Gluing and/or finishing Wenge is also difficult because of the presence of resin cells.  The use of filler is said to increase the acceptability of the results markedly, but bear in mind that the very large pores are difficult to fill if you are aiming for a perfectly smooth or level finish.

As a final disincentive, Wenge has a bitter, although slight, scent when freshly worked or cut.

Be wary when handling unfinished wood because its brittle nature lends itself to splinters that often rapidly become infected.

Other than all that, have a great time working with Wenge!

Pricing and Availability

Wenge is generally available as wide boards as well as in veneer formats.  Very occasionally turning blanks larger than pen blank size will be available.  However, Wenge is extremely expensive and it is only expected to increase in price as supplies in the wild diminish steadily.

In this blog, I always recommend several vendors with whom I have done considerable business and in whom I have great confidence.  These vendors are: West Penn Hardwoods, Bell Forest Products, NC Wood, Got Wood?, and WoodTurningz.

Of these fine vendors, West Penn Hardwoods, Bell Forest Products, and WoodTurningz currently stock various forms of Wenge.

West Penn Hardwoods does not have any Wenge bowl blanks at this time, but they do have spindle blanks, including pen blanks, and lumber.  Pen blanks are $2.00 when you buy 10 minimum and lumber is $15.75/bf.  Bell Forest Products stocks lumber ($16.90/bf) as well as a wide range of turning blanks, mostly smaller spindle sizes, but also an impressive 8”x8”x3” bowl blank selling for $59.  Finally WoodTurningz offers three sizes of Wenge, ranging from pen blank through 3”x3”x12” spindle for $19.95 to a smallish 6”x6”x2” bowl blank for $17.50

As to which vendor would be best I can’t say, but I would suggest that an interested buyer look at all the options, consider shipping distances and prices, as well as other items that might be of interest from any one seller before selecting a vendor.  I’ve had excellent experiences will all of these vendors and would feel confident purchasing Wenge from any of them.

Woodfinder is an excellent website that is dedicated to advertising wood dealers.  In your search for Wenge, this can be an invaluable resource provided you use multiple search terms to capture all the possible listings.  I can’t speak to the quality of any of the listed dealers, but Woodfinder does have the advantage of allowing searches to be performed based on location which might allow an interested buyer to visit a listed wood dealer in person to hand pick pieces at a comfortable price.

A significant problem with using Woodfinder is that many vendors are listed for woods that, upon further investigation, they do not offer.  I don’t know if perhaps once they did and they didn’t update their listings or if some vendors use a standardized list of woods that include most everything conceivable with the idea that once you land on their page you will find something you want to buy even if you didn’t know it beforehand.  It happens to me all the time!


The common uses for Wenge depend entirely on where in the world you are.  For example, in its native range, Wenge finds use in heavy flooring, heavy construction, mine props, vehicle bodies, implements, boxes, and crates.  Wenge is also popular for the production of sculptures, masks and drums.

The extremely high price and relative scarcity of Wenge would prohibit its use for such purposes in the western world.

In the western world, Wenge finds uses more typical of an expensive imported exotic hardwood.  Such uses include, but are likely not limited to: interior and exterior joinery, interior and exterior paneling, cabinet work, decorative furniture, sporting goods, toys, novelties, railway sleepers, carving, turnery and sliced veneer.  Wenge tends to be in high demand for decorative furniture and parquet flooring. It is also used for high-quality musical instruments, especially guitars and some drum sets, for which it is said to give a good and strong tone.