The wood commonly known as Queenwood is known to botanists and other scientists as Swartzia spp. of no specific species, which could mean that several different species are harvested and sold as Queenwood. Swartzia is native to South America, being harvested primarily in Peru.
For the sake of simplicity and common understanding, I will refer to Swartzia as Queenwood from here forward.
While the color varies, Queenwood heartwood is generally a light reddish brown, with sections of darker purplish brown, as well as darker black streaks and veins throughout. Queenwood sapwood is a pale grayish brown to cream color, and is sharply demarcated from the heartwood.
Queenwood presents with a fine and even grain with a good natural luster.
There is no data available regarding rot resistance in Queenwood.
Queenwood is reported to have good overall workability.
Queenwood is reported to turn well.
However, Queenwood is prone to end checking during the drying process.
Queenwood does not have a distinctive scent when being freshly worked or cut.
Pricing and Availability:
Queenwood is a much more recent commercial species and is only occasionally exported from Peru. Turning blanks and small craft lumber are the most common forms available. Expect prices to be in the mid range for an imported hardwood.
In this blog, I almost always recommend several vendors with whom I have done considerable business and in whom I have great confidence. These vendors are: West Penn Hardwoods, Bell Forest Products, NC Wood, WoodTurningz, Amazon Exotic Hardwoods, Griffin Exotic Wood, Exotic Woods USA, Got Wood?, and Wood Turning Blanks 4U.
None of my favored wood vendors are currently offering Queenwood in any format.
Woodfinder is an excellent website that is dedicated to advertising wood dealers. In your search for Queenwood this can be an invaluable resource provided you use multiple search terms to capture all the possible listings. I can’t speak to the quality of any of the listed dealers, but Woodfinder does have the advantage of allowing searches to be performed based on location which might allow an interested buyer to visit a listed wood dealer in person to hand pick pieces at a comfortable price.
A significant problem with using Woodfinder is that many vendors are listed for woods that, upon further investigation, they do not offer. I don’t know if perhaps once they did and they didn’t update their listings or if some vendors use a standardized list of woods that include most everything conceivable with the idea that once you land on their page you will find something you want to buy even if you didn’t know it beforehand. It happens to me all the time!
Queenwood is commonly used to make turned objects and other small specialty wood items.
Queenwood is not listed in the CITES Appendices or on the IUCN Red List.
To the best of my knowledge, the United States government does not place any restrictions on Queenwood.
I realize that inherent in working with wood is the killing of a part of the natural world that may be slow to return and if I become deeply concerned about this fact, I will have to find a new hobby. I hope that such a time does not come to pass or at least not any time soon. In part because I am concerned about legally and responsibly obtained wood, I am reluctant to buy from sellers outside of well-established and known vendors. I am highly unlikely, for example, to purchase any wood from auction sites, such as Ebay, because of uncertain sourcing and documentation, as well as the potential, even likelihood, of material being misidentified in order to achieve a higher selling price.