All About Rosewood

Deep, saturated browns in delicious red tones, distinctive dark streaks and a sweet, sweet, rose like smell. These characteristics pretty much describe a very attractive wood specie known as rosewood.
BY Nandita Agrawal on May 7, 2020

Deep, saturated browns in delicious red tones, distinctive dark streaks and a sweet, sweet, rose like smell, do you know what I am talking about? These characteristics pretty much describe a very attractive wood specie known as rosewood. You might have seen rosewood furniture in cafés, restaurants and bistros, did that ever make you wonder how rosewood got its name? The strong fragrance it has, is reminiscent of roses, hence the name rosewood! 

rosewood sheesham shisham sisso sisu wood kernig krafts indian
Sheesham wood or Rosewood swatch in all its glory

Rosewood trees are hardwoods and belong to a genus called Dalbergia. They are primarily found in Brazil, India, Honduras, Indonesia, Pakistan, Malaysia, Madagascar and Jamaica. All rosewood species are now protected worldwide as they are becoming endangered and you will be baffled to know that it is the most trafficked wild product in the world! All the 300 species can only be exported with a license as they are under strict trade restrictions. Kernig Krafts uses only licensed wood from wood farms, we don’t buy jungle wood, so none of the rainforests are hurt when you buy furniture from Kernig Krafts.

sheesham wood rosewood handcrafted chair classic design solid wood furniture
Handcrafted sheesham wood, classic chair made by Kernig krafts

The rosewood we are familiar with, Indian Rosewood or Dalbergia sissoo, popularly known as sheesham, shisham, sisso and sisu, is mostly planted and cultivated in Bihar. It is also grown in Punjab, Assam, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal. For furniture making, sheesham is considered one of the best woods because of its matchless beauty and unique properties! Considering, online furniture in India has to be affordable and extremely durable, you will see that most of it is made of sheesham wood. 

This wood needs to be dried before using it to make furniture, this process is known as seasoning. Sheesham is also an excellent wood for making musical instruments, ply, flooring, turnery and veneers. It the often used for making doors, windows and cabinets as well. Now, I will explain a few characteristics of rosewood that make it so enticing. 

Why use rosewood?

  • Dense and Smooth. Sheesham has a straight grain and it is quite dense and heavy as compared to other wood species. It has a smooth surface and medium to coarse texture that responds very well to sanding and polishing. It's natural lustre is highlighted when it is sanded so sheesham shines when polished!
  • Natural resistance to dry-wood termites. It has high oil content, which makes it resistant to rot and decay. This also means that rosewood is strong and sturdy. It lasts a very long time, and though rosewood is endangered, furniture items made from it can be passed on from one generation to another as heirloom pieces. 
sheesham wood rosewood handcrafted chair classic design wicker rattan furniture
Beyond Beautiful! Wicker and sheesham wood chair made by Kernig Krafts.
  • Unique, rich appearance. It is so aesthetically pleasing as it is, the surface doesn’t need to be covered with paint and unnecessary finishes. Sheesham looks the best with a simple stain that enhances its natural beauty. You might have noticed that online furniture in India uses minimal finishing on sheesham, the reason is that this wood looks the best, that way. This wood has a rich, luxurious appearance which means it looks stunning without even trying!
  • Ideal wood for carving. Sheesham cuts easily, its hardness is perfect for carving and for making engraved furniture items. It does not warp or bend or even split, which is another great benefit. 
sheesham wood rosewood handcrafted chair classic design solid wood furniture
Rosewood chair, hand carved by skilled artisans, at Kernig Krafts, Jodhpur.
  • Affordable. Sheesham is not as expensive as other woods such as Teak wood but at the same time it is comparable to it in quality, longevity and sturdiness. If you are looking for a wood that is long lasting, mesmerising and not too expensive then you can go for rosewood furniture.
  • Easy to maintain. Rosewood furniture does not require a lot of maintenance. Practice basic dusting and cleaning at regular intervals and you're good to go. 
  • Versatile. Rosewood is not just for making cabinets and musical instruments. It is used for umpteen items. Some of which are mentioned below.
sheesham wood rosewood handcrafted chair classic design solid wood furniture
A classic Windsor chair handmade from rosewood by Kernig Krafts

What all furniture can be made from rosewood ?

Rosewood is versatile and can be used to make anything and everything, but here’s a list of some furniture items that are often made with this wood.

Tables

  • End Tables
  • Dining Tables
  • Coffee Tables
  • Side Tables
  • Bar Tables
  • Office desks
  • Bedside Tables / Nightstands
  • Community Tables
  • Nesting Tables
  • Display Tables
  • Console Tables

Chairs and Stools

  • Ottomans
  • Bar Chairs
  • Low Height Chairs
  • Dining Chairs
  • Restaurant/Café Chairs
  • Rocking Chairs
  • Baby Chairs
  • Desk Chairs
  • Bar Stools
  • Accent Chairs
  • Wicker Chairs
  • Chaise Lounge

Storage

  • Cabinets
  • Cupboards
  • Chest of Drawers
  • Sideboards / Credenza
  • Racks
  • Shelves
  • Display Units / Étagères
  • Wine Cabinets
  • Bookcases

Knick-Knacks

  • Chopping boards
  • Planters
  • Trays
  • Serving Platters
  • Photo Frames
  • Table Lamps
  • Mirror Frames

Beds and headboards, sofas and sectionals, dressers, media consoles etc. there are so many more items that can be made from rosewood!

I hope you found this article informative, to know more about Sheesham wood feel free to drop an email at info@kernigkrafts.com. To find out how other woods compare to it, such as Teak wood, Mango wood and Acacia, read our articles on them here. 

We are a leading business to business company for online furniture in India. Based in Jodhpur, Kernig Krafts provides bespoke furniture for cafés, restaurants and hotels, and beside Rosewood, we have 12 more varieties of woods to choose from. 

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