You have likely seen sheesham wood furniture before but just weren’t aware of it. Sheesham wood is a popular raw material for making furniture around the world, especially in India. In this article, I’ll explain what exactly is sheesham wood and why it is commonly used for furniture making.
Sheesham wood comes from the sheesham tree, which is also known as the Indian rosewood tree. It is a more expensive type of wood because it is hard, durable, and highly resistant to pests such as termites. Since it is durable and long-lasting, it is a preferred raw material for making furniture, doors, and window frames.
Read on to learn more about sheesham wood and why it is used for making beautiful furniture.
Also, take a look at this beautiful sheesham wood bench that is perfect for indoors or outdoors. It is handcrafted with solid sheesham wood and galvanized iron for a durable and unique accent to your home.
What Is Sheesham Wood?
Sheesham wood is taken from the sheesham tree, which is also called the Indian rosewood tree. Sometimes, the wood is called penny leaf tree and Dalbergia sissoo. The tree is indigenous to India, including some places in the Sub-Himalayan region.
Its remarkable qualities have made it popular all over the world as a good source of making furniture, such as cabinets, tables, and sofa frames. It is not unusual for sheesham wood furniture to last for many generations.
Aside from these end products, sheesham wood is also used as lumber. The export of this wood is highly regulated because of the high demand. While the sheesham tree is the state tree of Punjab, in India, its wood is not commonly marketed in the United States, except for specialty products and art crafts. As a wood resource, it ranks second in India in terms of its economic importance.
Type of Wood
Sheesham is classified as a hardwood. Furniture made of this type of wood should be able to last more than the average human life expectancy. Sheesham wood is also an excellent raw material for DIY furniture makers because it is easier to work with and does not dull wood cutting tools easily.
The natural color of sheesham wood ranges from golden brown to dark brown. Sometimes, the wood will manifest a chestnut color accompanied by darker streaks. These characteristics give sheesham wood a glossy and luxurious look. What is most interesting with sheesham wood is that there are no two pieces that look exactly alike.
Quality and Texture
This wood is tough and strong. Its grains are usually straight, although they can be interlocked in some parts. The wooden texture has a natural luster and can range from medium to coarse. These characteristics made it a popular raw material for furniture making, particularly in India.
The strength and beautiful grains of sheesham wood make it a preferred material for furniture making. It is primarily coveted for its two-tone colors and unique wood grains. That’s why it is typically more expensive than mango wood. It is also easier to work with, making it advantageous as a raw material for making furniture.
Also, the strength and density of the wood make it resistant to dry-wood termites, pests, splitting, and warping. Its heartwood is long-lasting and strongly developed. These are the reasons why it is also used in making wood veneers and plywood, as well as in boatbuilding, wood carvings, floorings, and even musical instruments.
Sheesham Wood Facts
So we’ve answered ‘what is sheesham wood,’ now let’s look at some other sheesham wood facts. Here are some interesting facts that will make you more knowledgeable and appreciative of the sheesham wood.
- The Janka scale ranks sheesham wood at 1,660 in its hardness and density rankings. In comparison, red oak is only ranked at 1,290.
- Sheesham wood is also called Indian rosewood. It is typically found in India and some parts of Nepal and Pakistan. Sheesham trees, where the wood comes from, usually last 22 years. Mature sheesham trees can reach as high as 30 meters with a girth or diameter of 1.5 meters. The wood is dense and heavy and is classified as a hardwood.
- In the places where it is commonly found, sheesham wood is used for many types of woodwork, most of them in furniture making. This wood is also used in making window panels and wooden sheets for doors, walls, floors, and doors.
- The color of sheesham wood can be golden brown or dark brown. There are also some white or light brown streaks of sapwood in the wood.
- This wood is easy to work with because of its flexibility. The wood responds very well to polishing. It can be turned around and glued comfortably and easily.
- Sheesham wood is quite brittle. Furniture makers correct this quality by carefully air-drying the wood so that it will not split. When the wood is dried and has lost all its moisture, it becomes more resilient. It becomes more elastic and quite easy to work with.
- You can use this wood to make houses, although not as widely popular as it is used for cabinetry and furniture. It is also used for construction purposes in the colder and smaller regions in India. However, it is not used as a construction material in larger communities and cities.
- Sheesham wood is also malleable, making it an excellent raw material for paper production.
- In some parts of Pakistan and India, this wood is used in building boats.
- It is very elastic, making it suitable for the production of veneers and frames.
- This wood is perfect for making desks, cupboards, cabinets, and chests.
- It can withstand the stressful process of high-quality finishing, which is why it is preferred as a raw material for making elegant furniture.
- It retains some amount of moisture, so it is not as moisture-resistant and strong as other hardwoods. It’s the reason why it is not used as floorings in places where rainfall is prevalent.
Is Sheesham Wood Good Quality Wood?
Here are some of the sheesham wood’s good qualities that make it perfect for making furniture and other wooden products.
- It does not split or warp easily, making it ideal for cabinet making.
