Dark Wood Species | Properties, Pros and Cons

There are many species of dark wood. Some are easily available but some are rare and expensive. Most of the owners prefer dark to make furniture and other interior applications. Dark wood has a 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

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

Ebony is termites and insect resistant. It is a very durable and stable wood and it is the best wood for making furniture. 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, inlaying, 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.
TypeHardwood
DurabilityVery Durable

Mahogany

Mahogany is widely used to make amazing musical instruments and durable furniture projects. It isnative to Central and South American. 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
TypeHardwood
DurabilityExtremely Durable

Walnut

Walnut (Juglans) is a tree of the genus Juglans (family Juglandaceae). It is native to North and South America, southern Europe, Asia, and the West Indies. 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
TypeHardwood
DurabilityExtremely Durable

Cocobolo

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 degrade 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.

#Cocobolo
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
TypeHardwood
DurabilityExtremely Durable

Wenge

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

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.

#Wenge
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.
TypeHardwood
DurabilityExtremely Durable

Teak

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

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%). So that sometimes cutting can be difficult.

#Teak
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.
TypeHardwood
Durabilityheartwood is very durable

Pros Of Dark Wood

Dark wood absorbs sunlight, so dark-colored floors look better for a long time. 

Dark wood looks more attractive compared to light wood.

Most of the dark hardwoods are more durable and rot-resistant.

Dark wood gives your furniture a visually stunning appeal.

Cons of Dark Wood

Dark wood is difficult to stain.

Generally Dark wood is expensive.

Scratches are usually more visible in the dark wood. 

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