This section is from the book "Spons' Mechanics' Own Book: A Manual For Handicraftsmen And Amateurs", by Edward Spon. Also available from Amazon: Spons' Mechanics' Own Book.
This large forest tree of Central and S. India affords a close-grained, strong and durable wood, which stands well when underground or buried in masonry, but not so well when exposed to weather. It is useful for palisades, sleepers. and house-work, and is not very difficult to work. Its weight is 66 lb. a cub. ft.; cohesive force, 15,000 lb.; breaking-weight, 1000 lb.
The terra "rosewood " is applied to the timber of a number of trees, but the most important is the Brazilian. This is derived mainly, it would seem, from Dalbergia nigra, though it appears equally probable that several species of Triptolemaea and Machaerium contribute to the inferior grades imported thence. The wood is valued for cabinet-making purposes. The approximate London market values are 12-25l. a ton for Rio, and 10-22Z. for Bahia.
This tree is indigenous to Cuba, and found growing in the Bahamas, where it has probably been introduced. Its wood is exceedingly hard and durable, and has been much valued for ship-building. It has been imported from the Bahamas in uncertain quantities for the manufacture of shuttles and bobbins for cotton-mills. It resembles mahogany in appearance, but is darker, and generally well figured. The wood is very heavy, weathers admirably, and is very free from sap and shakes. The fibres are often broken during the early stages of the tree's existence, and the defect is not discovered until the timber is converted, so that it is seldom used for weight-carrying beams.
This noble tree is found chiefly along the foot of the Himalayas, and on the Vindhyan Hills near Gaya, the best being obtained from Morung. Its wood is strong, durable, and coarse-grained, with particularly straight and even fibre; it dries very slowly, continuing to shrink years after other woods are dry. It is used chiefly for floor-beams, planks, and roof-trusses, and can be had in lengths of 30-40 ft., and 12-24 in. sq. Its weight is 55-G1 lb. a cub. ft.; cohesive force, 11,500 lb.; crushing-force, 8500 lb.; breaking-weight, S81 lb.
The satinwood of the Bahamas is supposed to be the timber of Maba guianensis, an almost unknown tree. The Indian kind is derived from Chloroxylon Swietenia, a native of Ceylon, the Coromandel coast, and other parts of India. The former comes in square logs or planks 9-20 in. wide; the latter, in circular logs 9-30 in. diam. The chief use of satinwood is for making the backs of hair- and clothes-brushes, turnery, and veneering. The approximate value of San Domingan is 6-l8d. a ft. Bahama satinwood, also called yellow-wood, grows abundantly on Andros Island and others of the Bahamian group, and to a large size. It is a fine, hard, close-grained wood, showing on its polished surface a beautifully rippled pattern.
Sawara (Retinospora pissifera) is used in Japan for the same purposes as hinoki, when that is unprocurable.
She-pine (Podocarpus elata) is very common in Queensland, attaining 80 ft. in height and 36 in. in diam.; the timber is free from knots, soft, close-grained, and easily worked. It is used for joinery and spars, and worth 65s.-70s. per 1000 ft. super.