Black Acacia Wood

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Blog entry by Blake posted 02-05-2008 02:47 AM 15470 reads 0 times favorited 19 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Today a friend of mine through our used tool store and a fellow craftsman dropped off an incredible gift for me today while I was working.

His name is Fred, and he is an amazing artist. He mostly builds large scale sculptures (20 ft tall) out of metal. He uses a lot of interesting and unusual materials for his works. He also runs a mill with another one of our customers and often stops by the shop to show us their latest “find” in the back of his modest pickup truck. Usually an incredible slab of black walnut burl, five feet across, or something of the like.

Well last week he told me that they had arranged to mill a Black Acacia tree for someone in the area. He asked me if I had ever used Black Acacia. I told him that I hadn’t even seen any before, so he told me he would bring me a small piece.

Well, this is what he brought me about an hour ago:

The main slab is about 2’ by 1’ across and 10” thick, plus a few smaller chunks with wonderful contrast between the sapwood and heart. There is an amazing amount of different colors throughout the wood.

I suppose I’ll have to let it dry for a couple of years before I can use it? It’s very wet. Does anyone know anything about Black Acacia wood?

These are the other slabs that he had in the back of his truck:

Just another perk of working at a local used tool store, I’m guess!

-- Happy woodworking!

19 comments so far

View CedarFreakCarl's profile


594 posts in 3471 days

#1 posted 02-05-2008 02:59 AM

I don’t know squat about black acacia Blake, but great score!

-- Carl Rast, Pelion, SC

View GaryK's profile


10262 posts in 3406 days

#2 posted 02-05-2008 03:03 AM

Very nice. Drying it depends on what you want to do with it. You could cut it in half and turn a bowl.

-- Gary - Never pass up the opportunity to make a mistake look like you planned it that way - Tyler, TX

View Todd A. Clippinger's profile

Todd A. Clippinger

8901 posts in 3517 days

#3 posted 02-05-2008 03:19 AM

Lucky Dawg!

-- Todd A. Clippinger, Montana,

View Scott Bryan's profile

Scott Bryan

27251 posts in 3240 days

#4 posted 02-05-2008 03:29 AM

Very nice wood. I really like the grain pattern and color.

-- Challenges are what make life interesting; overcoming them is what makes life meaningful- Joshua Marine

View Karson's profile


35032 posts in 3818 days

#5 posted 02-05-2008 03:36 AM

Great gift Blake. A nice chunk of wood.

Look here

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Southern Delaware soon moving to Virginia †

View Tony's profile


978 posts in 3448 days

#6 posted 02-05-2008 12:17 PM

Luck man – Now you definitely have got to get your lumber storage sorted out. Think about resawing it into thinner pieces – its is going to take a long time to dry (about 8 years) and there is a very good chance it will split over time.

This would be a nice lump to turn on a lathe, if you had one! I gotta find me another nice tree somewhere.

-- Tony - All things are possible, just some things are more difficult than others! - SKYPE: Heron2005 (

View MsDebbieP's profile


18615 posts in 3578 days

#7 posted 02-05-2008 12:26 PM

oh wow.. Nice.

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (

View rikkor's profile


11295 posts in 3292 days

#8 posted 02-05-2008 02:34 PM

Holy cow! What ever you do with it, I can’t wait to see it.

View Thos. Angle's profile

Thos. Angle

4445 posts in 3380 days

#9 posted 02-05-2008 03:55 PM

Well, Blake, I don’t know any thing about Acacia, black, white or purple but I know about lucky!! YOU is!!!

-- Thos. Angle, Jordan Valley, Oregon

View Dorje's profile


1763 posts in 3414 days

#10 posted 02-06-2008 06:58 AM

Doesn’t look like he gave you much in the way of long grain…true?

-- Dorje (pronounced "door-jay"), Seattle, WA

View Blake's profile


3442 posts in 3292 days

#11 posted 02-06-2008 08:04 AM

True, Dorje. But I can be creative. (I make boxes… I don’t need much.)

-- Happy woodworking!

View Dorje's profile


1763 posts in 3414 days

#12 posted 02-06-2008 08:31 AM

I trust your creativity!

-- Dorje (pronounced "door-jay"), Seattle, WA

View WDY's profile


4 posts in 3079 days

#13 posted 05-17-2008 07:50 PM

I’ve worked with acacia quite a bit and it’s usually really wonderful open grained hardwood. It’s a LOT softer green (like most hardwoods) so you could saw it up a little into billets which will dry more quickly. Wax the heck out of the end grain-maybe even twice. I’m a truner and have made some big green bowls of the stuff, and I always use the “alcohol cure”, submerging the semi-finished work in alc. for 24 hours. This helps a lot with cracking. I use Mike Mahoney’s walnut oil to finish with and it really pops the grain with those natural reds and golds. Watch the dust which is pretty toxic. Acacia is Koa’s first cousin.

-- WDY,

View Rick Savary's profile

Rick Savary

2 posts in 2731 days

#14 posted 05-01-2009 08:27 PM

I turn wood hollow forms, and Black acacia just happens to turn up occasionally in Pasadena, as green logs. At first I shied away from it a bit because I knew it liked to “fuzz,” i.e. it didn’t cut or scrape cleanly at certain angles, which might make a smooth inner surface difficult to get on my bowls. But nope. No problem, mostly, as long as my tools are sharp enough.

The wood is very beautiful, in a somewhat course but very colorful way, with beautiful bands of browns, reds, purples, oranges and yellows. And even green, it sands, polishes and (dry) finishes very well, with oil and wax, easily taking as much shine as desired. In fact it takes a great shine without any finish at all!

It IS a little trickier to cut cleanly than most other hardwoods, sharp tools being the key. It has fiercely interlocking grain, and so that tendency to fuzz, but it is very tough, quite hard (dry), stable and strong, and shrinkage upon drying appears to be slow and moderate. With such good strength, cracking is easily controlled; it’s about as stable as walnut or cherry. I have had almost no trouble with cracking, even in the log (even outdoors in SoCal sun, with Anchorsealed ends), and none whatsoever with my thin-turned hollow forms. Beautiful AND stable is the magic combination for turning. In fact, Black acacia is now one of my very most favorite woods!

If you can get a piece, get it. It’s great turned green for bowls, and should be well worth slicing into planks and drying a year or two for furniture.

Pasadena, CA

-- yankee2

View lew's profile


11263 posts in 3173 days

#15 posted 05-01-2009 08:36 PM

Oh My, Blake- This stuff will make you swell up and look like a stomped on toad frog! You should immediately pack it in plastic and send it to me!! ;^)

Nice Score

-- Lew- Time traveler. Purveyor of the Universe's finest custom rolling pins.

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