- It has grains that are well defined.
- It accepts a good polish, which makes sheesham wood furniture display smooth finishes and an extra bright luster.
- It has inherent resistance to decay, making it an excellent raw material for wood carving and engraving.
- The toughness and hardness of sheesham wood make it a good material for turnery.
- It is also used in making aircraft and marine plywood, musical instruments, sporting goods, and ornamental turnery.
- It is a long-lasting wood that is highly resistant to dry-wood termites.
Sheesham wood is tougher and harder than oak, but it is not as expensive. So, sheesham wood is a better option for those who are budgeting. This wood also requires little maintenance, making it a highly cost-efficient raw material. So the cost and durability are some of the main reasons why many people choose to buy sheesham wood furniture.
See the below video for other info and benefits of sheesham wood:
Is Sheesham Wood Good for Furniture Making?
Three reasons why sheesham wood is good for making furniture.
1. It Is Very Easy to Work With
This wood works well with all kinds of woodworking, machinery, glues, and finishing. These are the reasons why it’s a preferred material in furniture making.
2. It Looks Great
This wood has a good natural color, which ranges from golden brown to deep brown. Its grains are interlocked, making it very strong and long-lasting. Sheesham also has natural wood markings that are seen as dark streaks.
3. It Is Very Durable
This wood is resistant to natural decay, and it does not easily warp or split. Sheesham wood is also highly resistant to dry wood termites.
Popular Sheesham Wood Furniture
Below are five popular sheesham wood furniture items on Amazon. If you are thinking of buying furniture made of sheesham wood, any of the below items will be an excellent addition to your home.
1. Hillsdale Emerson 7 Piece Dining Set in Natural Sheesham
This sheesham wood dining table, made from gray sheesham wood, has a rustic finish. It could be a great conversation piece in your home:
It has naturally hewn edges that radiate a sense of the natural environment. There are also beautiful wood grains in this sheesham wood dining table that highlight its raw material source.
2. Timbergirl Sheesham Wood Bench
This sheesham wood bench is part of the industrial collection of Timbergirl. It is a collection that comes with industrial galvanized and solid sheesham wood materials, which create an innovative furniture range.
The bench combines handcrafted solid sheesham wood with hand-forged iron. This bench will provide a unique contemporary ambiance to your home.
3. Hillsdale Furniture Rectangular Dining Table
This dining table is a combination of sheesham wood and metal with beautiful and unique wood grains. The table comes with naturally hewn edges and a powder coat finish.
The dimensions of this table are 80 inches long, 39 inches wide, and 30 inches high. It has a total weight of 164 pounds and requires assembly as well.
4. Coaster Jamestown Dining Table
This sheesham wood dining table can add grace and elegance to your home. It is part of Coaster Jamestown’s transitional dining collections that features a Live Edge design.
The table has an attractive gray finish that accentuates the grains of the wood. It also has a solid table base that features a matte black metal. There is some assembly required for this furniture.
5. Porter Designs Sheesham Accents End Table
This sheesham piece is designed as a Taos chair-side end table. You can use it as small storage furniture in your living room or place it next to a recliner.
There is a deep drawer in this table that has a black metal hardware pull.
Another shelf at the bottom will allow you to store magazines and books. The natural imperfections in the wood make it very unique.
How to Care for Sheesham Wood Furniture
If you want to enjoy the service of your sheesham wood furniture for many years to come, you have to do your part in cleaning and maintaining it. Even though this wood is tough and durable, you still need to care for it. Here are some tips for caring for this kind of wooden furniture.
- Use heatproof coasters and mats before placing any cup or container with hot liquids or substances on the surface of the furniture.
- Polish the surfaces of sheesham wood furniture regularly. Do this at least three times a year. Polishing will keep the original look and shine of the furniture.
- Dust the furniture regularly. Dusting will keep the dirt and grime from settling in the nooks and crannies of the furniture.
- Never expose the wood furniture to extreme temperatures.
- Don’t place sheesham wood furniture under direct sunlight or near fireplaces.
- Before putting anything on top of the sheesham wood furniture, place a soft covering. It will protect the wood surface against scratches or dents.
Conclusion – Sheesham Wood
So, to recap, what is sheesham wood? Sheesham wood comes from the sheesham tree, also called the Indian rosewood tree. This wood is durable and hard. Sheesham wood is more expensive because it is highly resistant to termites and pests. Since it is durable and long-lasting, it is a preferred material for making a variety of furniture such as tables, benches, and chairs.
Sheesham wood is great for furniture making for the following reasons:
- It does not warp or split easily, making it ideal for cabinet making.
- It has well-defined grains.
- It shows polish well. Sheesham wood furniture display smooth finishes and an extra bright luster.
- It has resistance to decay, making it excellent for engraving and wood carving.
- It is also used in making marine and aircraft plywood, musical instruments, sporting goods, and ornamental turnery.
- It is a long-lasting wood that is highly resistant to dry-wood termites.