Amboyna Wood (Pterocarpus Indicus) : Uses, properties, Pros and cons

Amboyna wood refers to the burl wood of any of the Pterocarpus species.

Exotic wood comes from the Indonesian island of Ambon, where a lot of the carved wood is thought to have been exported. The correct way to say Amboyna is Amboina.

Amboyna from Cagayan in the Philippines is usually much heavier, gets hard, and turns blood red.

Because the grain is wavy, crossed, and irregular, the figure can be mottled, fiddle back, ripple, or curly. The surface of a flat-sawn board can have a flame figure, and the surface of a quarter-sawn board can have a ribbon figure.

Amboyna has a texture that is somewhere between fine and coarse and is fairly shiny. Amboyna is a versatile wood.

Amboyna is used for making joinery, flooring, furniture, and many other things. It smells good, like freshly baked goods. The wood is a classic handle wood used on the show and high-end user knives.

Amboyna is sold under other names

Amboyna Burl, Narra Burl, Philippine Paduak, Solomon’s Paduak, Papua New Guinea Rosewood.


One of the most unusual burls in the world, it is mostly used to make veneers for high-end furniture.

The colorful wood is one of the world’s most valuable woods, and the tree is often cut down for its wood.

The wood is known for its deep, bright reds, oranges, and snow-white sapwood. Amboyna Burl, an exotic wood, is one of the most beautiful burls. It is one of about 60 species in the Pterocarpus genus, which is said to include trees of all sizes.

The tree is sometimes planted in Puerto Rico to provide shade and look nice. It is recommended as an ornamental tree for streets.


Smaller pieces of figured Narra and Amboyna burl, amboyna wood for sale in solid and veneer form, can sometimes be found at stores that sell only specialty woods.


Amboyna Burl is one of the most valuable because of its deep red color and heavy bird’s eye or bubbly grain pattern. This is one of the most expensive and rare burls.

Amboyna is especially valuable because the rich wood colors make the intricate patterns stand out. The wood people choose used to make a lot of expensive furniture.

Amboyna burl is very sought after, and the prices are going up. Veneer makers, guitar makers, turners, and other woodworkers are increasing prices.

High-end architectural woodwork and cabinetry reward amboyna burl for its unequaled depth and beauty, which ranges from deep yellow-orange to crimson.

Amboyna wood, a reddish hardwood, is one of the most costly types of wood in the Philippines (>$600/m3) and is renowned as a superb wood in southern Asia.


Pterocarpus indicus comes from Malaysia but can also be found in the Philippines, Borneo, Burma, New Guinea, and the Malay Archipelago.

Amboyna is a very important tropical tree that grows mostly in Southeast Asia. It is called Angsana in Malaysia and Indonesia and Narra in the Philippines.

It seems to live naturally in the south of Burma, Java, and New Guinea.


Amboyna is dried and seasoned in different ways depending on how quickly it is processed after it has been cut down and logged, how it is dried, and where it is dried (if air dried).

Usually, the care with which the wood is worked will affect how well it dries and ages. Amboyna wood dries slowly, but this doesn’t affect its grade or quality. The redwood takes longer to dry than the yellow wood.


The CITES Appendices do not list this type of wood, but the IUCN Red List does.

It is on the list of vulnerable species because its population has dropped by more than 20% in the last three generations, mostly because of exploitation.

Is Amboyna hard or softwood  

Wood type: hardwood.

The purple hardwood is resistant to termites and smells like roses. In most hardwoods, the fibers in the branch wood are shorter, and the lumens of the vessels are smaller than in the stem wood.

Amboyna wood stain    

The heartwood is hard to stain but gets a shiny finish when it’s polished. Rosewood is brought in in small amounts. Stains well and looks great when finished.

Amboyna Wood identification

Wood can be either half-ring porous or ring-porous. The diameter of the vessel’s opening must be 200 microns or more (large). Vestured pits.

Vessels per mm2 of less than 6 (rare). Simple plates with holes. Vessel-ray pits are about the same size and shape as inter-vessel pits. Intervessel p Axial parenchyma confluent. The axial parenchyma grew.

Crystals in axial parenchyma cells with chambers and in fibers. Bands of axial parenchyma that are wider than 3 cells. Rays told tales. Homogeneous or sub-homogeneous rays. Fibers with holes that have clear edges. Fibers told a story.

Color and appearance

Most of the time, the color is reddish brown and gold, but it can change. The color gets darker when it’s out in the air and light.

Amboyna burl is one of the most valuable species in the forest because of the way its red, orange, brown, and yellow colors blend.

Heartwood can be pale yellow, golden brown, or brick red.


