Pterocarpus dalbergioides| Tonewood Profile | “Andaman Padauk”
Padauk actually can refer to several species of Pterocarpus, although all these species some from Africa or Asian. These are: African Padauk [Pterocarpus soyauxii], Burmese Padauk [Pterocarpus macrocarpus], Andaman Padauk [Pterocarpus dalbergioides], Pashu/Malay Padauk [Pterocarpus indicus] and Prickly Padauk [Pterocarpus echinatus].
Read more about the Pterocarpus family and Padauks in general here
Pterocarpus dalbergioides is native to India attaining 40 metres in height with girths of up to 1.5 metres. Andaman padauk is endemic to the Andaman islands but is also native to India. Most sources indicate it grows in deciduous and semi-moist forests up to 100m altitude.
It is locally used to make furniture and veneers. It is also used as in herbal treatment of skin paraistes and fungal infections.
Pterocarpus dalbergioides has been heavily logged on the Andaman islands and natural populations are endangered.
The heartwood of Pterocarpus dalbergioides is red brown to warm with red or black streaks. It is a hard, durable wood with an interlocked grain which can make bending challenging. It has a Janka rating of around 1300 and a specific gravity of approx. 0.8.
As a tonewood…
As a tonewood, Andaman Padauk has been touted as a Rosewood substitute which is a fair description of the tone although it is not yet used very extensively probably due to it’s bold colour. Compared to the more common African Padauk, Andaman Padauk is considered to have a finer texture and perhaps a little more overtones. Below are quotes from luthiers talking about padauk in general:
Tim McKnight says :”I’ve built three guitars using Paudauk and would like to build many more but red guitars don’t seem to appeal to the masses as much as brown guitars do ;( The wood, that I have used, has been extremely resonant and low dampening. I particularly like to use it for laminated bridge plates combined with Wenge or BRW. I too broke one set of sides on my first one, when using light bulbs for a heat source but never broke any more using heating blankets.”
John Arnold also adds: “I have cut several sets over the years, and some of the older wood that has been exposed is a very dark crimson-brown. I don’t think you can get a better tap tone for the price, but I haven’t tried jatoba yet. Both woods are amazingly cheap for a rosewood-like tropical hardwood. “
Tony Karol wrote: “Thin to 80, bends OK with a blanket. Your shop will look like a paprika factory after sanding, and you will need cement to fill the pores, but the end product is amazing. Padauk makes an awesome guitar IMO. Bes parlour I ever made was red cedar over padauk. I will have a jumbo done next week, sitka top, paduak B&S. I like to use mahogany for the neck, this one has a padauk strip down the centre. The colour when done is a beautiful red wine, fine vintage, and the chatoyance across the grain is beautiful.” [OLF thread here]
I would classify this wood as providing a slightly dark but clear overtone content with a low to mid end predominance- much like many rosewoods!
Still available at present.
CIRAD Forestry department
US forestry service database
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