Bolivia Rosewood – A Cursory Look at Bolivia’s Lumber Export

Bolivia’s forest is a primary source of sawn wood, of which a large portion is exported as industrial lumber, including the popular Bolivia rosewood material. Also known as Morada or Santos Rosewood, it is a dark colored hardwood well-liked by those looking for fine architectural millwork, furniture or guitar instruments.

Bolivia Rosewood, Not a True Rosewood

Brazilian rosewood is regarded as the most superior type of sawn wood. However, it went off the lumber market in 1992, after CITES’ findings revealed that Brazil’s Dalbergia rosewood tree was already endangered. CITES by the way stands for the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, whose main mission as an organization is to ensure that international trade of wildlife will not threaten the survival of wild animals and plants.

After the trade of Brazilian rosewood was suspended, the Bolivia rosewood became popular as the best substitute. Currently, almost all commercial supply comes from Bolivia to which the Chinese market is said to be the leading importer. As a result, the price of Bolivia rosewood in Western markets has more than doubled.

Popularity of Bolivia Rosewood as True Rosewood Substitute

While Bolivian rosewood shares several traits with Brazilian rosewood, logs that can be derived from Tipuanan tipu or Machaerium trees are smaller, capable of producing mostly 3 to 6-inch wide lumber. The widest by which a Bolivian rosewood board can measure is 8 inches, which is why only a small percentage can be supplied for wall panel use.

Nonetheless, Bolivia rosewood became the most popular substitute for true rosewoods because of its excellent working properties, density and range of colors; from coffee or tobacco browns, to black usually with some purplish streaks. The demand for Bolivia rosewood comes mostly from producers of high-end wood products like doors, furniture, decorative quality boxes and acoustic guitars.

Lumber producers also manufacture Bolivia rosewood veneers to provide consumers with a more economical option for paneling and for making cabinetry, shelving, doors and other architectural woodwork. Veneers made from Bolivia rosewood are high grade because the wood sheets glue better than sheets made from other types of lumber.

Some Important Tips When Working on Bolivia Rosewood

When using this type of South American hardwood, sanding the wood in preparation for a polished finish could take time. The lumber is dense, and usually has numerous scratches and swirls; in some cases it can be oily.

Not a few experienced woodworkers recommend using a random orbital sander because its versatility as a power sander includes that of bringing out a fine-finish. Unlike other types of electrical sanders, a random orbital sander does not chip away large wood particles.

Bob Smith Tools’ experts who write reviews of orbital sanders, which you can read via this url , also recommend that when sanding this type of Bolivia hardwood, it would be best to wear a protective respirator. This is particularly important when sanding Bolivia rosewood that has some green streaks because the wood will produce dust that is highly irritant.

Many consider the green streak as part of the exotic color of lumber from Tipuana tipu trees, since the streaks give the wood a bioluminescence or a “glow-in-the-dark” quality. However, wood scientists have found out that the bioluminescence is actually being produced by a type of tree fungus that they came to call “foxfire.” During sanding, the green substance falls off as dust particles, which if inhaled would cause allergic asthma-like reactions.