Large pores diminish to large/medium pores, single, radial multiples, and clusters. Very few minerals and gum deposits (reddish brown), Vasicentric, wing-shaped, convergent, banded parenchyma with narrow, close-spaced rays.


The flowers are yellow, smell good, and grow in large axillary panicles. When the plant is in bloom, the buds don’t open one by one every day.

Instead, they open as the buds reach full size, only when an unknown trigger is set off. The opened flowers last for one day, and then it may be several days before another batch of “flowering-ready” buds opens.

The flower makes honey, and shampoos are made from leaf infusions. It was said that both the flowers and the leaves were eaten.


Round pod-shaped fruit with a flat, rounded wing is the fruit. Each pod contains two seeds. The Pods do not automatically open; they might remain attached to the tree for several years when they contain mature seeds. The wind disperses the seeds.

The fruit is a semiorbicular, 2-3 cm in diameter pod encircled by a flat, 4-6 cm in diameter membranous wing that assists in wind distribution.

Grain and texture

Medium texture with interlocked grain.

Due to the wavy, crossing, and uneven grain, the figure might be mottled, fiddleback, rippled, or curly. Amboyna is generally shiny and has a texture ranging from moderately fine to moderately coarse. Amboyna is an adaptable kind of wood.


The burl’s diminutive nature makes the leaf’s dimensions modest.

The leaves are pinnate and 12–22 cm long, with 5–11 leaflets and a girth of 12–34 m. Panicles 6–13 cm long, comprising a few too many blooms, are used to generate the flowers.

The stipules are often tiny, linear, or narrowly triangular and are normally early caducous. The leaflets are alternating or sometimes sub-opposite, and they are whole.

According to legend, the leaves effectively wax and polish brass and copper. Additionally, it provides kino or resin.


It smells nice, kind of like baked pastries. Has a unique scent that stays long after being worked.


It has a short, clear bole with a maximum diameter of 2 meters, although it often has poor form—it is twisted, heavily fluted, and frequently has noticeable buttresses.

Yellow flowers with a fragrant aroma are abundantly produced on the tree in racemes and panicles. New plants from the roots easily replace logged forest trees in Papua Young Guinea.

Amboyna wood bark

A sticky or resinous material termed “kino” or “sangre de drago” (dragon’s blood) is exuded from the bark. The boiling, shredded bark treats diarrhea and dysentery because it is a potent astringent.

Although its diuretic qualities have not yet been conclusively shown, it is sometimes used as one. The bark also possesses tanning abilities and tans or yellows when dyed.

Amboyna wood Pros  and cons       

Amboyna wood is a hard wood with beautiful colors and patterns in the wood’s grain. It comes from the tropical rainforest, and in Indonesia, it is the most common wood for making furniture. In this post, I’ll discuss what’s good and bad about Amboyna.

Rot resistance

has favorable weathering properties and is often quite durable in terms of decay resistance. Termite and powder post-beetle attack resistance are both typically present.

White-rot fungus is resistant to the wood and wood extracts’ antifungal properties. Amboyna is a significant hardwood commercial timber wood-rotting fungus.

Very resistant to insect and termite assault, as well as treatment with preservatives.

Strength and Durability 

Amboyna wood is a very durable timber. Air-dried wood from this species has the same bending strength as teak, which is known to be strong. In compression parallel to the grain, the strength is high.

It is not too hard and doesn’t wear or scratch easily, and the wood is quite heavy.

Amboyna is a strong, hard wood that takes three years to dry out fully. The “burr” is a flaw in the wood of the tree trunk that makes the wood grains form complicated patterns that look like flames.

The numbers on how long Amboyna wood lasts are very different, probably because the density of the wood tested was so different.

Most people say that Narra is durable. A test in Malaysia showed that the wood was not strong enough to last more than two years.

Tests of wood from Indonesia, the Philippines, and Papua New Guinea showed that it could last up to 20 years when it is in contact with the ground.

Allergies and toxicity

Although severe reactions are quite uncommon, Amboyna has been reported as an irritant.

Water resistance

Amboyna wood is durable in salt water, particularly the wood obtained from trees growing near the sea.


Amboyna is strong enough in all areas, and its steam-bending properties aren’t too bad. Amboyna is easy to work with hand tools and is good for carving and turning. It doesn’t dull cutters very much.

Amboyna is easy to nail, glue, and screw; it takes stains and polishes well. Amboyna shavings make the water look fluorescent blue, which is a bit strange.

Due to its wild grain patterns, Amboyna burl can be hard to work with. Cutters get a little bit duller.

SAWING: It’s hard to cut because the grain is twisted.

CUTTING ROTARY VENEER: This species can be laminated, and steaming is the best way to do it.

