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erichheitman's picture

Hey all,

     I am planning on an entertainment center which I thought would be cool in this "Sheesham" wood that I saw on a couple of peices from the store "World Market" (Kind of a Pier 1-ish place with a lot of cool food stuffs and beverages from around the world).  The pieces I saw there were a very hefty kitchen table, a smaller hall table and a chair.  The pices were not all that expensive. 

    A little research will show that "Sheesham" wood is one of the following: Dalbergia sissoo, Dalbergia latifolia, Indian Rosewood, East Indian Rosewood, etc - depending on what website you read.  I've checked out my hard-wood supplier, Colonial H.Woods in N. Virginia, and all their "rosewoods" are REALLY expensive.  For the 4X7 kitchen table I saw, the raw materials alone should cost hundreds, but the piece was like $150-200 tops. My question is two-fold:  Is this piece mis-labled for markenting purposes?  More importantly, is there a wood out there that is cheaper but that will offer the effect of rosewood? 

   I'm going to try to include a picture of another piece, a box, that seems to be what I'm after, though I don't know what this wood is supposed to be.  Maybe they just sell these pieces from India cheap because labor is so cheap over there, but you'd think they would sell the wood for what it's worth and make more money that way.  Any help is appreciated...


Clay's picture

(post #80485, reply #1 of 5)

I doubt that wood is from the rosewood family.  Neat looking stuff though isn't it?  I also doubt that you will find wood like that in this country.  I haven't seen anything like it yet.  I suggest that you either buy the piece or do as it's builders did and work with the wood that you do have available.  Pecan or pecan hickory would make a different but still charming look.

erichheitman's picture

(post #80485, reply #2 of 5)


     Thanks for the suggestion of the Pecan/P. Hickory, I'll check that out.  That particular box was from the Crate and Barrel store.  I don't know what wood it is, but it looks and feels like a table from their "Plantation" collection which I did purchase and is labeled as "Sheesham" wood.  I guess I should just follow your advice and go with locally available materials - that's certainly the Green thing to do - but I really have a thing for this type of Rosewood.   Actually, anything that approximates it would do just as well.  Thanks again for your tip and for anybody else out there who might have another lead!  Erich    

jonsherryl's picture

(post #80485, reply #3 of 5)

Erich, I can't help you in the practical sense, by offering a domestic source for sheesham, but I can confirm a lot of the assumptions you've put together so far. It is a member of the rosewood genus; Dalbergia, native to India...and the reason imported Indian furniture made out of it seems so inexpensive is that labor is cheap over there. The rosewoods (at least the attractively colored heartwood of these typically rather small trees) are seldom available in large dimensions, and so the wood is not commonly available on the international market except in small cants used for turnings and other decorative (accent-inlay) purposes, or as veneers. The cottage industries over in India that produce the furniture usually cobble the stuff together from stock that wouldn't be worth exporting.

If you're looking for a showy wood with variegated, marble-like coloring that is moderately priced and more commonly available here, you might want to ask your local hardwood dealers about goncalo alves. It is a beautiful wood, comparable in density to the rosewoods, with vivid rust red, dark brown and cream colored swirls. It is native to South America an still relatively plentiful compared to any of the world's true rosewoods. 

10fingers's picture

(post #80485, reply #4 of 5)


I agree that shesham wood is really cool looking.   I emailed World Market corporate and asked if they ever had any damaged shesham furniture that they would sell cheap.  They never replied.   They could probably make a killing if they imported the woods that they sell in furniture.


stetmum's picture

Sheesam is Indian Rosewood no about doubt about it (post #80485, reply #5 of 5)

Lot of studies done by Government official and universities and proved sheesham as rose,

People without knowledge will Say something on everything.

About Sheesham

Dalbergia sissoo is known as Indian Rosewood and primarily species of Rosewood Genus, and also called as shishamsissoosisusheeshamtahli ,Irugudujava, is an erect deciduous tree, native to the Indian Subcontinent and Southern Iran. In Persian it is called جگ Jag.

Shisham is best known internationally as a premier timber species of the rosewood genus but is also used as fuel wood and for shade and shelter. With its multiple products and tolerance of light frosts and long dry seasons, this species deserves greater consideration for tree farming, reforestation and agro forestry applications. After teak, it is the most important cultivated timber tree of the Bihar, which is the largest producer of shisham timber in India and Pakistan. In theBihar, the tree is planted on roadsides, along canals and as a shade tree for tea plantations. It is also commonly planted in southern Indian cities like Bangalore as a street tree.