takes its name because of its popularity in France with Louis XIV and Louis XV

BOTANICAL NAME: Dalbergia cearensis (kingwood) and Dalbergia congestiflora (Mexican kingwood) of the family Fabaceae (syn Leguminosae) the legume, pea, or bean family. Be aware, however, that Dalbergia congestiflora, is NOT what people in the USA normally mean by "kingwood", it is either called camatillo rosewood or specifically "Mexican" kingwood, and never just "kingwood" which is reserved for Dalbergia cearensis

COMMON NAMES: violete, violetta, and violet wood

TYPE: hardwood

COLOR: rich, violet-brown heartwood with black veining. Cream-colored sapwood. One report said the heartwood is sometimes nearly blue. One report exuberanty declared it as "bold and vibrantly purple with extremely tight black graining" but my experience is that that description is only of selected pieces. Reportedly holds its color very well over time.

GRAIN: straight to finely roey open grain

TEXTURE: fine and uniform

PROPERTIES / WORKABILITY: Very heavy, hard, strong and brittle. Works well with sharp tools, causes moderate dulling. Pre-drilling required for screwing or nailing. Care needed in gluing due to waxy surface.

DURABILITY: very strong and durable with good decay resistance

FINISH: Finishes to an exceptionally smooth, naturally waxy finish and develops a metallic sheen over time

STABILITY: very little movement in service



SOURCES: Northeastern Brazil (from Ceara to southern Bahia)

USES: small size of tree and scarcity of supply generally restricts most uses to inlays, marquetry, turned articles, and sculpture. Some veneer is made.


WEIGHT: the only number I've seen is 75 lbs/cu. ft. but that seems VERY unlikely to me. My guess is that is is more likely to average more like 65 lbs/cu. ft. The biggest piece I ever had seemed quite average and weighed 67 1/2 lbs/cuft


AVAILABILITY: scarce, but when available it is frequently in plank form (as opposed to some rare expensive woods which tend to be available mostly in small turning sizes). Veneer, when available, tends to be narrow (6 inches would be a wide piece)

COST: very expensive

web quotes:
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Kingwood was used in fine furniture but now its cost makes it prohibitive for this application but it is still in great demand for restoration and reproduction of antique furniture

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Kingwood is an endangered species

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... similar to rosewood although somewhat paler and finer and less prone to swirl in the grain. [HOBBIT NOTE: I find this comment puzzling, since kingwood IS a rosewood]