The heartwood of Wenge is dark brown with near black veining. Grain is straight with a medium texture and low luster.
Found in Central Africa, especially throughout the Congo and southern regions of Tanzania and Mozambique.
Wenge, Awong, Mpande, Panga-panga
1630 – 26 % harder than Northern Red Oak
This species is reported to be rather secure with very little threat to its existence within most of its growth range including the Congo, but it is officially classified as either extinct, endangered or rare in Cameroon.
The bark from the Wenge tree is used for its toxins to stun fish for harvest. It is also used in parts of Africa for mask carving. The Wenge tree grows to heights of 60 to 90 feet with a trunk diameter of 3 to 4 feet.
The heartwood of Wenge is yellowish brown when freshly cut, turning dark brown to almost black with alternate layers of light and dark. The sapwood is yellowish-white and clearly demarcated from the heartwood. The grain is straight when quartersawn and the texture is coarse. The color variation is moderate within species and grades.
Wenge exhibits a large degree of color change with pronounced darkening from the yellowish color it is when freshly milled to a deep chocolate black brown when aged. This process happens within a few months.
Wenge is used in flooring, heavy construction, shipbuilding, cabinet making, musical instruments, fine furniture making, drum sticks, organ pipes, piano keys, sub-flooring, violins and violin bows.
Wenge is a very hard and durable wood, with excellent dimensional stability. However, actual installations have shown significant movement in use.
Wenge is difficult to saw and machine as it exerts medium blunting effect on tools. Because of the presence of resin in the wood, Wenge is difficult to glue. There are no known problems with nailing. Sanding is moderately difficult and attention should be paid to remove scratches from the previous sandings. Staining and and finishing may be difficult.