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African padauk bowl
MFA# 1984.66


Padauk (Pterocarpus dalbergioides)

A deep red wood obtained from tropical trees, Pterocarpus indicus and Pterocarpus dalbergioides, found in southeast Asia, Africa, and the Andaman islands. Padauk may have a mottled surface with bright red or black streaks. It is a hard, strong wood that is naturally durable. Padauk is used for decorative cabinetwork, turnery, veneer, piano cases and parquet. A related species, Burma padauk from the Pterocarpus macrocarpus tree has a harder more yellowish wood.

Synonyms and Related Terms

Pterocarpus indicus; Pterocarpus dalbergioides; padauk; corail (Fr.); pau rosa de Timor (Port.); amboyna; padouk; vermilion wood; corail

Physical and Chemical Properties

  • Heartwood ranges from pale pink to to deep brownish red, darkening with time
  • Grain is interlocked with a coarse texture and open pores
  • Wood is resistant to decay and insects
  • Density = 45-55 ppcf

Working Properties

  • Easy to work; tearout may occur during planing on quartersawn or interlocked grain
  • Turns, glues, and finishes well.

Resources and Citations

The Wood Database: Andaman Paduauk

  • G.S.Brady, Materials Handbook, McGraw-Hill Book Co., New York, 1971 Comment: p. 434
  • Ralph Mayer, A Dictionary of Art Terms and Techniques, Harper and Row Publishers, New York, 1969 (also 1945 printing)
  • F. H. Titmuss, Commercial Timbers of the World, The Technical Press Ltd., London, 1965