Author Topic: Wenge for furniture  (Read 3366 times)

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Offline thixson

  • Posts: 4
Wenge for furniture
« on: April 15, 2017, 02:15 PM »
I am getting ready to build a decorative chest of drawers and was going to use wenge for stiles and rails but I am concerned about its propensity to splinter. Has anyone else used wenge for a piece of furniture and did it perform ok?
Thanks


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Offline HarveyWildes

  • Posts: 522
Re: Wenge for furniture
« Reply #1 on: April 15, 2017, 04:44 PM »
I am getting ready to build a decorative chest of drawers and was going to use wenge for stiles and rails but I am concerned about its propensity to splinter. Has anyone else used wenge for a piece of furniture and did it perform ok?

I've worked with it a couple of times, and am not particularly fond of it.  Like any wood that splinters, make sure that you back up your cuts and take other precautions.  Beware that the splinters are very prone to infections.

Offline bnaboatbuilder

  • Posts: 139
Re: Wenge for furniture
« Reply #2 on: April 15, 2017, 05:02 PM »
Never have had an issue with wenge. Cuts/machines fine.
- John

Offline thixson

  • Posts: 4
Re: Wenge for furniture
« Reply #3 on: April 15, 2017, 05:03 PM »
I am getting ready to build a decorative chest of drawers and was going to use wenge for stiles and rails but I am concerned about its propensity to splinter. Has anyone else used wenge for a piece of furniture and did it perform ok?

I've worked with it a couple of times, and am not particularly fond of it.  Like any wood that splinters, make sure that you back up your cuts and take other precautions.  Beware that the splinters are very prone to infections.
Thanks Harvey, I just may set it aside and do it with cherry and walnut instead. Last thing I need is worrying about grand kids getting splinters.


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Offline Dovetail65

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Re: Wenge for furniture
« Reply #4 on: April 15, 2017, 05:44 PM »
If you want a jet black no grain look there is nothing better than quarter sawn Wenge. I call it poor mans ebony. I wouldn't be afraid to use Wenge at all, just choose it carefully.

Yes, if you don't use pristine pieces, especially the flat sawn, Wenge does splinter. But the benefits outweigh the drawbacks if that is the  look you are going for. I never use nor care for the flat sawn Wenge, but tight grain Quarter Sawn Wenge I use everyday. I don't like the cathedral grain on Wenge and over time those large arch grains can turn light. Now if that's the look called for go for it.

It is harder and harder to get really dark walnut. So I use walnut for figure only now. As regular old plain Walnut is general brown, even ugly, these days and turns grey over time. So either choose highly figured or quarter Sawn walnut (if you can find it) and as dark as you can find. I spend so much time choosing Walnut now, 25 years ago it was all good. Now it takes me hours to sort through. And avoid the steamed Walnut, it looks weird to me. If you want a blacker color as an accent, especially for less wide surfaces or smaller parts and want it to really pop against a lighter wood I highly suggest Wenge. If you want figured iridescent look then go Figured Walnut.

And remember for "use" furniture Wenge is way harder than Oak and Walnut is as soft as Cherry. Walnut and Cherry are nice and some of my favorites, but I expect down the lines there will  be dents, etc.  Cherry and Walnut are great for cabinet faces, small boxes drawer faces etc and furniture not abused.  A LOT of cherry cabinets have that worn look and its perfect for that as its going to happen anyhow. I do use cherry and walnut for floor inlays, but I always warn the client if there is a rock in a shoe and it's dragged across or the cherry or walnut or if a person wears thin, hard, high heels these woods are going to get dented, 100%.
« Last Edit: April 15, 2017, 05:55 PM by Dovetail65 »
The one who says it can't be done should avoid interrupting the person doing it.

Offline thixson

  • Posts: 4
Re: Wenge for furniture
« Reply #5 on: April 15, 2017, 06:32 PM »
Thanks Dovetail, I have two large prices of straight grain Wenge 8/4 x 6 - 8' long that are gorgeous. I was hoping the finish would take care of the splinter issue. I just need to make a decision and do it I guess.


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Offline thixson

  • Posts: 4
Re: Wenge for furniture
« Reply #6 on: April 15, 2017, 07:07 PM »
Never have had an issue with wenge. Cuts/machines fine.
Thanks bnaboatbuilder, that keeps me from spending more money


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Offline ear3

  • Posts: 3208
Re: Wenge for furniture
« Reply #7 on: April 20, 2017, 08:14 AM »
I had my first experience with wenge splintering a few months ago.  Once you sand and finish it it's ok, but in its raw state at the lumber yard, those splinters are incredibly insidious.  I made the mistake of handling it without gloves, and my hands paid the price for several days.  You don't notice them going in, but man, you realize what you've done by the end of the day when you see all those little red marks on your palms starting to swell.
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Offline GravyBones

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Re: Wenge for furniture
« Reply #8 on: September 07, 2017, 12:56 AM »
Wedge is awesome. Mill it carefully and take your time. Enjoy working a fine wood like wedge. I can get dark figured black walnut all day long here in Ohio cheaply. But I long for wedge. Too expensive for just any old piece. Enjoy using wedge to make a true Heirloom piece to be passed down to generations.
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