Wenge is the name as we know the wood produced by the tropical tree Millettia Laurentii, a localizable species in countries from East Africa, mainly in Cameroon, Republic of the Congo, Gabon, Mozambique and Tanzania. It is also often marketed under the same name of the wood obtained from the panga-panga tree (Millettia stuhlmannii) because of the similarities of their colour, texture and properties. The wenge wood is also called jambire, messara, mpande and awoung, and it is classified as threatened since 1998.
The wenge wood has a tight brown colour with thin black stripes. It is one of the darkest woods besides the ebony one, and it tends to darken over time if it is not exposed to the sunlight.
The wenge wood has a hard and dense composition, its fiber is straight and its grain thickness ranges from medium to coarse size.
It is one of the strongest materials on the timber market, that is why wenge wood resists very well to a termites attack and a moisture atmosphere.
The wenge wood is normally worked with difficulty because of its hardness. It is very tough to glue and nail by the tannins on its surface. Its handling should be done with the adequate protection to avoid risks of skin and eyes irritation caused by the dust that looses the wood when cut. However, the wenge wood presents little risk of deformation when mechanized. The sapwood is moderately resistant, while the heartwood is practically impossible, and the drying is slow.
The wenge wood is mainly used in the fabrication of musical instruments, in the manufacture of fine cabinetry and turning and bending furniture, in interior joinery (doors, stairs, paneling, molding, baseboards, friezes and parquet) and outside joinery (doors and windows), floors and decorative veneers.