What is Sheesham Wood and What makes it different?

One of the types of wood you will encounter when furniture shopping is sheesham wood. But, what is Sheesham wood exactly? How does it compare to other types of wood like mango wood?

Learn about the origin of Sheesham wood, its characteristics, and how it compares to a mango wood. Find out why it is used in many of today’s furniture.

I. Sheesham Wood Origins

Dalbergia Sissoo, also known as Indian Rosewood, is the source of Sheesham wood. The tree is native to India and grows all over the Sub-Himalayan Regions. However, you can find it naturalized globally, including Africa, Australia, and the US.

sheesham-wood-origins

The Sheesham tree has various names, including Himalaya Raintree, Indian Dalbergia, penny leaf tree, sissoo, shishan, and shisham. It can grow up to 10-15 meters tall in dry areas, and even taller at 30 meters in wet areas.

Its leaves are compound, and produces pink-white flowers that resemble a pea flower. It gives a dry fruit that is a thin and papery pale brown pod.

Architec Gripperwood Gourmet Sheesham Cutting Board

Architec Gripperwood Gourmet Sheesham Cutting Board – Via Amazon.com

The tree mainly offers timber, but it has other minor uses. For instance, some people use the slender twigs from the tree for oral care. In India, Sheesham is used to treat some skin disorders and stomach related problems.

II. Sheesham wood characteristics

1. Appearance

The color of the core of the Sheesham wood ranges from golden brown to a deep reddish brown. You can also see some dark streaks in the wood that adds to its beauty. The wood is hard and tough, with straight and sometimes interlocked grains.
Furniture that uses Sheesham wood makes a fine addition to your home because of its natural beauty. You should polish it to enhance and preserve the vibrant color and natural markings of the wood.

2. Workability

Sheesham wood responds well to most, if not all, machinery. However, some may have chalky deposits that can dull cutters. Otherwise, the wood works well with turns, glues, and finishing.
sheesham-sisu-wood-vintage-style

The wood is heavy and dense, but has superior strength, making it an ideal choice for fine quality furniture. It is a popular wood for woodcarving, especially in India.

3. Durability

The wood is hard and extremely durable because it’s one of the timbers that are not highly susceptible to dry-wood termites. It also doesn’t warp or split, making it a popular choice for furniture such as cabinets.

It also has a high natural decay resistance. The downfall is that Sheesham is attractive to woodboring beetles. That said, you should check it often and make sure it is free of beetles or beetle eggs.

III. Sheesham Wood vs. Mango Wood

Both kinds of wood are strong, durable and beautiful, but if you want a smooth finish, Sheesham’s natural grain and texture wins. It is also denser and has better natural decay resistance and less prone to fungus compared to mango.

DHP Rosewood Tall End Table

DHP Rosewood Tall End Table – Via Amazon.com

On the other hand, mango wood has a coarse texture and greenish-brown color. It’s easier to cut than Sheesham because it is softer. Though it is soft, it is still strong and durable. It also has a greater water resistance, making it a popular choice of wood for outdoor furniture.

Another thing about mango wood is that the wood is only the secondary product. The mango fruit is the primary harvest of the tree. When the tree stops or slows in fruit production, it is cut down for its wood, and a new one is planted. Because of this, we consider it as the greener option.

Finally, mango wood is less dense than Sheesham wood. For this reason, it gets more attention because it makes a lighter furniture, yet it is still very sturdy.

In the end, however, it is a matter of preference. Both kinds of wood are great and durable, but it also depends on how well you care for it. Whichever you choose, follow care and maintenance instructions.

IV. Conclusion

Sheesham is growing in popularity as a high-quality wood for furniture such as cabinets. This is because it is durable, its color and patterns are naturally beautiful, and it gives a smooth finish. Sheesham wood is an excellent wood for turning and finishing.

We hope this helped you with what you needed to know about Sheesham wood. Do you have comments or questions? Use the comment section below and we’ll get back to you as soon as we can.

Sources:

  • http://www.wood-database.com/sissoo/
  • http://www.fao.org/ag/agp/AGPC/doc/gbase/data/pf000385.htm
  • https://naturallivingfurniture.wordpress.com/2013/12/12/benefits-of-sheesham-wood/

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