What is this wood?

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Forum topic by Dark_Lightning posted 12-07-2013 02:09 AM 859 views 0 times favorited 16 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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1723 posts in 1767 days

12-07-2013 02:09 AM

My neighbor gave me this board that he didn’t want. It weighs 76.5 Lb/Cu Ft. According to what I can find online, it is either lignum vitae or ebony. I don’t think it is ebony, because all the ebony I have doesn’t have the ability to shoot a splinter into you just by looking at it, like a porcupine. Seriously, if you pick it up and don’t have a good grip, you will get a splinter. The guy that gave it to him uses it for gates, (or so I’m told) but you’d better have a 12”X12” gatepost to hold up a real gate. Nice color, I have some uses for it. Any ideas as to the species?

16 replies so far

View waho6o9's profile


4945 posts in 1235 days

#1 posted 12-07-2013 02:13 AM

Wenge splinters like crazy as well.

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1723 posts in 1767 days

#2 posted 12-07-2013 02:59 AM

You may be right, although it doesn’t look like any wenge I’ve ever had. Splinters seem to be a way of life for this stick, so first proposition agrees. We’ll see.

View bigblockyeti's profile


1556 posts in 379 days

#3 posted 12-07-2013 03:08 AM

Lignum vitae is quite oily, so much in fact that it’s used almost exclusively for bearings. That piece looks too big to be from a lignum tree also.

View ShaneA's profile


5306 posts in 1257 days

#4 posted 12-07-2013 03:28 AM

Ipe is around that color and is heavy, the splinters don’t seem to be a quality of Ipe however.

View Handtooler's profile


1085 posts in 791 days

#5 posted 12-07-2013 03:38 AM

If you believe it was harvested in the USA, could you possibility consider Black or Honey Locus? That wood is often used for fence posts and gates because of its impermnability to weather. It’s also very heavy and the older it gets the harder it gets like iron wood.

-- Russell Pitner Hixson, TN 37343

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238 posts in 1236 days

#6 posted 12-07-2013 03:44 AM

you have either lignum vitae, african blackwood, snakewood, or kingwood. Only woods that are that heavy. Locusts are only 40ish lbs per cubic ft.

View richardwootton's profile


1259 posts in 614 days

#7 posted 12-07-2013 03:45 AM

Some better pictures might be helpful, maybe with a little better lighting. It’s really hard to distinguish the grain pattern on this. I guess it could be my phone’s browser, but it couldn’t hurt to try.

-- Richard, Hot Springs, Ar -- Galoot In Training

View Loren's profile (online now)


7580 posts in 2306 days

#8 posted 12-07-2013 03:48 AM

Lignum Vitae sinks in water but I do not think it is splintery…
maybe Wenge or something like that… or some other trendy
exotic with uniform grain and color architects like to specify
for high end work.


View Tony_S's profile


428 posts in 1741 days

#9 posted 12-07-2013 10:37 AM

Definitely need better pictures. It looks like a black line in a box on my monitor.

-- "The trouble with people idiot-proofing things, is the resulting evolution of the idiot."

View Dark_Lightning's profile


1723 posts in 1767 days

#10 posted 12-07-2013 01:17 PM

Yeah, my cheap camera is a problem. Here are better pictures with my wife’s camera. I think it was from South America. And this board is bone dry, not oily at all.

View Wolfdaddy's profile


259 posts in 493 days

#11 posted 12-07-2013 03:30 PM

Looks sortof like ipe to me. I have experienced ipe splinters…they can be pretty nasty.

-- Your failures do not take away your possibilities.

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1723 posts in 1767 days

#12 posted 12-07-2013 04:07 PM

Looks like it’s ipe. I went to the wood data base, and it’s a real good match. Thanks, all!

I’ll save that URL for future reference.

I’m not going to build a deck with one board, so I’ll have to figure out something else for it.

View REO's profile


614 posts in 732 days

#13 posted 12-07-2013 08:19 PM

looks like ebony to me.

View mporter's profile


238 posts in 1236 days

#14 posted 12-07-2013 11:11 PM

it is 100% african blackwood.

View mantwi's profile


312 posts in 555 days

#15 posted 12-07-2013 11:24 PM

Ipe is very heavy, so heavy it sinks when put in water but the color doesn’t look right. Of course I’ve not seen everything so this may be a different part of the tree than what I have used. Here’s another characteristic of Ipe that might help. When burned it is reduced to a very fine ash, we’re talking as fine as flower. When building docks we use the scrap for firewood, it burns so completely there are no cinders left just dust. If you can bring yourself to sacrifice a couple of inches try it out. I’ve never seen any wood that burns so completely before.

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