Rosewood Properties | Uses, Pros and Cons

What is Rosewood?

Rosewood is the common name of several species. It belongs to the genus Dalbergia. Rosewood is prized for strength, durability, and beauty. It is most preferred for making high-quality furniture and veneers.

Rosewood is native to India but is also found in many countries of Asia. It is a popular and valuable wood throughout Asia for its natural properties. Rosewood is known by many names, such as Indian Rosewood, Bombay Rosewood, Shisham, Sissoo, Biti, Eravadi, and Kalaruk.

Scientific nameDalbergia latifolia
Tree Size60-100 ft (19-30 m) tall, 2-4 ft (.6-1.2 m) trunk diameter
Genus Size: 270 to 300 species
Resistant to:Rot, insect and moisture
Avg. Weight Per BF4.42 lb/ bf


Rosewood is used for making high-quality furniture, veneer, flooring, cabinetry, musical instruments and small decorative wooden items.

Rosewood is a versatile wood species that can be used for both outdoor and indoor purposes. Its density and strength make it a great choice for premium flooring.


The heartwood of rosewood can range in color from dark golden brown to deep purplish brown; few species of rosewood are chocolate brown in color. While the sapwood is white to yellowish-light brown. The color of the wood depends on its species.

When freshly cut, rosewood is not shiny, but over time, its surface becomes oily and shiny due to the presence of natural oils. It also becomes dark over time.

Working with Rosewood

Rosewood is generally easy to work with, but it’s interlocked and high density can be difficult for a beginner. Tool blades becoming dull is a common problem when working with Rosewood.

It would be best to choose the right and sharp tools to work smoothly with Rosewood. Rosewood finishes very well and gives excellent results. It glues well and holds the nail well.

Rosewood Wood Hardness

Rosewood can be considered a high-density wood, with Janka hardness values ranging from 2,440 lbf to 2,790 lbf, depending on the species. 

Rosewood speciesJanka HardnessWeight
Brazilian rosewood2,790 lbf (12,410 N)52 lbs/ft3 (835 kg/m3)
Indian Rosewood2,440 lbf (10,870 N)52 lbs/ft3 (830 kg/m3)
Amazon Rosewood2,700 lbf (11,990 N)68 lbs/ft3 (1,085 kg/m3)
Siamese Rosewood2,430 lbf (10,790 N)65 lbs/ft3 (1,035 kg/m3)
Madagascar Rosewood2,720 lbf (12,080 N)58 lbs/ft3 (935 kg/m3)
Yucatan Rosewood1,210 lbf (5,400 N)42 lbs/ft3 (680 kg/m3)
Honduran rosewood2,200 lbf (9,790 N)64.0 lbs/ft3 (1,025 kg/m3)
Tiete Rosewood2,790 lbf (12,410 N)59 lbs/ft3 (945 kg/m3)
Burmese Rosewood2,710 lbf (12,060 N)59 lbs/ft3 (940 kg/m3)


While rosewood is naturally durable and stable, it requires less maintenance than many other hardwoods. The lifespan of rosewood furniture is around 80 to 100 years with regular maintenance.

Rosewood Wood Stain

Rosewood is a dark brown, so staining rosewood isn’t very effective, but you can darken it. Staining enhances the wood’s natural color and grain, making it more durable and stable.

Rosewood absorbs stains very well and evenly and has no blotchy stain problem like other woods. Here are the general steps to follow when staining rosewood:

  1. Sand the rosewood with fine-grit sandpaper (starting with a coarser grit and ending with a finer grit) until you get a smooth surface. Use a clean, dry cloth to wipe away sandpaper dust and debris from the surface of the wood.
  2. Make a solution by mixing black leather dye with tung oil in a ratio of 1:4 in a clean vessel. 
  3. Stir the solution well and then apply it to the rosewood using a brush or rag in the direction of the grain of the wood. Work in small sections simultaneously, ensuring the stain is applied evenly and without drips or runs.
  4. Allow approximately 48 to 72 hours for the stain to fully penetrate the wood. Wipe off excess stains within about five to 10 minutes.
  5. If you want to make the rosewood more dark, you can apply one more coat.
  6. After the stain dries well, apply a thin coat of tung oil to protect the wood and create a smooth finish.
  7. Sand down the rosewood with 600-grit sandpaper.
  8. Buff the wood surface with a clean, dry cloth to remove dust.

Rosewood Price

Rosewood is an expensive lumber, and its price depends on several factors such as size, quality and native place of the wood. Normally, Rosewood costs $25 to $30 per Board Foot.

Is Rosewood Good for Boat Building?

Rosewood can be used for boat building, but boat builders generally prefer woods with specific properties such as resistance to rot and decay, marine borers, and a good strength-to-weight ratio. Rosewood has most of these qualities, but it is a heavy wood, making it less practical for boat building.

Is Rosewood Good For Cutting Boards?

Cutting boards can be made from Rosewood, but it is not recommended due to its high oil content, which can make it difficult to glue and finish properly, and also, it is also not safe for food.

For a cutting board, it is best to choose a hardwood specifically recommended for cutting boards, such as maple, walnut, or cherry. They are also readily available and more affordable than exotic hardwoods such as Rosewood.

Is Rosewood Good For Smoking Meat?

No, There are several reasons why Rosewood is not a good choice for smoking meats. First, Rosewood may not have the same flavor as other woods such as hickory, mesquite, apple or cherry. The second reason is that the natural oils in Rosewood can spoil the taste of your meat. And The third reason is that it is a Rosewood with high BTUs value, producing a lot of heat.

Additionally, it is important to ensure that the wood used for smoking is not treated with any chemicals or coatings that may be harmful. It is always recommended to use wood specifically suited for smoking meat.

Rose Wood vs Sheesham

Rosewood and Sheesham both are the same wood, just their names are different. “Sheesham” is a Hindi word used in India and Pakistan for rosewood.