Common Names: African Padauk, Vermillion

Scientific Name: Pterocarpus soyauxii

Origin: Central and tropical West Africa

Tree Size: 100-130 ft (30-40 m) tall, 2-4 ft (.6-1.2 m) trunk diameter

Average Dried Weight: 47 lbs/ft3 (745 kg/m3)



Color & Appearance:

Padauk heartwood colors can range from a pale pink-orange to deep brown-red. Most wood pieces tend to begin red-orange when first cut and darken considerably over time to a red-purplish brown; however, some light colored pieces may change to a gray-brown.

Grain & Texture:

Padauk grain is normally straight, but it may at times be interlocked. This wood has an open, coarse texture and lovely natural luster.


Padauk is diffuse-porous with large pores in no precise arrangement; it has solitary and radial multiples of 2-3. Paduak occasionally will have mineral deposits. Growth rings are indistinct and rays are not visible without a lens. It is apotracheal parenchyma diffuse-in-aggregates banded and paratracheal parenchyma aliform (winged), banded and confluent.

Rot Resistance:

Padauk possesses excellent decay resistance and is ranked durable to very durable. It is noted to be resistant to termites and other insects.


Padauk, overall, is easy to work; however, tearout may occur during planing on interlocked or quartersawn grain. Padauk turns, glues, and finishes nicely.


Padauk has a mild, pleasant scent while it is being worked.

Allergies & Toxicity:

Even though serious reactions are very uncommon, Padauk has been reported to be a sensitizer. Most common reactions include simple eye, skin, and respiratory irritations.

Pricing & Availability:

Padauk is generally imported as lumber in a range of lengths and thicknesses, in addition to turning and craft blanks. This wood is mostly moderately priced for an import.


Padauk is not listed in the CITES Appendices or on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.

Common Uses:

Typical uses for Padauk include: flooring, veneer, turned wooden objects, musical instruments, tool handles, furniture, and small specialty wood pieces.


Padauk has a very unique red-orange color, and this wood is often referred to as “Vermillion.” Unfortunately, it’s intense color always darkens to a deep red-brown shade. UV-inhibiting finishes may extend, but not prevent, this gradual color-shift. Padauk is moderately strong, heavy, and stiff, and shows exceptional stability. It is a very popular hardwood among woodworker hobbyists due to the unique color and low cost.  Padauk is one of the most recurrently misspelled and mispronounced wood species; Padouk, Paduk, or Paduakare are common misspellings. The most common pronunciation is pah-DUKE, but this species is sometimes mispronounced as Paducah.

Size 1-200 Bft 201-300 Bft 301-500 Bft 501+ Bft
4/4  10.55 8.65 6.45  5.75
8/4  10.60  8.70 6.50  5.80