DRAMATIC HARDWOOD THAT IS BEST LEFT UNFINISHED
Wenge is an unusual lumber, being very coarse but even in texture and very strong. It is favored for flooring and sometimes used for work surfaces. Closely related to panga panga (M. stuhlmannii), it is distinguished by its straight grain and alternating dark
brown and paler veins, which give it a special look and feel. It is rather more dramatic unfinished, as the alternating veins converge in color when a finish is applied.
Type Tropical hardwood
Other names Dikela, klboto, pallisandre
Alternatives Panga panga (M. stuhlmannii)
Sources Central Africa
Color Dark brown, with paler veins that darken when finished
Texture Coarse, but even
Grain Generally straight
Hardness Very hard
Weight Heavy (55 lb./cu. ft.) (880 kg/cu. m)
Strength Very strong, and can be bent
Seasoning and stability Stable once dry, but must be seasoned slowly to prevent degradation.
Wastage Medium, with some sapwood and gum pockets, but otherwise few defects
Range of board widths Good
Range of board thicknesses Should be reasonable
Durability Very durable to rot and insect attack
There is very little contrast between quartersawn and plain-sawn sides.
Wenge has been reported to be endangered by IUCN and there is no evidence of certified supplies.
AVAILABILITY AND COST
More expensive than panga panga (M. stuhlmannii) but still moderately priced for a tropical hardwood, wenge is not widely available, but it is increasingly popular for flooring, and that may be the easiest way to access supplies.