Dark Wood Species | Properties, Pros and Cons

There are many species of dark wood. Some are easily available, but some are very rare and expensive. Most of the owners prefer dark furniture and other interior applications because it gives a warm and comforting look to a room.

Dark wood has rich color, strength, and stability. Which are essential properties for furniture.

What type of wood is dark wood, hardwood, or softwood?

Most dark wood is hardwood. But the wood of softwood species can also be medium-dark. Such as Cedar, Fir, Pine, Rosewood, etc. 

Some Dark Hardwood Species are as Follows.

Ebony Wood

ebony wood sample

Ebony is considered to be the natural darkest wood.  It is native to southern India and Sri Lanka and western Africa. 

Ebony is termite and insect resistant. It is a very durable and stable wood and it is the best wood for making furniture. But it is an expensive and rare species.

Color/Appearance: The heartwood is jet-black and the sapwood is dark brown or grayish-brown. Sometimes streaks may be present.

Uses: Ebony Woods is known for making quality cabinet work, inlays, musical instrument parts, and ornamental objects. 

Workability: Can be difficult to work with hand tools due to their extremely high density.

#Gaboon Ebony
Scientific nameDiospyros crassiflora
Tree Size50-60 ft (15-18 m) tall,  2-3 ft (.6-1 m) trunk diameter.
Average Dried Weight60 lbs/ft3 (955 kg/m3)
Janka Hardness3,080 lbf (13,700 N))
Color/AppearanceJet-black to grayish-brown.
Rot ResistanceResistant to termite attack.
DurabilityVery Durable

Mahogany Wood

Mahogany Wood

Mahogany is widely used to make amazing musical instruments and durable furniture projects. It is native to Central and South America. Mahogany is known for its natural dark color, durability, and density.

Color/Appearance: The heartwood is dark reddish-brown and the sapwood is pinkish brown. Color tends to darken with age.

Uses: Furniture, cabinetry, turned objects, veneers, musical instruments, boatbuilding, and carving.

Workability: Generally very easy to work with tools: machines well. Turns, glues, stains, and finishes well.

#Honduran Mahogany
Scientific nameSwietenia
Tree Size75 feet tall, 50 trunk diameter
Average Dried Weight37 lbs/ft3 (590 kg/m3)
Janka Hardness900 lbf (4,020 N) 
Color/AppearancePinkish brown to reddish-brown.
Rot ResistanceModerately rot resistant
DurabilityExtremely Durable

Walnut Wood

Walnut wood

Walnut (Juglans) is a stable, hard, strong, and durable hardwood. Due to its excellent shock resistance properties, it is widely used for gunstocks.

Walnut is a tree of the genus Juglans (family Juglandaceae). It is native to North and South America, southern Europe, Asia, and the West Indies. The Walnut tree gives nuts in the form of seeds. These nuts are most commonly used as food. 

Color/Appearance: The heartwood is dark chocolate brown with darker brown streaks and the sapwood is lighter pale brown. 

Uses: Furniture, cabinetry, gunstocks, interior paneling, veneer, turned items, and other small wooden objects and novelties.

Workability: It is generally easier to work with hand and machine tools. But sometimes it can be difficult due to irregular grain patterns.

#Black Walnut
Scientific nameJuglans
Tree Size50 feet tall, 30-35  trunk diameter
Average Dried Weight38 lbs/ft3 (610 kg/m3)
Janka Hardness1,010 lbf (4,490 N)
Color/AppearancePale brown to Dark chocolate brown.
Rot ResistanceExtremely Rot-Resistant
DurabilityExtremely Durable

Cocobolo Wood

Cocobolo Wood

Cocobolo is native to Central America. It is strong, durable, stable, and extremely beautiful. But only the heartwood is useful. Its natural oils give it good resistance to degradation from wet/dry cycles.

Color/Appearance: The heartwood is yellow, orange, red, and shades of brown, and the sapwood is pale yellow. 

Uses: Fine furniture, musical instruments, turnings, and other small specialty objects.

Workability: Its workability properties are not good. Due to the high oil content. It can occasionally cause problems with gluing. Its density is very high, so it is difficult to work with.

Scientific nameDalbergia retusa
Tree Size45-60 ft (14-18 m) tall, 1.5-2 ft (50-60 cm) trunk diameter
Average Dried Weight69 lbs/ft3 (1,095 kg/m3)
Janka Hardness2,960 lbf (14,140 N)
Color/Appearanceorange or reddish-brown
Rot ResistanceExtremely Rot-Resistant
DurabilityExtremely Durable

Wenge Wood

wenge wood

Wenge wood is stable, hard, very durable, and has good termite resistance. It is extremely dark and beautiful. 

Wenge is native to the Republic of Congo, Cameroon, Gabon, and Equatorial Guinea. The species is rare and listed as “endangered” on the IUCN Red List. 

Color/Appearance: The heartwood is medium brown to dark brown and the sapwood is reddish or yellowish. 

Uses: Veneer, paneling, furniture, turned objects, and musical instruments.

Workability: Due to the high density. It can occasionally cause problems with hand and machine tools. Large pores can be difficult to fill if they are perfectly smooth and shiny.

Scientific nameMillettia Laurentii
Tree Size60-90 ft (18-27 m) tall,  3-4 ft (1-1.2 m) trunk diameter
Average Dried Weight54 lbs/ft3 (870 kg/m3)
Janka Hardness1,930 lbf (8,600 N)
Color/Appearancemedium brown to reddish with black streaks
Rot ResistanceResistant to termite attack.
DurabilityExtremely Durable

Teak Wood

teak wood sample

Teak is a strong, durable, and stable hardwood. It has excellent rot resistance properties. Teak is suitable for internal and external applications. Teak is native to southern Asia. 

Color/Appearance: The heartwood is golden or medium brown, and the sapwood is creamy white.

Uses: Ship and boat building, veneer, furniture, exterior construction, carving, turnings, and other small decorative objects.

Workability: Easy to work with hand and machine tools. Teak contains a high level of silica (up to 1.4%).

Scientific nameTectona grandis
Tree Size100-130 ft (30-40 m) tall, 3-5 ft (1-1.5 m) trunk diameter
Average Dried Weight41 lbs/ft3 (655 kg/m3)
Janka Hardness1,070 lbf (4,740 N)
Color/Appearancegolden or medium brown
Rot ResistanceRot Resistant.
DurabilityHeartwood is very durable

Dark Wood Pros

  1. Dark wood absorbs sunlight, so dark-colored floors look better for a long time. 
  2. Dark wood looks more attractive compared to light wood.
  3. Most of the dark hardwoods are more durable and rot-resistant.
  4. Dark wood gives your furniture a visually stunning appeal.

Dark Wood Cons

  1. Dark wood is difficult to stain.
  2. Generally, dark wood is expensive.
  3. Scratches are usually more visible in dark wood.

Tips for Dark wood

  1. Avoid chemical detergents for cleaning and use a good quality hardwood cleaner.
  2. Use a quality vacuum cleaner.
  3. Use furniture leg pads to avoid dents and scratches.
  4. Do not soak your floors with water.