African Blackwood (Dalbergia melanoxylon)
Difficult to source
When they called it Blackwood, they weren’t kidding. This timber is often completely black with next to no discernible grain. The sapwood is a pale-yellow colour and is usually very thin.
This wood is not for the faint of heart. It is difficult to work with both hand tools or machines and has an extreme blunting effect on edge tools.
It is a great wood for turning because it takes fine detail well and can even hold threads. Often used to make clarinet and oboe bodies, it is typically worked on with metal working equipment because of its hardness.
African Blackwood is an extremely expensive wood that is getting more and more difficult to find. This is chiefly because it is part of the genus-wide restriction on CITES appendix II.