Wenge (Millettia lau- rentii) is a tree found mainly in Tanzania nd Mozambique.
Another name for the wood is African
rosewood. The tree is short, seldom
reaching over 50 feet in height. The
diameter of the mature tree is 30 to 36
inches. The bark has been valued for a
reddish sap called kino. Kino is high in
tannin content and is very astringent.
Note: A very close relative in appearance and strength is panga panga (
The wood is very heavy and can
be used as a substitute for hickory in
sporting goods where its high impact
resistance is a plus. In fact, its striking
grain pattern, especially when quar-
tersawn makes it more attractive than
hickory. Wenge also is used for both
strip and parquet flooring, especially
as an accent with a lighter colored
floor. It is also used as an accent wood
for furniture and cabinets. It has been
used for guitar fingerboards. Although
not common in the North American
markets, wenge lumber is sometimes
available. The species is now consid-
ered to be endangered. ;
Striking African wood now endangered.
; Want more? For more on this and other species, search the Wood Explorer collection at
by Gene Wengert
firstname.lastname@example.org WOOD EXPLORER
Density. Density of kiln-dried wood
ranges from 45 to 55 pounds per cubic
foot. A board foot of lumber will weigh
about 4-1/2 pounds.
Drying. Drying is slow. Warping is
minimal. Most wenge is dried before it
arrives in North America. Shrinkage in
drying from green to 6 percent MC is estimated to be 4-1/2 percent tangentially
(the width of flatsawn lumber) and 2-1/2%
radially (quartersawn width).
Gluing and machining. Wenge
will often be quite resinous, leading to
problems gluing. Surfaces should be
freshly prepared and cleaned with a
solvent moments before gluing. The wood
The world’s source
for in-line moisture
is so dense that it is hard to machine and
the heat generated rapidly dulls tools.
Splinters of wenge cause persistent inflammation. Exposure to the sawdust can
cause abdominal cramps, eye irritation
and breathing problems.
Stability. This wood is very stable,
requiring a change of 6 percent MC for
a 1 percent size change tangentially and
a 12 percent MC change radially.
Strength. Wenge is very strong (MOR
is 16, 200 psi) and very stiff (MOE is 1. 97
million psi). It is also quite hard, with a
rating of 1630 pounds.
Color and grain. The heartwood
is dark brown with fine, closely-spaced
black lines that are very striking.