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Satinwood

Frequently seen with a mottled or rippled grain pattern, resembling ripples in satin fabric, lending to its name satinwood. Heartwood ranges from light to golden yellow, to orangish brown. Whitish yellow sapwood generally paler than heartwood, but not always clearly demarcated from heartwood. 

Thicknesses

Subject to availability

4/4
5/4
6/4
7/4
8/4
9/4
10/4
12/4
16/4
20/4
1/2"
3/4"
1"

Distribution

Central and Southern India

Scientific Name

Chloroxylon swietenia

Specific Gravity: Basic

0.80

Specific Gravity: 12% MC

0.90

Janka Hardness

2620

Colour/Appearance

Heartwood ranges from light to golden yellow, to orangish brown. Whitish yellow sapwood generally paler than heartwood, but not always clearly demarcated from heartwood. 

Grain/Texture

Grain is interlocked, producing an attractive mottle figure, as well as striped or roey patterns on quartersawn surfaces. Texture is fine and even, with a very high natural luster.

Endgrain

Diffuse-porous; medium pores in no specific arrangement, numerous; solitary and primarily radial multiples of 2-6; heartwood deposits occasionally present; growth rings distinct; narrow rays not visible without lens, spacing normal; parenchyma marginal.

Rot Resistance

Rated as very durable regarding decay resistance, though susceptible to insect attack.

Workability

Difficult to work on account of its high density and interlocked grain. Most surfacing and planing operations result in tearout, especially on quartersawn surfaces. Pronounced blunting effect on cutters. Turns superbly. Glues and finishes well and able to take a high natural polish.

Odor

Has a faint, pleasing scent when being worked.

Allergies/Toxicity

Although severe reactions are quite uncommon, East Indian Satinwood has been reported as a sensitizer. Usually most common reactions include respiratory, eye and skin irritation, as well as other effects, such as headaches and diarrhea.

Pricing/Availability

Increasingly scarce, with prices very high. Typically only available in veneer form, though some boards (mostly unfigured) are occasionally available. Figured pieces (particularly solid lumber) are likely to be extremely expensive.

Sustainability

This wood species is not listed in the CITES Appendices, but is on the IUCN Red List. It is listed 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.
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