SLICED VENEER: This type of wood can be laminated, and steaming is the best way to do it.

BLUNTING EFFECT: The resin could make the saw teeth stick together.

MACHINING: Because the grain is interlocked, this species is said to be fair to hard to work with. Needs special cutters.

PLANING: Grain can get picked up on radial surfaces when grains are stuck together.

NAILING: People say that this species is good at nailing.

GLUING: This species sticks well.

• SANDING: It is said that this species is easy to sand.

• FINISHING: It needs to be filled to get a good surface.

• STAINS: This wood is easy to stain.

• COATINGS: Fillers are used for some materials.

POLISHING: If it’s been filled first, it polishes well.

REACTION TO HAND TOOLS: Hand tools are easy to use.

Amboyna wood uses

Fine furniture, cabinetry, architectural millwork, making guitars or other instruments, wood turning, panels, wood carving, airplanes or cars, knife handles, pool cues, veneer, and many other things.

Amboyna wood furniture

Amboyna makes one of the most highly valued cabinet woods in the world. It is beautiful and has great working and technical properties.

The wood is not too hard and not too light (550–900 kg/m3 [34–56 lb/ft3] at 15% moisture content). Saws, planes, and other tools can easily cut and shape it. When used inside, where there isn’t much decay, the wood lasts a long time.

Large plank buttresses are cut into doors and seats, while burls are used to make fancy bowls and decorative face veneer for high-value uses.

Amboyna wood for boats

In some places, Amboyna is thought to make the best canoes. Because the wood isn’t damaged by seawater, it was used to make boats in Asia.

Amboyna wood for firewood

Even though wood might not be the best choice for firewood, it could be used as fuel. Some Pterocarpus is green-burning.

Amboyna wood for sawn or building timbers

Because it doesn’t shrink or move much, Amboyna wood is good for making precise instruments. Its ability to stand up to weathering, wear, and insect attacks makes it useful for things like:

  • Bridges
  • piles
  • posts
  • railway sleepers
  • shafts and mine timber

Even though it is best to treat it with a preservative, because of how well it resists marine borer attacks, it is thought to be a good alternative to teak for building things in the water.

Amboyna for craft wood

Wood is used to make craft items because it is beautiful and easy to work with hand tools.

Some trees, especially those on the island of Seram in Indonesia, make a wood called Ambonese gnarl wood, or Amboyna, which has many interesting patterns and is very popular for making crafts.

Amboyna Wood Related species

The Amboyna wood-related species include several species of tropical wood found mostly in tropical parts of the world, and they are most often known for their durable timber. Other members of the Amboyna Wood are the following tree species:

African Padauk (Pterocarpus soyauxii)

Pterocarpus Soyauxii is a tree that can stay green all year or turn brown for a short time. It has an open, dome-shaped crown and can grow 30 to 50 meters tall.

The valuable heartwood is mostly exported from Cameroon and Gabon. It is mostly used as wood, but it was once used as a dye. Low damping of vibrations means that the wood has a high resonant quality.

Because it is so durable, the wood is great for building, carpentry, outdoor joinery, flooring, stairs, railway sleepers, boats, veneer, inlay, billiard tables, toys, joinery, dowels, shuttles, bobbins, spindles, sporting goods, and paddles.

Since the wood doesn’t get eaten by marine borers, it was used in temperate areas to build things like piers and sluice gates that go in the water.

Andaman Padauk (Pterocarpus Dalbergioides)

One of the most important trees for wood on the Andaman Islands is the Pterocarpus Dalbergioides. Africa and India are grown both as decorative plants and as street trees.

This is one of 33 species known to be good for making Hongmu (redwood), which is used to make high-quality Chinese furniture in the style of the Ming and Qing dynasties. This makes it a precious wood.

Burma Padauk (Pterocarpus macrocarpus)

Pterocarpus macrocarpus is a tree that grows mostly in tropical lowlands. It can be found up to 850 meters above sea level. It is one of the three main types of trees used to make Hongmu (redwood), which has been used to make Chinese furniture since the Ming and Qing dynasties.

Muninga (Pterocarpus angolensis)

It is known that South Africa, Botswana, and Namibia still have large stands of Pterocarpus angolensis. “Least Concern” is what the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species says about the species (2018). Large trees could be cut down too much for their wood, leading to their decline in some places.

Zitan (Pterocarpus satanlinus)

Red Sandalwood is one of 33 species of Pterocarpus santalinus. It is a small to medium-sized tree with a dense, round crown that loses its leaves in the fall.

The species is on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species as “Near Threatened” (2018). The goal of conservation is to cut down on illegal harvesting of the species and set up areas where the tree can be grown.

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