Know Your Wood
Sheesham or Indian Rosewood
Indian Rosewood, or Sheesham wood as it is more commonly known, is a deciduous rosewood tree that is native to the Indian Sub-continent and Southern Iran. Primarily found growing around river banks at below 3,000 feet of elevation, they can sometimes be found growing naturally at up to 4,300 feet of elevation. Sheesham, or the Indian rosewood, is known for its density, strength, natural rich grains, and longevity. Sheesham wood furniture is stronger than teak and is a more affordable wood for furniture in India; making sheesham wood a preferred timber for high quality furniture.
Shisham wood is golden brown to dark brown in color with white to light brown streaked sapwood. The wood is straight grained and often has a coarse texture. Shisham timber is brittle and tends to split at the ends, unless air-dried very carefully. Upon drying, the wood becomes elastic, hard and strong, with low moisture content, making it easy to work with and saw. Shisham wood responds very well to polishing, screwing, gluing and turning.The well-defined grain pattern of sheesham wood gives it unique colouring that makes each piece of sheesham wood furniture unique and exquisite. Furniture stores everywhere keep sheesham wood furniture in stock. Dalbergia sissoo is best known internationally as a premier timber species of the rosewood genus. Sissoo is among the finest cabinet, furniture and veneer timbers.
Teak has always been a prized material. The tree that teak comes from, Tectona grandis, is native to the tropics. Teak wood is heavy, durable, and won’t splinter. It is very dense and has a high concentration of natural oils, making it resistant to rotting. The beauty, longevity and low maintenance of teak furniture make it a luxury and a good investment. Good quality teak furniture lasts a lifetime — an average of 75 years! Little wonder teakwood it is a favorite of vintage furniture collectors! There is saying that Teak is Grown for Furniture.
Apart from these local varieties, there are also several other imported teak wood such as Burma teak, or African teak that is imported into India. Of all the natural solid wood furniture available in India, teak wood furniture easily holds the no.1 spot in popularity. Teak wood grows naturally in the central and southern states of India, and is farm-cultivated for its timber in most other parts of the country.
MDF (medium-density fiberboard) is inexpensive, durable, and a good choice for many woodworking and carpentry projects. When compared to "real" wood, the cost of veneered MDF may be as much as one-sixth to one-tenth of the wood it is trying to emulate. To be fair, the cost is also one-sixth to one-tenth lesser. MDF is made from very fine particles of wood. While MDF can be made from cutoffs of dimensional lumber, it more commonly is made directly from logs that aren't chosen to be cut into directional lumber. These logs are debarked, with the cambium layer removed, and then chipped into fine pieces. The pieces are screened, and any pieces too large for use in the MDF are re-chipped. After removing impurities and washing, the fine chips are mixed with waxes and resins, then are pressed into boards. These boards are then dried, laminated, trimmed and packaged for distribution.
The advantages of MDF for manufactured furniture is that the material is perfectly dimensioned, has no knots, and machines fairly well. It can accept dowels easily, but doesn't hold screws or other mechanical fasteners as well as grained lumber. On the down side, MDF tends to dull blades rather quickly, cannot be routed well (particularly since it is typically veneered at the factory) and requires pilot holes to avoid splitting. It also is very susceptible to water damage.
- Like any other wooden furniture, keeping your sheesham furniture away from direct sunlight is a must. This helps to keep your furniture from losing its natural lustre and retains colour over longer periods of time; it also helps to avoid cracks and warping.
- Polish wood furniture at least once a year to keep it healthy and protected.
- Regular dusting with a soft cloth is recommended. Paper towels have a rough surface and can scratch wood surfaces.
- Surface scratches, burns and water marks are preventable. Using coasters, placemats, and table cloths will help protect wood finishes. A quality heat-resistant table pad is recommended.
- Apply protective felt pads to the feet of decorative objects and electronic equipment to prevent scratching and sticking.
- Beds should be disassembled before moving. Lifting one side of the bed or dragging the bed to move it can break the rails, and/or the headboard and footboard.
- Wood furniture constantly reacts to the humidity level in the environment.
- Increased humidity causes wood to expand; colder drier air causes wood to contract. In humid months, drawers might "stick" and open with resistance.
- During dry winter weather, wood contracts. Consequently, furniture can show gaps, especially where a table leaf fits into a table top, or around dresser drawers. Both of these issues are temporary. When moisture levels in the home stabilize, wood furniture will return to its regular appearance and performance.