Tips on how to tell the difference between ROCKLITE® Sundari and real Indian Rosewood.

January 4th 2017 was a game changer for the musical instrument trade in that it saw an end to the free movement of all Rosewood (Dalbergia species) around the world.
From that moment our remit was a faux rosewood made to look as much like the real thing as possible and made from a non-endangered and totally sustainable non-tropical hardwood.
The result was Rocklite Sundari a totally believable faux Indian rosewood, that looks and feels just like the real thing.
The launch of Rocklite Sundari was January 4th 2018 a year to the day after the original CITES ratification.
Now, we are faced with a different problem, how interested parties like customs officials tell the difference between Rocklite Sundari and true Indian Rosewood.

The fundamental thing to bear in mind with Rocklite Sundari is that it was designed primarily to be totally convincing on a two dimensional level, three dimensionally however it is not so convincing
and breaks all the excepted rules of naturally grown hardwoods.

Listed below are some guidelines to help with the identification of Rocklite Sundari.

What is ROCKLITE® Sundari made from?

Rocklite Sundari is an engineered laminate product made from African whitewood (Triplochiton scleroxylon)
Other names include African maple, Wawa, Samba and Ayous

Tips on how to tell the difference between  ROCKLITE® Sundari and real Indian Rosewood.  . end grain

To achieve the appearance of a quatersawn board on the face it requires a constant angle of 12° rift cut
Which is clearly visible from the ends of the boards and will be the same and on every board.
Obviously with real rosewood this would never be the case and the grain angle of every piece would be different.
There is also no need to end seal Rocklite Sundari with paraffin wax as there would be with real Rosewood because as a laminate it is not prone to end checks and cracks.

Rocklite Sundari is designed to appear quarter sawn on the face of each board, if this was natural wood this would mean that the sides of the boards would appear crown cut or slab sawn, they don’t! They actually appear event more straight grain and quartered than the face side, this is because of the angle of the laminations.

colour fast test

Real rosewood will leach large amounts of colour when wiped over with cellulose thinners on a clean rag. Rocklite Sundari is actually far more colour fast when exposed to this and will leach little or no colour at all.
Also true Indian Rosewood will get darker over time as natural oxidisation takes place, obviously this is not the case with Rocklite Sundari because the dyes used in its production contain the latest technology in Phenolic Ultra Violet light absorbers and uv inhibitors.

Smell Test

All Rosewoods (Dalbergia) species have a strong distinctive smell very familiar to anyone in the trade used to working with Rosewoods, often described as a peppery smell.
Rocklite Sundari does not smell peppery and has very little smell at all.
The easiest way to test for smell is to sand the surface lightly and smell the sanded area.

Tips on how to tell the difference between  ROCKLITE® Sundari and real Indian Rosewood.  . grain direction

Telltale signs in the grain

Although the face of Rocklite Sundai looks very convincing, if you look closely you will see a phenomenon that does NOT appear naturally in Rosewood,
The pores within the wood will sometimes change direction and will not always follow the direction of the grain lines. click on the picture to see this highlighted.

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