Wenge wood is a dense, durable hardwood from central West Africa that is used in flooring, furniture, cabinetry and wood carving. The grain is straight with the coarse look of bamboo slivers. The color is dark brown with streaks that resemble animal claw marks and lighter patterns that are wavy.
Working with wenge wood may be challenging due to its hardness that resists bending and a coarse grain that splinters easily. The bark of many of the 40 species of this tree is ground up into powder and used to numb fish for easy harvesting. These toxins may also cause gastrointestinal distress, skin and breathing problems.