Hardwood 101 – Persimmon Lumber
Persimmon wood is taken from the Diospyros Virginiana tree and is found throughout North America. It is actually the northern most member of the ebony family. The persimmon tree can reach heights of 80 to 120 feet, with trunk diameters of 18 to 24 inches. Persimmon typically has very wide sapwood, with a very small, narrow core of heartwood. Its sapwood is white to creamy-white and sometimes marked with dark spots turning grayish-brown when exposed to air. Its heartwood is brown, black, or variegated, and brown to orange brown streaks can sometimes be present. Its grain pattern is usually close and straight, with a fine and even texture. And as for figuring, the wood has very little.
With a Janka hardness of 2300, Persimmon lumber is extremely hard, dense, elastic, tough, and resistant to wear. It is a very durable wood that has high crushing and bending strengths with medium stiffness. In fact, persimmon is able to be bent to a moderate radius. It also has high shock resistance, good nail holding properties, and works well with sharp hand tools. The small sturdy heartwood is also highly resistant to decay and insect attack is rare.
Persimmon is a great wood to use for musical instruments, drum sticks, striking-tool handles, spools, turnery, domestic flooring, furniture, textile shuttles, and bobbins. Its ability to retain a smooth surface, even after hard usage, makes it a great choice for so many projects.
At one time, persimmon was considered the traditional wood for golf club heads because of its elasticity. Wood golf club heads actually require a process of drying to ensure a strong and resilient product. Read about The Louisville Golf Club Company’s experience with drying persimmon wood.