Working with Wenge

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Forum topic by TheWoodenOyster posted 09-20-2013 02:57 AM 3499 views 0 times favorited 7 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View TheWoodenOyster's profile


1273 posts in 1177 days

09-20-2013 02:57 AM

Topic tags/keywords: wenge

Hey guys,

I am doing a project this weekend with some wenge. I know it can be pretty nasty stuff to work with, so I figured I would ask some more seasoned LJ’s for some tips.

How bad is the dust?
How bad are the splinters?
How does it machine?
How does it treat hand tools?
Any other tips?


-- The Wood Is Your Oyster

7 replies so far

View MarkSr's profile


215 posts in 1293 days

#1 posted 09-20-2013 03:48 AM

TheWoodenOyster, not much of help, but what is “wenge”. I’m new at this too, but I have never heard of it.

-- Mark, ”...NEWBEE: On the road to learning a lot; but; a lot more to learn…” ("My Granddad used to tell me, if you didn't learn something new today, it just wasn't worth getting out of bed")

View mbs's profile


1597 posts in 2182 days

#2 posted 09-20-2013 04:28 AM

I had the same concerns. Recently finished some end tables.

Dust is very bad. Use a good dust collector and wear a mask.

It’s not hard to cut with a good blade/bits but it is not easy to work with hand tools. Wenge is slow to sand.

It splinters easily.

Handle it as little as possible to minimize splintering.

It’s beautiful when finished.

-- Sorry the reply is so long. I didn't have time to write a short reply.

View BigYin's profile


296 posts in 1659 days

#3 posted 09-20-2013 04:34 AM

Wear a mask for dust. Wear gloves for splinters.
Ifyou have dust filtration and/or dust collection use them.
Sawdust and shavings have never caused me problems but suggest you clean up as you go.
Do not have sharp finished edges that may allow splinters.
Apply a coat of oil to make grain pop.

-- ... Never Apologise For Being Right ...

View TheWoodenOyster's profile


1273 posts in 1177 days

#4 posted 09-20-2013 11:52 AM

Thanks for the info guys.

MarkSr – wenge is a very dark, almost black African wood. It is a coarse wood and though it can finish well, it is pretty hard to handle. But, you do get the “ebony” coloring without paying as high of a price. The reason I asked about the health issues is because it is pretty well known as one of the most unfriendly woods to work with. The splinters go septic, the dust is nasty, and from my 3 minute handplane session, I can tell you that the shavings smell like a dumpster fire.

-- The Wood Is Your Oyster

View BTimmons's profile


2291 posts in 1727 days

#5 posted 09-20-2013 03:19 PM

The add on to what TheWoodenOyster said:

When he says that splinters can go septic, that deserves extra emphasis. Sepsis means contracting blood poisoning, which can be hard to treat and is sometimes fatal.


It’s beautiful wood, but that stuff can kill you if you’re not careful.

-- Brian Timmons -

View TheWoodenOyster's profile


1273 posts in 1177 days

#6 posted 09-20-2013 06:01 PM


You are kind of freaking me out a little bit. I mean, I figured they were worse than most splinters. I don’t really want to die making a croquet mallet though. Should I think twice before I start messing with this stuff? It sounds like VX nerve gas to me…

-- The Wood Is Your Oyster

View darinS's profile


660 posts in 2110 days

#7 posted 09-20-2013 06:14 PM

This might give a little more information

-- Rule 28: When you need help, ask.

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