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Dalbergia cearensis

Dalbergia cearensis of the family Fabaceae (syn Leguminosae) the legume, pea, or bean family, native to Brazil. There is a closely related wood, Dalbergia congestiflora which is on this site as camatillo rosewood, but it is also known as Mexican kingwood (it is native to Mexico).

The name "kingwood" derives from the fact that a couple of hundred years ago, this was the favored wood of French kings for their furniture. I'm not sure about this but I believe that back in those days no distinction was made between Dalbergia cearensis and Dalbergia congestiflora.

my samples:

both sides of a sample plank of kingwood / Dalbergia caerensis (a misspelling of cearensis) --- HUGE enlargements are present. This sample was loaned to me by David Clark whom I thank for this and other contributions to the site. The reason for the color difference between the two sides is that the labeled side is raw with a mild patina and the 2nd side is sanded to 240 grit. The sanded side is the "normal" color for kingwood.

end grain and end grain closeup of the piece directly above

END GRAIN UPDATE from directly above

small slab and end grain of Brazilian kingwood --- color is very accurate; this is the classic purple of Brazilian kingwood

end grain closeup of the piece directly above

small plank and end grain of Brazilian kingwood

end grain closeup of the piece directly above --- even though a lot of the coarse sanding marks are still present, this butt end has been fine sanded and feels like glass. The pores may have filled somewhat with fine dust.

a sample from the same plank as the one above, but this one has been oiled

scanned image of a bowl blank. Pic contributed by John Fuher whom I thank for this and many other contributions to the site.

veneer from several different flitches --- colors are accurate throughout with the exception that in a couple of cases, the sapwood is shown as a brighter yellow than the wood really is.

Brazilian kingwood veneer

web pics:

log sections of Brazilian kingwood --- both enlargements available on the first image; I believe the 2nd image is of a waxed end


both sides of the same plank and a closeup of one portion of it

plank and closeup

plank and closeup

plank and closeup

plank and closeup

plank and closeup

turning stock

turning sticks --- the wood in the 2nd pic shows up much better in the enlargement

Brazilian kingwood planks

Brazilian kingwood scales


small bookmatched pairs

planks --- I'm not sure about the violet color, but it could be OK.

two sets of pen blanks that have all been oiled and waxed

flat cut veneer --- based on what I've seen, it is my impression that kingwood is almost never cut into veneer in any form OTHER than flat cut, and that makes sense, because it it is the striking flat cut grain pattern that is particularly attractive in this wood, as you can see from the pictures. Here (directly below) is the only pic I've ever seen of quartersawn veneer.

flat cut veneer with unlikely color

quartersawn veneer

more flat cut veneer, all from the same sheet --- the first two pics are closeups of the last pic

2 shots of the same set of veneer sheets

pen blanks

bowl blanks (most are waxed)

turning stock, waxed

boths sides of a plank and a closeup --- this is from the BogusColorVendor, so the brightness of the colors is unlikely

another plank from the same vendor, with the same unlikely bright colors

another plank, this one with too much red but not as grossly exaggerated as the one above

bowls (not mine) --- very nice and with excellent color representation


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. The first two of these are just 4" across, the 3rd one is 5" across. The colors on these seem much too bright-red to me. The bowls above this are more the color I expect from kingwood.

a kingwood highlight on one of my laminated bowls (the enlargement really shows it off better)