Rusticity By-The-Wood Series : The Indian Rosewood (Sheesham)
Posted on Tuesday, October 11 2016 03:51:00 AM in Blog by Ipsita Dasgupta
The Indian rosewood or Sheesham (scientifically known as the Dalbergia Sissoo) is a variety of hardwood timber commonly found throughout the sub-Himalayan region, from the Indus to Assam in the Indian Subcontinent. As an evergreen tree, it grows up to 70-80 feet and has a lifespan of about 60 years. The categorisation of Sheesham as a rosewood tree is disputed, since density, colour and hardness are different from other rosewoods. Nevertheless, it is a highly valued tree as a source of timber and fuel in Western and Southern Asia.
The colour of the Indian Rosewood typically varies from a golden-brown to a darker reddish-brown. The sapwood (part of the wood where sap flows, as opposed to heartwood where there is no sap flow) is often a pleasant straw colour, and is sometimes used to increase aesthetic value of the furniture or decorative item made out of it.
The wood of the Sheesham comes with a beautiful light natural grain which makes it a popular wood for furniture, handcrafting/handcarving and other decorative purposes, especially in rustic home decor ideas.
Being one of the hardwoods, the Indian Rosewood is popularly used for furniture as well as in the building and construction industry. Percussion instruments are also made out of Indian Rosewood. Tubes for hookah, walking sticks, artificial limbs are some of the other products where this wood is commonly used. The bark and wood ash are often converted into dyes. Indian Rosewood also produces good quality charcoal.
The Indian Rosewood has a naturally aromatic scent which makes it very popular as a home decor material.
Indian Rosewood is known to be one of the least susceptible timbers to dry-wood termites. It has a natural resistance to decay, and it’s natural lustre can be enhanced with hand-waxing which gives it a smooth finish. It makes for one of the finest cabinet and veneer woods.
RUSTICITY FUN ‘FACT’ORS
The Sheesham has several other interesting uses apart from being timber for furniture and building purposes. It is extremely popular as an ingredient in the cosmetic industry, since the sap from the Sheesham leaves can be used to lighten dark patches, improve acne conditions and stimulate new cell generation to prevent wrinkles and early ageing.
The tree is also used as a symbol of the Punjab province of Pakistan.