African Blackwood - Prosono international

African Blackwood

African blackwood clarinet

High-quality African Blackwood for sale

African blackwood, also commonly called grenadilla wood or mopingo wood, is regarded as one of the world’s finest woods for turning. It’s exceptionally hard and stable, and has a lustrous dark finish.

Subject to restricted supply, we offer African blackwood blocks and scales cut to required dimensions. This includes African blackwood tonewood for musical instruments; African blackwood for bracelets and other jewellery; African blackwood knife scales; and African blackwood pen blanks.

African blackwood characteristics

  • Botanical name: Dalbergia melanoxylon
  • Alternative names: mpingo wood, grenadilla wood, pau-preto
  • Average dry weight: 79 lb/ft3 (imperial); 1,270 kg/m3 (metric)
  • African blackwood hardness: 3,670 lbf (16,320 N) on the Janka scale
  • Extremely dense, with even grain pattern


Woodwind Instruments
Woodwind instruments
Stringed instruments
Stringed instruments
Fine joinery
Fine joinery
ABW knife handle
Knife handles

“The very best African Blackwood we received since 1956, when we started to keep records!”

~ Verne Q. Powell Flutes Inc., USA

African Blackwood musical grade parts we endeavour to keep in stock

For woodwinds
African blackwood clarinet sets Bells
85/85 x 45/45 x 125
Lower joint
36 x 36 x 320 or 36 x 36 x 285
Upper joint
36 x 36 x 245 or 36 x 36 x 230
51 x 51 x 80 or 47 x 47 x 80 or still 40 x 40 x 80
African blackwood for bass clarinets

47 x 47 x 760 and 47 x 47 x 460 or

47 x 47 x 700 and 47 x 47 x 550

African blackwood alto for clarinets 40 x 40 x 410
African blackwood for oboes Bells
65 x 65 x 150 or 60 X 60 x 140
40 x 40 x 285 or 36 x 36 x 270 or still 32 x 32 x 265
African blackwood for English horns Bells
70 x 70 x 140
40 x 40 x 400
African blackwood for flutes

33 x 33 x 380 or 33 x 33 x 330 or still 33 x 33 x 265

30 x 30 x 510 or 30 x 30 x 410 or still 30 x 30 x 325 and 30 x 30 x 300

28 x 28 x 400 or 28 x 28 x 285 or still 28 x 28 x 270

African blackwood for piccolos 28 x 28 x 250 + 30 x 30 x 150
African blackwood for Highland bagpipes

(HBPs) 14 blanks of 11 different sizes, representing a total of 6.555 dm3

1 X 54 x 54 x 305 + 2 X 51 x 51 x 205 + 1 X 40 x 40 x 385 + 1 X 47 x 47 x 310 + 1 X 47 x 47 x 195 + 2 X 47 x 47 x 160 + 1 X 47 x 47 x 125 + 1 X 47 x 47 x 115 + 1 X 40 x 40 x 310 + 2 X 40 x 40 x 245 + 1 X 40 x 40 x 220

For the Uilleann pipes (Irish pipes) , English pipes, Gaitas (Spanish pipe), Bombarde (French pipe), the section on Folkloric instruments provides the exact dimensions.
African blackwood for stringed instruments
Jumbo Back: 2 X 560 x 210 x 5 + Sides: 2 X 830 x 130 x 4
Classic Back: 2 X 530 x 190 x 5 + Sides: 2 X 760 x 110 x 4
Modern Back: 4 X 530 x 95 x 5 + Sides: 2 X 760 x 110 x 4

About African Blackwood

Botanical name Dalbergia melanoxylon
Family Leguminosae
Local names mpingo, pau preto
English name African blackwood
Distribution The African blackwood tree is widely distributed in a triangle spanning from South Sudan to Angola to the Eastern Cape in South Africa.
The tree It grows as a bush in most places and, in only a few regions, as a sizeable tree – measuring up to 9 meters (30ft.) in height and 30 cm (12 in.) in diameter, or larger. Experts relate this fact to the behaviour of fauna more than to competition from flora.
The wood The heartwood is dark brown with black streaks. This colour usually predominates so that the general effect is nearly black. The narrow sapwood is light yellow and clearly defined. The wood is exceptionally hard and heavy, with a density ab.1.35 t/m3, (79 lb/ft3). The texture is fine and even.
Seasoning It dries very slowly and tends to split during drying, especially in log form. The application of wax or paint on both log ends is advisable to minimise splitting.
Workability It is extremely hard to cut and process. The use of tungsten carbide tools is required.
Use African blackwood is extremely hard and heavy. Makers of woodwind musical instruments prefer it to ebony because of its fine tonal and acoustic features, stability and resistance to saliva. It is also recognised because of its constant density as the best hardwood for ornamentals and turnery of cues, walking sticks, bobbins, butts of sport weapons, cutlery, knives, technical items, pins, spindles, tools and drumsticks.

Restrictions on African blackwood supply

In 2017, Dalbergia melanoxylon was added to the Convention of International Trade for Endangered Species (CITES) Appendix II. Trade in this wood is now controlled and subject to certification.

We respect and comply with these restrictions. Accordingly, our supply of African blackwood is significantly smaller than in the past.

We expect demand for our stock of dried parts to exceed capacity. Worldwide, scarcity is likely to impact African blackwood prices.

Increasingly, we recommend mopane wood as an outstanding (and sustainable) alternative to African blackwood for musical instruments.

African blackwood vs. ebony

African blackwood is denser than ebony and has slightly higher oil content. It typically has a warmer colour, with more of the grain showing.

Makers of woodwind musical instruments prefer it to ebony because of its fine tonal and acoustic features, stability and resistance to saliva.

African Blackwood
harvesting African blackwood
African Blackwood
transporting wood Tanzania
African Blackwood

Get in touch