Padouk wood - distributed worldwide

The term Padouk is now referred to above all the African Padouk wood, some of the numerous related tree species, however, also occur in Asia. Which wood has which special properties, and what these woods are used, you will find in this article in detail.

Technical values

Reading Descriptionvalue
density0.9-1.0 g / cc (fresh), 0.75-0.85 g / cc
Compressive strength62 - 81 N / mm²
flexural strength111 - 166 N / mm²
Brinell hardness29 - 74 N / mm² or 18 - 25 N / mm²

The values ​​given above refer to the more commonly used African Padouk (Pterocarpus soyauxii).

Relationship and different names

Because of the many closely related species, a precise distinction is necessary. Most commonly used are two African species: Muninga (African Padouk) and the so-called African coral wood.

In addition, some species also occur in Southeast Asia and Central America. Of these, only the following species as timber suppliers still have a certain importance:

  • Manila Padouk (also called Zitan)
  • Narrabaum wood (Pterocarpus indicum) and
  • Burma Padouk

The technical characteristics are comparatively similar, but the appearance and appearance of the individual woods may differ throughout. The following information refers to the most popular wood, also known as coral wood African Padouk.

Alternative name for African species

Already for the African species alone there are a variety of alternative names. In addition to "coral wood" (because of the bright red color), these are also the following predominantly locally used names:

  • Corail
  • Kisese
  • Muenge
  • Palo Rojo
  • Mwangura


The individual species are often quite different in appearance. The following description refers to the most requested African Padouk.


The pores are arranged coarsely and scattered, the grain is usually wavy. There is a high natural shine. Color zones are also very common. The structure looks simple, but very elegant. Due to the deep pores, which may be filled with reddish nuclear materials, occasionally a special structuring can be produced, especially in the coral red species.


The color of coral wood is clearly bright coral red, but later darkens and discolors more brownish. Other species initially have an orange-red to very light red heartwood, but later also darkens significantly. The sapwood is whitish, as with most tropical wood species.


Padouk is hard and dense in all species, and very elastic at the same time. It has good strength values ​​and is easy to split. Also, the workability is very good, especially in African Padouk.

Shrinkage and drying

Drying should be slow and careful, but there is little tendency for cracking and throwing in many Padouk species.


All Padouk species are very good weathering resistance, highly resistant to aging and very resistant to fungal and insect attack. Padouk woods are also termite-proof.


From Padouk only small quantities are available in the trade, accordingly it is rarely used. The heap application is done for luxury items and inlays (inlays). Padouk is also used for veneer production, but it also plays a certain role in musical instrument making. It is also suitable for floor construction and for appliances and housings. In Africa, it is mainly used as hardwood, for example, for oars or agricultural equipment.


African Padouk comes mainly from West Africa. Currently, most of the timber comes from Cameroon, Congo and Gabon, but only small quantities are imported.

Here you will find an overview of the most important types of wood worldwide. An overview of the most important types of tropical wood, such as Padouk, can be found here.

Tips & Tricks

To polish and varnish the surface of the valuable and decorative woods, suitable pore fillers should be used beforehand and pre-treated with alcohol to avoid damage to the paint finish. Also make sure that the wood dust can cause severe irritation of the mucous membranes and inflammation of the skin. For this reason, always make sure that you are thoroughly prepared (extraction systems, personal protective equipment).

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