Tamarind Wood aka Asam Wood
The majority of people seemingly know about Tamarind from the fruit, but there is more to than meets the eye with this tree. The following article is aimed at informing you on Tamarind Wood. It is a great hardwood with a wonderful look that can be used to make tables.
Tamarind (Tamarindus indica) can be referred to as a leguminous tree of the Fabaceae family which gives fruit that is actually indigenous to the tropical part Africa. The tamarind tree produces fruit that resembles pods which contain a brown coloured edible pulp that has been utilised in different cuisines all over the world. It is also known that the pulp has been used in traditional medicine as well as for polishing metal. Now here comes the part that you are here for, the wood derived from the tree is excellent to the point that it has been known to be a good woodworking material. The tamarind is so widespread that it can be found in the following countries Ecuador, Cuba, Colombia, Guatemala, Dominican Republic, Mexico, Puerto Rico, Venezuela, Spain, Italy where it is known as tamarindo.
Origin of Tamarind Wood
Tamarindus indica has been stipulated to come from the tropical parts of Africa, however, it has been cultivated for an extremely long time on the subcontinent of India, that it has been wrongly grouped to be indigenous to that part of the world. It has been known to grow wild all over Africa in places as diverse as Cameroon, Sudan, Nigeria, Tanzania and Zambia. It has also been known to grow wild in Oman, in a region known as Dhofar. It most likely got transported to South Asia due to human intervention. At this moment it is has become widely dispersed all over the tropical belt from South Asia, Oceania, northern Australia, Southeast Asia, China and Taiwan to Africa.
The tamarind tree is a medium growth tree that lives for a very long time. With that being said, it only gains a maximum height of 39 to 59 feet or 12 to 18 metres. The tip of the tree comes with an irregular outline of extremely dense foliage. The tree is one that grows extremely well when exposed to the direct sun. It has evergreen leaves which are pinnately lobed and alternately arranged. Its leaflets are extremely green, pinnately veined and elliptic ovular while being just 2 inches or 5 centimetres in length. Considering it is a tropical species, the tamarind tree can be quite sensitive to frost and this translates into the wood. Speaking of the wood, tamarind timber comes in somewhat two variations, there is the hard heartwood that is coloured dark red, and then there is the softer sapwood that looks yellowish.
Review of Tamarind Wood from Wood Capitol
Tamarind lumber can be used to make numerous woodwork items such as carvings, furniture, tables, turned objects like pestles and mortars, chopping blocks, as well as other tiny speciality wood items. As stated earlier, the tamarind heartwood is a reddish brown, however, there are times when it has a purplish colour attached to it. The tamarind heartwood tends to be very narrow, and it can only be seen in trees that are not only larger but older. The sapwood which takes a pale yellow colour can actually be seen to be different from the heartwood, as there appears to be a natural demarcation in between them. It has been said that the tamarind heartwood is extremely durable, able to resist decay. It has also been known to be quite resistant to particular insects. This somewhat durable property, unfortunately, does not extend to the sapwood, as it is not durable at all. It is very prone to being attacked by fungi and insects, with an additional issue known as spalting. Tamarind has been known to be difficult to work with by woodworkers as it interlocked grain and its density tend to work against it. The tamarind heartwood has a distinct blunting effect on any instruments used to cut it. That being said, tamarind can be turned, glued and actually stained to a nice finish. It is possible to have the tamarind heartwood take a very high polish that is natural.
When considering if you would like to purchase and make use of a table made of tamarind, you should be acutely aware that it comes in two types, with the heartwood being a deep brownish red, that sometimes appears with a purplish hue. Certain parts of the tamarind heartwood can appear to be narrow, however, you should know that this is only possible in larger and older trees. The tamarind sapwood is a pale yellow and a way to differentiate it is that it is extremely wide and has a naturally occurring demarcation from the tamarind heartwood. You should also note when looking for tables made with tamarind wood that spalting, as well as other discolourations, are quite widespread in the tamarind sapwood. Certain nations that claim they have tamarind wood, actually, in fact, have spalted sapwood, the United States is one such country.
Its grain is interlocked and extremely wavy with a texture that is mildly uniform. The end-grain is porous and diffuse, causing anything from medium to large pores to appear. They, however, do not seem to appear in a specific pattern. There are radial and solitary spiral groupings of around 3. When it comes to the heartwood, there sometimes are gum or mineral deposits present. The tamarind heartwood is extremely durable as it has been reported to resist decay, as well as being resistant to insect attack and that makes it a great material to use for tables. The sapwood does not inherit any of those durability properties, making it extremely prone to fungal and insect attack. It is also prone to spalting. Considering just how dense it is, as well as the way its grain is formed, it can be quite difficult to work with. It, however, does not have an odour which is quite uncharacteristic of hardwoods. Even though the larger, older trees can have a large trunk diameter, it is actually quite rare to get wide boards from a tamarind tree trunk as the wood in the trunk area tends to become hollow the closer it gets to the centre. This has caused most of the heartwood not to be exported to certain countries. That has made the prices for the tropical tamarind heartwood skyrocket. The sapwood, however, is the part of the tamarind tree that is actually utilised more often.
Tamarind Wood Durability
If you are looking to have a table that is extremely durable, then you should look no further than getting the tamarind heartwood. You should always be aware that there are two wood types derived from the tamarind tree, the more malleable sapwood, which can be easy to work with, has a yellowish hue, but it is more susceptible to attacks from fungi and insects. Now, the tamarind heartwood is the one that gets all the hardy properties, ensuring that it is resistant to insects and fungi attacks, as well as spalting. That being said, these hardy characteristics has one negative effect; it makes the heartwood harder to work with. This, however, means that any dining table made with this wood will last much longer and it can handle anything you throw at it. It can be difficult to work with, but it can also make incredibly beautiful table slabs, as well as cooking utensils. Pictures do not do it justice, as the grain of the tamarind wood is very distinguishable. It has a fair texture and that makes it perfect for the individuals that like to have furniture with a natural and slightly untouched look. When it comes to the type of table you want, you should know that it can be quite difficult to find an entire trunk piece, as the only pieces large enough come from older, larger trees. These older, larger trees can be quite difficult to locate and you should also be aware that even if you do find one, it is likely that the wood will be hollow in the centre, making it unsuitable to use as a single slab. That being said, it can be joined together to make a countertop, a dining table and tables of any other shapes you can fathom. The great thing about this wood is that it does not limit you with its shape; you are able to create just about anything. This wood is hardy enough for those that want to create a bit of outdoor tables that they can store outside. You can be sure that the tamarind wood can withstand whatever the elements throw at it. Tamarind wood is known to be extremely versatile and hardy.