Is Sandalwood Good for Furniture?

When you think and hear of Sandalwood, I must be 80% sure that you never thought of furniture or foods. Rather, the most common thing you will first think of is perfumes, incense, and fragrance. However, to your surprise, Sandalwood is one of the quality woods that is suitable for furniture processing.

Nevertheless, Sandalwood contains some of the distinctive features that make it unique compared to other types of wood and most likely on its demand. Sandalwood is mainly known to come from Japan, Myanmar, China and most other East Asia countries. On the other hand, its demand is mainly on the overseas market.

Its high demand is attributed to the advantages this wood contains in comparison to most of the other wood pieces. The demand has led Sandalwood to be hunted and, in most cases, smuggled following its enlisting as an endangered and one of the most overexploited trees in 2000.

Sandalwood has many advantages, and this is the reason why it has a high demand globally. Some of the main uses of Sandalwood are being a perfect material for use on luxury furniture and musical instruments, medical uses and use in the manufacture of perfumes and fragrance.

With many more advantages that come up with the use of Sandalwood, it could be hectic to comprehensively cover this subject being one of the few endangered trees globally. Keep reading as I share with you the insights you need to know about Sandalwood.

Features of Sandalwood

Sandalwood is quite unique from most of the other types of wood. Nevertheless, it shares some key features any wood would contain.

Sandalwood is a class of woods that comes from its scientific term known as Genus Santalum. It is yellow, fine-grained and yellow wood. One of the unique features of Sandalwood is that it has the ability to retain its fragrance for a long period of time. As a matter of fact, it can retain its fragrance for decades without losing it.

For these trees to be valuable, they need to grow to a certain height, through which they require a minimum of 15 years of growth. They grow to a height of about 10 meters, having leathery leaves which are in pairs.

Sandalwoods are also partially parasitic in nature, from which they rely on other tree species’ roots in acquiring the minerals and nutrients to enhance their growth. As a result of this, their growth is needed to be done together with other plants or trees between the sandalwood wood.

Generally, they are medium-sized trees that do not grow for very high heights like most of the other trees would do. They generally grow in dry clay or sandy soils that can survive in drought, high wind, and even intense heat.

 Some of its distinguishing features include the following;

  • It is a Parasitic Plant that requires other plants to be able to take in nutrients on their own. As a result of this, you should ensure you include other plants in sandalwood plantation where they will be able to get nutrients for other plants’ roots. This is one of the reasons that makes its breeding process to be time-consuming and difficult at the same time.
  • The major types of Sandalwood include Red Sandalwood and White Sandalwood. In consideration of the aromatic properties of the white pulp extracted from Sandalwood, white Sandalwood is better compared to red Sandalwood. Furthermore, the supply of red Sandalwood is less in comparison to the white Sandalwood.
  • Sandalwood is medium-sized trees that grow at a height ranging from 11 to 15 meters and a diameter ranging from 25cm to 30cm.
  • They feature round fruit in the early stages and later turn to purplish-black color while mature.
  • They contain a high percentage of essential oils, making them one of the most sort wood for use in the manufacture of essential oils. To be precise, they contain 4% to 8% essential oils.
  • It features a brownish-yellow inside, while the trunk of the sandalwood trees is brownish.
  • Together with its root, the tree contains rich supplements used, hence causing it to be uprooted during harvesting rather than cutting the truck.

Sandalwood Furniture

With Sandalwood being one of the most expensive woods globally, one finds it difficult to understand whether its use on furniture is applicable. The truth of the matter is that Sandalwood is used in furniture making.

However, Sandalwood is used in highly luxurious furniture together with musical instruments. Nevertheless, I have only seen a few pieces of furniture made from Sandalwood. This is mostly likened to the scarcity of Sandalwood in the market, with a high demand attributed to it.

The major thing that leads to Sandalwood being highly valued in the production of furniture is its growth patterns.

Though there are several pieces of sandalwood furniture, it is rare to find one, and a few productions are done every year. With this, therefore, you will find sandalwood furniture to be quite expensive. You will be lucky enough to find a piece of sandalwood furniture with you.

Though it has been overharvested in the recent past, making it a rare species for furniture making, Sandalwood is expected to change in the near future. Overharvesting of Sandalwood has been common in native Southern India, and this has led the government to take action against sandalwood harvesting and taking full control. This will see in the future control of Sandalwood and hence increasing available Sandalwood that will be enough for furniture-making as well.

Sandalwood is not only good in furniture making but also in hardwood flooring. Hawaiian and Australian foresters have developed new sandalwood plantations, which will see the thriving of sandalwood production in the near future. Therefore, the highly prestigious sandalwood furniture will commence increasing in the market.

