Wenge - toxicity

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Forum topic by McFly posted 03-06-2016 01:39 PM 1030 views 0 times favorited 9 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View McFly's profile


273 posts in 1205 days

03-06-2016 01:39 PM

Topic tags/keywords: wenge

I’ve been making cuttingboards for awhile and recently had some wenge fall into my lap. I’ve heard all sorts of opinions on wenge ranging from “it’ll kill you for looking at it sideways” to “quit being such a nancy and have at it!”.

What say the LJ’s, is this stuff really as toxic as I’ve been led to believe?

9 replies so far

View lateralus819's profile


2241 posts in 2067 days

#1 posted 03-06-2016 02:03 PM

I think toxicity to wood varies widely by person. I could be wrong but I’ve used all kinds of exotics and I’ve had no ill side effects. Especially wenge or bloodwood which some say can be toxic.

I use Wenge a lot. No problems so far.

Beautiful stuff. It can be finicky to work with sometimes. I usually try and snag the QS stuff. Beautiful grain. Seems squirly sometimes. High angle planes help.

View ellen35's profile


2738 posts in 3610 days

#2 posted 03-06-2016 02:16 PM

Same here. No problems with cutting board accents in wenge. Making a cutting board out of wenge only would get pretty expensive!

-- "Don't let the perfect be the enemy of the good." Voltaire

View conifur's profile


955 posts in 1329 days

#3 posted 03-06-2016 02:46 PM

Wenge irritant, sensitizer, splinters go septic, nervous system effects, abdominal cramps

-- Knowledge and experience equals Wisdom, Michael Frankowski

View bondogaposis's profile


5056 posts in 2529 days

#4 posted 03-06-2016 02:54 PM

I’m allergic to cocobolo, but I’ve never had a problem with wenge.

-- Bondo Gaposis

View JBrow's profile


1366 posts in 1098 days

#5 posted 03-06-2016 03:11 PM


Tropical and exotic woods tend to be more “hazardous” than other domestic woods. When I built some countertops with bloodwood, I took a few extra precautions.

These included, using dust collection on all milling operations. I used the shop vac with a HEPA filter to keep any dust that escaped the duct collector off of shop surfaces. . I wore a hat and long sleeves. I dusted myself off as best I could (including using the shop vac) before entering the house and I washed my hands and face when I was done for the day. I wore a NIOSH 95 dust mask and gloves kept the bloodwood away from my body. Of course wearing gloves during some milling operations is unsafe, so I took them off for these. When I completed the project, I emptied the dust collector bin and the shop vac to keep the bloodwood from mixing with dust over which I have less concern.

Were these precautions overkill? Probably, but I do not know. I developed no reactions to the bloodwood. This is because I am just not sensitive to bloodwood or the precautions kept me safe. Even if I am not sensitive to bloodwood, if I were to use it a lot I could develop sensitivity to it and who knows, that sensitivity could even then develop toward domestic hardwoods.

View JAAune's profile


1846 posts in 2494 days

#6 posted 03-06-2016 07:39 PM

Wenge is listed as having splinters that go septic. I avoid using it for items that are likely to see constant handling. It doesn’t sound appropriate for cutting boards. No need to gamble with other people’s well-being.

-- See my work at and

View BurlyBob's profile


5937 posts in 2443 days

#7 posted 03-07-2016 02:04 AM

I made several picture frames using some purple heart moldings I got on sale. Caught a sliver of that and talk about a lingering pain. It was like having a wasp or bee sting for several days. I became much more cautious with it after that.

View McFly's profile


273 posts in 1205 days

#8 posted 03-07-2016 02:12 AM

Good advice all around. Doesn’t seem like it’s a poisonous as I once thought, but definitely not “safe”

View Logboy's profile


54 posts in 3407 days

#9 posted 03-07-2016 06:16 AM

Ive had bad luck with splinters. You have to dig them out or they will hurt for days. Its also really hard and brittle. The edges constantly break off.

-- No log is too big to saw!

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