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Acacia melanoxylon

Acacia melanoxylon of the family Fabaceae (syn Leguminosae) the legume, pea, or bean family. Also commonly called Australian blackwood, this evergreen tree grows up to 100+ feet high but is usually quite a bit smaller. The species is native to a swath of coastline around the Eastern and Southeastern part of Australia and on the island of Tasmania which is off the Southeast coast of Australia but has been introduced to several other areas, primarily as an ornamental tree. It now is present in Africa, Asia, Europe, Indian Ocean, the Pacific Ocean, South America and the United States. Because of its tendency of replace native growth, it is a declared an invasive species in South Africa, California, and other places.

The heartwood is golden to dark brown, sometimes with reddish tints and with darker growth rings. The sapwood will range in colour from straw to grey-white and shows a clear demarcation from the heartwood. It is usually straight grained but may be wavy or interlocked and quartersawn surfaces sometimes produce a nice fiddleback figure. The wood is lustrous, has a fine to medium texture, is fairly easy to work, and can be brought to a very high quality finish even though at about 45 pounds per cubic foot, it is only a moderately dense wood. It has a low to moderate movement in service and has a janka hardness of 1720, which is about the same as American black locust and just slightly below pecan/hickory.

I note that the range of colors for the woods shown on this page is rather extreme, so I'm dubious that they are all really from the same species ... BUT, I can't say with any authority that they are or are not.

my samples:

both sides of a sample plank of curly Tasmanian blackwood / Acacia melanoxylon --- HUGE enlargements are present. This sample was loaned to me by Mark Peet whom I thank for this and other contributions to the site.

end grain and end grain closeup of the piece directly above

END GRAIN UPDATE from directly above

small piece and end grain. This was provided by Walter Troy, whom I thank for this and other contributions to the site.

end grain closeup and END GRAIN UPDATE of the piece directly above. The update is upside down.

flat cut surface closeup and quartersawn surface closeup of the piece directly above. The quartersawn surface shows a more pink that the wood actually is. HUGE enlargements are present.

veneer sheets listed as Australian blackwood / Acacia melanoxylon --- HUGE enlargements are present. These samples were contributed to the site by David Clark whom I thank for this and other contributions to the site.

NOT raw wood colors
log ends and two closeups of same --- moistened with water for the pics

NOT raw wood colors
some slabs and two closeups of same --- moistened with water for the pics

All of the above pics are "my" samples only in that Rick Savary sent them to me. Rick obtained these from firewood dealers in Southern California. The logs were about 18"-22" in diameter. He also turned the hollow form shown at the bottom of the page.

The Wood Book pics

flat cut (appears to be pure sapwood), quartersawn, end grain
Tasmanian blackwood (Acacia melanoxylon, listed as just "blackwood") from The Wood Book --- both levels of enlargement are available for each of the 3 views

web pics:

plank with both wet and dry sections


planks showing sticker stain

plank listed as koala with the statement that that name is a substitute common name for Tasmanian blackwood, BUT ... I have not found the name "koala" used by any other vendor in the world, so I'm dubious.

not sure what this is but it was listed as a Tasmanian blackwood plank

both sides of a plank and a closeup

both sides of a plank and a closeup

turning stock

figured planks

plank and closeup

plank and closeup

turning squares

quilted planks

fiddleback slabs

planks listed as fiddleback

planks listed as curly and moistened for the pics (and even with that, I'm not confident that the colors would be this vibrant)

bowl blanks that have been coated with wax

curly bookmatched pairs

figured scales

turning sticks

pen blanks

fiddleback pen blanks

fiddleback scales


veneer moistened for the pics

figured veneer

fiddleback veneer

listed as quilted veneer and moistened for the pic; if this is a quilted figure at all, it is an extremely weak one compared to the normal meaning of the term.


guitar kit and several guitar backs

three views of a bowl


bowl with an unlikely color --- I think this has got to be mis-identified wood or an amazingly bad pic (hm ... maybe it could be all sapwood; doesn't seem likely). Now that I've gotten a similar-colored pic of a vase from Rick Savary (see below), I'm thinking maybe this IS a more or less correct color.

two views of a hollow form turned by Rick Savary --- enlargements are present