Wenge (Millettia laurentii) is a hardwood species with a distinctive grain pattern of very dark to fine yellowish stripes. The pores of the wood are not arranged in any particular formation, and can be solitary or arranged in radial multiples of 2-3. Brown mineral deposits may be present. The growth rings are distinctive, but the rays are not visible without magnification. Wenge is a dense and durable wood, making it suitable for use in high-end furniture and feature joinery. It is often used in combination with Maple for a dramatic 'black and white' contrast.
Awoung, Dikela, Bokong, Mibotu, Tshikalakala, Palissandre Du Congo
Wenge is a durable wood and resistant to fungi and termites. The sapwood is permeable for preservative treatment, but the heartwood is highly resistant. Not often used externally though.
The drying and seasoning of Wenge 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; Wenge - The wood seasons slowly and fairly challenging to dry. Small movement in use. 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.
Wenge can be challenging to work with hand and machine tools. Sands unevenly due to differences in density between light and dark areas. Very splintery and care must be used when handling unfinished wood with bare hands, as splinters have an increased risk of infection. Very large pores can be challenging to fill if a perfectly smooth/level finish is desired.
Furniture, Cabinets, Flooring, Musical Instruments, Table Tops, Wall Paneling, Interior Trim, Carvings, Veneer.
Wenge is a wonderful magical tool. A relaxed energy and is the perfect tool for meditation to help slowing of thoughts. Worn as a charm to create a more even mood and centered thought. Helps calm the temper and encourage learning.
Wenge is considered endangered by the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species (this was last assessed in 1998 and considerable changes in awareness and more stringent forestry controls may have had an impact and the results of the latest assessment is due soon) for more information and latest updates please visit http://www.iucnredlist.org and type in the botanical name of the species into the search box. It should also be noted that one unintentional shortcoming of the Red List is that it only considers the risk of extinction; broader issues dealing with habitat destruction or deforestation are not considered. Also, it does not necessarily take into account the maturity of the trees (i.e., centuries-old trees are cut down, and subsequently replanted with saplings) Therefore we hope that further assessments will consider this long term commitment to re-growth.The reason Wenge is at risk is due to; much of its range it is threatened with over exploitation for its decorative timber.
Wood Worker's Thoughts:
Extreme contrast between hard and soft grain. Finishes well and very attractive, can be used with Maple or Ash as a contrast in colour.
Commonly asked questions about Wenge Wood
Is Wenge a hardwood or a softwood? Wenge is a hardwood. It is the same for; is Wenge hardwood or softwood? - Wenge 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 Wenge 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 Wenge? Wenge can be described as black/very dark brown, brown, dark brown
Is Wenge good for outdoor use? or is Wenge good for exterior use? Wenge is most suited for exterior/external use. Wenge 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