Padauk, pronounced "Puh-duke" comes in different subspecies. Pterocarpus soyauxii is the type from western African countries such as Cameroon or Nigeria. There is also a type from Burma, and another type from southeast Asia (pterocarpus indicus) which produces amboyna burl, as well as Andaman Island Padauk, which hasn't been available in a long time. African padauk has been used as a dye producing wood. It is a very nice lathe turning wood and produces good results fairly easily. It is easy to sand and finish. It produces a smell similar to cherry pipe smoke when being cut. The red or red/orange color is at its brightest when the wood is freshly cut. If not finished or exposed to sunlight, it will darken to a brownish purple color in as little as 3 months (in a sunny window for example) . Experiments here have shown that the red color will not fade for many years if you use a UV resistant finish on the wood that also blocks air movement (such as a UV blocking polyurethane---not oils which darken the color). The specific gravity of the wood is around .65 . The grain is medium, not fine so it is not good for very fine detail work, such as ornamental turning or wooden threads. Considered one the of the best woods for making some types of marimbas. It has traditionally been considered one of the most common exotic woods, but availability has dropped in the last year due to international pressures. Still available at a reasonable price, but the price has gone up somewhat over the last few years.
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