small proportion

                       of the timber unless a supplier or merchant has gone to the trouble of selecting out the red boards. Most of what you

                       will see in any parcel of New Guinea Rosewood is likely to be a fetching golden colour.

 

                       The range of uses for this timber are considerable. While it would clearly be wasteful to do so it has an expected life in  

                       contact with the ground of 25 years or more.

 

                       The hardwoods Hua - Li - Mu, Huang - Hau - Li and Tzu - T' an, are broadly speaking, varieties of Rosewood or

                       Pterocarpus Indicus. Tzu - T'an when translated means Purple Sandalwood and was a timber favoured by Kublai Khan

                       (1216 - 94) in the construction of his palace walls. Of all the timbers used by early Chinese furniture makers,

                       Rosewood was the most highly regarded. The seat of a rosewood armchair was usually made of woven cane or palm  

                       fibres with the movable timber frame secured by wooden pins.

 

                       It is useful for boat and ship building. A small boat, the "Lively Lady", constructed substantially of a closely related  

                       African species ( Padauk - pronounced "pad - oak" ) was sailed around the globe by sole yachtsman Sir Alex Rose some  

                       years ago, stopping in Port Phillip Bay around the time of Prim Minister Harold Holts sudden disappearance at Portsea.

 

                      It is also valued for furniture manufacture, carving and for guitars.

 

                      The Queensland Forest Service - "Building Timbers - Technical Pamphlet No 1", classifies this timber as follow:

 

                      Density                               : 610 kg / m3

 

                      Hardness                            : From 563 - 680 kg / m3

 

                      Durability:                         Class 1 - a timber of the highest natural durability which may be expected to resist both

                                                                 decay and termite attack for at least 25 years and up to 50 years or more.

                                                                The CSIRO, Melbourne one classified this timber amongst the five most decay resistant

                                                                 timbers which it had tested from New Guinea.

 

                      Uses                                    The recommended uses comprise the broadest range from ground contact to use in cladding,             

                                                                 exposed structural and non - structural joinery.

 

                       Rosewood is know to have been used in conjunction with and stained to match the finest of furniture timbers. Staining 

                      of the blood red centre of the tree is very difficult as this part of the heartwood is very difficult to impregnate.

 

                      As an overview, this species could be described as an extremely versatile timber which presents and prospective user 

                      with a range of options - imagine a spectacular blood red coffee table or chiffonier, a deep gold dining room table with 

                      dramatic interlocked grain, an attractive barbecue setting which you can be confident will endure our weather 

                      conditions with a Jarrah - like performance.

 

                      In essence this is a timber with remarkable physical beauty, an amazing range of uses and durability matched only by 

                      timbers which are either much more expensive or which do not possess the same physical attraction or working 

                      qualities. It is moderately priced, works well with hand or machine tools and polishes to a lustrous finish. Essentially 

                      this is one timber which should not be readily overlooked.

 

                     If a buyer insists on purely red material, he should expect that the boards will be significantly heavier than the general 

                     run of New Guinea Rosewood. He can also expect to pay more for specially selected red material. 

 

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