Griffin Exotic Wood

Click here for more photos of bare wood
African Blackwood
(dalbergia melanoxylon)

African Blackwood grows in Africa, and most of our stock comes from Tanzania where it is called Mpingo.  It mostly grows as a small bush, making harvest of good pieces very difficult.  Sometimes it does grow in a tree form.  It is a true rosewood.  It is the classic wood of choice for bagpipes, clarinets and other musical instruments.  The wood has a natural resistance to saliva (which ebony does not) and the grain is very fine.  It is one of the world's finest turning woods and takes the finest details, making it also one of the best for ornamental turning.  The specific gravity is between 1.0 and 1.2, with a dry weight around 78 pounds per cubic foot.  African blackwood is not really black, but ranges from dark violet to brownish.  If you need a very black wood, please select AA grade ebony. Note that the grading system is not about color but how free of defects the wood is.  If you have very specific expectations, be certain to email us for detailed information.
Environmental Note: for those like us who are concerned about environmental impact of wood use:    Consider making a gift to the African Blackwood Project which is working to plant more of these trees.  Click here to visit that website.

Grading system:  Click here to see sample photo of bare wood in different grades
IQ=Instrument quality. The wood has no visible defects of any kind and is at least partially air dried (PAD).  Grain that is not straight may be present but no knots/round swirls .  Color varies.
IQ2= 2nd instrument quality.  These pieces didn't make IQ grade, due to a minor defect such as a small sapwood area, or some figure or tiny knot. Many vendors sell this grade as instrument grade.
IQ3= 3rd instrument quality.  These pieces didn't make IQ2 grade, due to a minor defect such as pin holes and/or a tiny hairline check. Most vendors sell this as IQ2 grade.
TG=Turning grade (usually not marked).   This wood may have knots,   sapwood, etc.   Tiny rot areas and tiny hairline checks as well as internal defects possible--if you need a perfect piece, please get a higher grade. Usually just fine for turning, sometimes needing superglue repairs in small areas.

unless specified otherwise.



Exotic Wood Chart

Biblical woods

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African Blackwood pen blank 3/4 x 3/4 x 5 - 5.25 inches

Price: $2.60

African Blackwood 1 x 1 x 12 inches IQ2

Price: $12.50


Note: we do have some musical grade squares not listed, email us for specifics

Note: In January 2017 this wood went on the CITES list, which means we cannot export it from the USA.

Order online, or call us Monday through Friday 970-241-2827
International callers and all questions: Email us

Note that everything on this page (photos too!) are copyrighted and may not be used
without written permission.  Copyright 2006, 2013, 2020 by James Griffin.  If you are a customer
and want to use some of our photos on your website, call or email us with your request.