Blackwood (African) Hardwood

Blackwood (African)

African Blackwood, also known as Blackwood or Dalbergia melanoxylon, is a species of timber related to the rosewoods. It has a distinct yellow-white sapwood, which sharply contrasts with the dark purple-brown heartwood, which often has black streaks. The grain of African Blackwood is typically straight, but can be variable. The wood is slightly oily to the touch and has an extremely fine and even texture. It is very heavy and hard.

African Blackwood is a versatile timber, often used for bagpipe chanters, musical instruments, piano keys and much more. It is a great choice for any project requiring a durable and beautiful wood.

African Blackwood is sourced from sustainable and legal sources, so you can be sure that you are purchasing a quality product.

If you are looking for a timber that is both beautiful and durable, African Blackwood is an excellent choice.

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Material Type:

Also Called:
Mozambique Ebony, African Grenadillo, Mpingo (Tanzania), Pau Prato

Durability Notes:
Blackwood (African) wood is a very durable timber.

The drying and seasoning of Blackwood (African) is dependant on a number of factors; the speed in which it is processed after felling and logging, the method of drying and the specific kilns or location (if air dried). Generally the care taken by those processing the wood will have an impact on its drying and seasoning. As an overview; Blackwood (African) - dries very slowly and can take 2-3 years to season fully. Part-seasoned in log or billet form, it is then converted, end-coated and stacked under cover. There can be problems with heart shakes and end splitting. Please note that all wood is liable to move when in service plus there can be dimensional change. The extent of this will depend on; the stability of the species itself, the conditions it is exposed to, the coating, decoration and protection. You will find more information about the suitability of this wood, for any proposed application, by using our interactive system and the filters shown.

African Blackwood is strong and tough in all categories. African blackwood has a severe blunting effect on tools. Blackwood is challenging to work but turns well. Pre-drilling is necessary for nailing and screwing. Blackwood glues fairly well, takes stain well and can be brought to a great finish.

Typical Uses:
Furniture, Musical Instruments, Architecture, Boat Building, Carving, turned products, inlay work.

Moisture Content:
Guide - 10-18% for KD (+/- 2%)

Commonly asked questions about African Blackwood

Is Blackwood a hardwood or a softwood? Blackwood is a hardwood. It is the same for; is African Blackwood hardwood or softwood? - African Blackwood is a hardwood.

Most groups/families of species share the same characteristics but this normally relates to their life as plants. Individual species do not always share the same characteristics as their relatives, in terms of the wood. Many factors influence how we use the wood and what we use it for, including where it grows, how it is forested, how it seasons/dries, etc. The answers to the following common questions, therefore relate to this particular species/wood and not the Blackwood family as a whole. Even more specific – our answers relate to the wood (as we know it) in its form as a useable resource.

What colour is African Blackwood? African Blackwood can be described as black/very dark brown, dark brown

Is African Blackwood good for outdoor use? or is African Blackwood good for exterior use? African Blackwood is most suited for exterior/external use. African Blackwood can be used as an exterior/external timber (without treatment).

Whether the wood is naturally durable or not we would still recommend that it is decorated and/or coated with a suitable product to provide protection and/or maintain its appearance. This even applies when using the wood internally as, even subtle, changes in temperature or humidity will affect the wood. This will depend on the application/purpose of the wood and the user’s desired appearance. We also recommend that a recoating, care and maintenance programme is adhered to, for the life of an exterior wood. Wood cannot rot if it is kept dry – coatings and decoration can provide this protection. All of that said there are many durable timbers that are often left to weather naturally and will last for many years untreated/coated – movement and visual changes will occur but this is sometimes the desired effect. All wood is hygroscopic (it 'wants' to be in tune with its environment) it will therefore take on water from moisture in the air (or when directly exposed to or submerged in water) and ‘release it’ when dry or exposed to heat. This, inevitably, results in movement and dimensional change. For more about moisture in wood please click here - Moisture in wood

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