Rosewood, Brazilian (Dalbergia nigra)

Rosewood, Brazilian is an imported hardwood


Brazilian rosewood (Dalbergia nigra), also referred to as jacaranda, occurs in eastern Brazilian forests from the State of Bahia to Rio de Janeiro. Since it was exploited for a long time, Brazilian rosewood is no longer abundant.


The heartwood varies with respect to color, through shades of brown, red, and violet, and it is irregularly and conspicuously streaked with black. It is sharply demarcated from the white sapwood. Many kinds of rosewood are distinguished locally on the basis of prevailing color. The texture is coarse, and the grain is generally straight. The heartwood has an oily or waxy appearance and feel, and its odor is fragrant and distinctive. The wood is hard and heavy (weight of airdried wood is 752 to 897 kg/m3 (47 to 56 lb/ft3)); thoroughly air-dried wood will barely float in water. Strength properties of Brazilian rosewood are high and are more than adequate for the purposes for which this wood is used. For example, Brazilian rosewood is harder than any U.S. native hardwood species used for furniture and veneer. The wood machines and veneers well. It can be glued satisfactorily, provided the necessary precautions are taken to ensure good glue bonds, with respect to oily wood. Brazilian rosewood has an excellent reputation for durability with respect to fungal and insect attack, including termites, although the wood is not used for purposes where durability is necessary.

Primary Uses

Brazilian rosewood is used primarily in the form of veneer for decorative plywood. Limited quantities are used in the solid form for specialty items such as cutlery handles, brush backs, billiard cue butts, and fancy turnery.

*Much of the base wood information presented here is made available by the USDA FPL FS. If you are interested in a much more technical description of wood properties, I encourage you to visit the source.