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African Padauk

(Pterocarpus soyauxii )
African Padauk
History:King Solomon, proverbial for his wisdom in governing the Israelites during the 10th century B.C., must have really known his wood, too. He chose stalwart padauk for the pillars of his temple. French Kings Louis XV and Louis XVI were separated from Solomon by thousands of years. Yet, these 17th-century rulers also favored a red-orange padauk they called narra. With it, royal woodworkers crafted kingly cups and chalices. Because water placed in these vessels turned yellow, royalty believed the "potion" had medicinal properties. A century later, the colorful wood of Solomon and the Louis attracted even wider acclaim. As a veneer named amboyna, padauk was featured in Empire-style furniture. Far removed from European pomp and furniture fashion of the 1800s, convicts sent to British penal colonies in the Andaman islands off Burma labored to supply the padauk sought by world craftsmen. In fact, Chicago's Pullman Company imported much of this exotically beautiful and durable "Andaman" padauk to panel railroad passenger cars.
Location:It is found in West Africa, generally Cameroon, Gabon, Nigeria, and the Gold Coast.
Tree:The tree has a straight, well shaped trunk which reaches 100 feet with a buttressed trunk which may be 48? at breast height.
The Wood:It has a bright orange red color, often with dark stripes. When freshly cut is bright orange red, and slowly becomes reddish brown. Moderately hard and heavy. Medium texture, but with large pores.
Workability:Saws and planes easily to a very smooth surface.
Use:Typical uses include furniture, flooring, turning, and accessories.