Currently, Sandalwood’s furniture is quite rare, and Sandalwood has been used for other major uses through which it is much better. Let us keep diving deeper to know more about Sandalwood and its uses.

What is Sandalwood Good For?

With Sandalwood being rarely used on furniture, it has several uses that have made it a highly prestigious wood. It comes with many advantages that have led to its demand rising both in the medical and commercial fields.

Its mind-blowing value was declared as an endangered tree in 2000 as one of the most overexploited trees. Following this, the smuggling of Sandalwood commenced.

Sandalwood is good for several uses, including the production of fragrance, use in the food industry, use in the technological field, religious carvings, distillation processes, incense, and many more. Below are some of the key pointers of what Sandalwood is good for;

  • Fragrance

This is the most distinct use of Sandalwood in the current age. Sandalwood produces sandalwood oil which contains a creamy, warm, soft, well milky wood scent that is smooth. The most interesting feature of the oil it produces is that it contains a long-lasting scent that can go for decades.

As a result of this, it has been used to make perfumes highly-priced due to their durability. It is used at times in smaller proportions in a perfume, through which it acts as a fixative to enhance the durability of the perfumes.

Following the high demand for Sandalwood in the cosmetic industry, it has become a protected species as its demand is bigger than the supply that can be offered. This is mainly on the true species of Sandalwood known as the S. album in India.

  • Sandalwood Carvings

Another major use of Sandalwood is the use of carvings.  This is majorly done by different religions which use carvings in their worship. This has been prevalent in China and India for thousands of years.

Sandalwood was used in carving the first Buddha Sculpture in the 6th Century BC in India, while it has been used in carvings for more than 1,000 years in China.

Carvings made from Sandalwood are well-preferred due to the aromatic wood, which provides woody and sweet fragrance for decades. Nevertheless, Sandalwood’s carvings are taken to be the best quality carvings yet the most expensive you will find.

  • Religion

Several religions have attributed the use of Sandalwood to their sacred beings. The Indian Sandalwood is used in worshipping god Shiva hence making it very sacred. Furthermore, it is believed the goddess known as Lakshmi lived in Sandalwood. This wood is used in making religious utensils, decoration of deities, calming the mind during prayer and meditation and application in the necks, chests and foreheads for devotees using its powder.

Furthermore, it is used in Jainism, through which its powder is released as blessings by the Jain nuns and Monks. Additionally, the dressing of the body in the Jain cremation is done through the use of Sandalwood garlands.

In Buddhism, Sandalwood is taken to be of the Padma group attributed to Amitabha Buddha. Its scent is believed to change one’s desires and enhance one’s mediation and alertness. Furthermore, while offering incense to the guru and Buddha, it is the most commonly used scent.

In the Tamil Culture, sandalwood paste is used through which its application is made on the graves of Sufis, which is an indication of respect and devotion. The Indian Subcontinent disciples mainly do this.

The East Asian Religions include countries such as China, Korea, Japan and many more, Sandalwood incense material is mainly used in several ceremonies and during worship. In these areas, it is referred to as the Tree of Life.

In Zoroastrianism, it is offered to the Afarganyu through which the fire is kept in the temple during the religious ceremonies. Everyone is allowed to add their piece of Sandalwood to the fire after the ceremony to keep the fire in the temple continuously burning.

Last Words

Sandalwood has been one of the rarest species of trees in the world. Despite being rare, its demand is on a high end following the advantages it comes with. It is a highly prestigious wood when it comes to sandalwood furniture, highly-regarded in several religions and best in the cosmetic industry.

To satisfy the whole demand, Sandalwood has gained much value making it the most expensive tree and wood in the world. This has led it to be dictated as an endangered species of tree in 2000. As a result, different governments’ harvesting and control are mainly done, with private harvesting being illegal.

Nevertheless, there is hope for the future through the increase in the plantations growing the sandalwood tree in different parts of the world to meet the demand thereof. Some of the common areas where such plantation have been established are in Western Australia, where they have thrived.

More so, Sandalwood is also being grown in India, China, Malaysia, Indonesia, the Philippines, and Hawaii. The production is increasing in consideration that the sandalwood tree’s growth takes a short period of time.

Sandalwood has been considered for furniture making following its fine and straight grains, unlike most of the other woods. Furthermore, it is highly durable and one that is easy to work on. It will work perfectly both in the hardwood flooring and in the fine woodworking. Next time you look for furniture, try looking for sandalwood furniture through which you will surprise yourself with the décor together with the durability that inspires your home.

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