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Pterocarpus indicus

Pterocarpus indicus of the family Fabaceae (syn. Leguminosae) the legume, pea, or bean family.

Amboyna is a marvellously luxurious burl from the tree that is commonly known as narra (and which has its own page on this site, under that name). Some reports say that the name amboyna only applies to the veneer made from the burl, but if so that rule is honored only in the breech since all the dealers I am aware of refer to both the solid burl pieces and the veneer as amboyna or amboyna burl, but not narra burl.

A rare, exotic hardwood that grows in Southeast Asia and has a fragrant aroma. It can vary in color from yellow to golden brown to red, and is generally considered excellent for both turning and finishing. Don Mogelefsky of the Exotic Wood Group says "You might think of Amboyna as 'the burl with the swirl.' Thanks in part to its wavy grain, Amboyna Burl is figured with numerous, captivating swirls." His site offers an impressive variety of amboyna burl and other exotics.

my samples:
NOTE: these pics were all taken in very bright incandescent lighting ("soft white" at 2700K)
colors will vary under other lighting conditions

both sides of a sample piece with a burl area and a near-burl swirly area --- HUGE enlargements are present.

end grain and end grain closeup of the piece directly above

face grain closeups of the burl and swirly areas but because of the orientation of the piece, the face grain really is an END GRAIN UPDATE and shows the standard narra characteristics of sparse pores with winged aliform parenchyma.


This veneer sheet was loaned to me by John Koehn whom I thank for this and other contributions to the site.

web pics:

a piece listed as narra / Pterocarpus indicus burl --- this piece had a light wax coating so shown a much more true wood color than the moistened pieces below (many of which seem to have pics which are over-saturated)

burls, many of which have been moistened for the pics

both sides of a burl slab

both sides of a burl slab

both sides of a burl with a finishing agent applied --- even considering it's wet, I think the red is probably oversaturated in the pics

both sides of a burl slab

burls sold as guitar-making sets

bookmatched pairs

a very nice burl that has been cut up and quartermatched, and a closeup of one section of it

a 32 inch long burl stick that prorated out to $500 per board foot !!!
(amboyna burls this long with no flaws are rare)

burl pen blanks --- the ones in the last set have been oiled and waxed and the pics were taken by a lady who makes most of her woods look purple regardless of what color they actually are

knife handle blanks and pool cue blanks --- it appears to me that all of these have been waxed

scales listed as burl but really with very little burl figure


burl veneer, all from the same vendor

specifically listed as burl veneer

this was advertised as "dark amboyna burl veneer" and I don't know whether that was simply a comment on the obvious (that it's a dark colored burl piece) or if perhaps "dark amboyna" is a commonly designated species.

this was not listed as a burl and in fact does not look to me at all like a burl, but neither does it look like narra.

amboyna burl pen

amboyna burl pistol grips

amboyna burl pen and blank

box made from amboyna burl

burl bowl and hollow form

ambonyna burl platter shot in two different lightings, showing very nicely how different wood can look depending on the lighting

burl bowls by Bryan Nelson (NelsonWood). Bryan fine-polishes his bowls with 1200 or even higher grit sandpaper while they are spinning at high speed on the lathe and then finishes them there with a friction polish of his own devising, thus achieving a shine and color vibrancy that is beautiful to behold.

burl earrings by Dean Robertson, whom I thank for this and other image contributions to the site. Both enlargements are present thanks to Dean's excellent photography

another amazing piece done by Sean Evans; this time an amboyna burl coffee scoop --- both levels of enlargement are present

guitar back

This pistol hand-grip was made from Philippine amboyna burl and submitted by a correspondent (Peter from the Philippines).

amboyna burl guitar back

An absolutely gorgeous megalodon tooth carved from ambonyna burl by Roger Cook. It's almost 8" high and both levels of enlargement are present. Check it out at the second enlargement size. Amazing. The slight roughness at places around the edges are because of the PaintShop Pro "Magic Wand" tool I used to crop it.