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WENGE

Millettia laurentii



A somewhat splintery, hard, porous African hardwood. The veneer tends to be somewhat fragile and will split easily along the grain, especially when quartersawn.



my samples:


plank and closeup --- I selected this piece because of the classic flat cut figure. Both levels of enlargement are present, so you can see how relatively grainy this wood is.


both edges of a plank where one edge is freshly cut and exhibits the light color that sometimes happens when the wood is freshly cut. This will darken over time until the light colored edge looks just like the dark colored edge.


closeup of the freshly cut surface shown directly above


both sides of a small piece --- HUGE enlargments are present for both these and the pic directly below and there is a slight red tint in all these pics that is not in the wood


end grain and end grain closeup of the piece directly above


two end grain shots of a smaller piece cut from the plank shown directly above. This is from the other side and the lighter areas are wider than the darker areas on this side, so the plank appears considerably lighter than the pics above. The vertical lighter stripes visible in the enlargements, particularly of the left pic, are sanding marks, not part of the grain. There is a reddish tint in these pics that is not in the wood.


two small quartersawn planks cut from the same board and shown here with the end grain of each. The end grain pics have been lightened just a little too much as I did the color correction (they come out almost black right out of the camera). The face-on pics are more accurate in color.


end grain closeup of one of the pieces directly above


small piece, end grain closeup and END GRAIN UPDATE. I did this one just to get another end grain update on wenge. The pores are mostly clogged with sawdust. HUGE enlargements are present.


small piece, end grain closeup and END GRAIN UPDATE. I did this one just to get another end grain update on wenge. The pores are mostly clogged with sawdust. HUGE enlargements are present. The white vertical lines are sanding scratches filled with sawdust. After mistakenly leaving these deep coarse-grit scratches, I did the rest of the end grain update perfectly, so the fine grain details show up clearly.


plank and end grain; there is a greenish tint in these pics that is not in the wood


end grain closeup and END GRAIN UPDATE of the piece directly above --- this seems to be a rare case where the update doesn't show the fine grain detail any better than I had already captured but the darker color does show that the update polished the wood.


rift cut slab --- as you can see from the pics below, it's pretty much perfectly rift cut, so both face and side look like quartersawn surfaces. There is just a touch too much red in all 3 pics


end grain and end grain closeup of the piece directly above


two end sections cut from the same long plank


the middle section of the same plank as directly above, and a closeup


two sides of a small side-grain slice taken from the same plank as the samples above.

As you can see from the differences between the first two pieces of quartersawn and the 3rd set, which were flat-cut from the same plank as the quartersawn pieces, wenge is one of those woods where the type of cut and the face you're looking at make a huge difference in the appearance of the wood. All these pieces show up better if you click to enlarge.


a set of small planks


closeup of the plank with flat cut face grain.


closeup of a plank with quartersawn face grain.


some small planks, flat cut


some small planks, flat cut


the reverse side of the upper plank from the set above, showing some sapwood.


a bunch of small pieces from a mixed lot, and a closeup


a pen blank (donated by Jim Glynn --- thanks Jim)


plank shot at a lumber yard


planks shot at a lumber yard


quartersawn veneer --- despite the "fact sheet"s statement that the heartwood is clearly defined, my experience with several different lots of veneer (which is the only place I've ever seen the sapwood) is that it is NOT sharply demarcated. Although the shading from heartwood to sapwood does not take more than an inch or so, there are many other woods where the line between the two is just that --- a line, with no shading at all, and that is not the case with the wenge I've seen. There is a red tint to this pic that is not in the wood.


quartersawn veneer with carefully corrected color --- although it sounds like a contradiction in terms, I don't know how to describe the color of these sheets other than to say that they are a very "bright black" color


two small pieces of flat cut veneer


flat cut veneer sheet and closeup


flat cut veneer sheet and closeup


flat cut veneer sheet and closeup


flat cut veneer sheet and closeup --- the distance pic has too much red in it; the closeup is accurate in color.


quartersawn veneer


quartersawn veneer with ray flakes --- usually, quartersawn wenge veneer is so coarse that it does not show ray flakes but this piece shows them very nicely

NOT A RAW WOOD COLOR
a flooring sample that has been finished in some kind of hard, shiny, finishing agent


the piece directly above, after I sanded off the finish --- in doing the color correction, I inadvertently made this pic just a shade lighter than the actual wood.



web pics:


planks with wet and dry sections; the first was just listed as wenge, the second as wenge / Millettia laurentii


interesting shot of the end grain of a significant portion of a log --- this clearly shows how the color difference betweeen early and late growth is substantial, which partly accounts for the extreme figure usually found in this wood.


slabs --- most of these have an unlikely orangish tint


flat cut planks


quartersawn planks


rift cut plank with excellent color & grain representation


misc planks


planks and a closeup


flat cut bookmatched planks with an unlikely faded color


plank with a ridiculous/impossible purple color (for wenge) which is the kind of nonsense that got me to start this site in the first place.


quartersawn planks with a color that is probably more light brown than the wood really is


bookmatched plank pair


both sides and a closeup of a plank


flat cut planks with accurate representation of grain pattern but the orange color seems excessive --- the wood is probably much more of a uniform dark brown in reality.


I believe these two have been bleached and then stained with cherry or something like that. They certainly do not look like untouched wenge, although the grain pattern looks correct.


clearly wenge but with a hilarious color. I'm pretty sure that there is no set of chemicals that could give wenge this color so this has to be photoshopped


planks with reasonable color


planks with suspect orange tint


flat cut wenge scales


quartersawn wenge scales


turning stock


veneer --- grain shows up much more clearly in the enlargement


veneer with an unlikely golden color


veneer with a very unlikely purple color


flat cut veneer


misc veneer


veneer sheet closeups with both levels of enlargement


web-pics of wood that, if I saw the piece I might think "Gee, that's probably wenge". On the last one, you have to go to the full enlargement to see it clearly and when you do, you'll see that it's similar to my first sample.


misc web-pics


the last pic is of the back side of stitched veneer, showing a common way of putting down a wavy line of a rubbery adhesive




guitar showing excellent use of approximately-bookmatched wenge


bowls --- check out the 2nd enlargement on the 2nd bowl; it REALLY shows wenge grain to an advantage


9" diameter bowl by Steve Earis (with big enlargements available that REALLY show the grain) and the blank from which it was turned