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NAMM Show Report

Wenge

Also known as bokonge, awoung, and mibotu, and several other names, wenge is timber from a species of tree called Millettia laurentil. The natural range of this species is reportedly the open forests of Zaire, Cameroon, Gabon, Tanzania, and Mozambique. It also grows in the swampy forests of the Congo region. Despite the apparent security of habitat, this species is officially classified as extinct, endangered, vulnerable, or rare, depending upon which country you talk to. In any case, harvesting of this expensive timber is very limited, mainly because of price, making its use in building instruments quite unusual. The heartwood of wenge is dark brown with fine, closely spaced grain that ranges from almost black to nearly white, making it a highly desirable timber. Exposure to light and air lightens the color and so importers sometimes request the lumber be left outside in the sun to hasten this process.

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