Leadwood - Prosono international



High-quality leadwood for sale

Leadwood is a strong, heavy and very dense African hardwood.

It is sought after by wood carvers and turners for its strength, stability (it holds details well) and lustre, once finely sanded.

ProSono supplies leadwood turning squares, leadwood bowl blanks and leadwood for musical instruments.

Our leadwood is popular for making items such as leadwood knife handles, smoking pipes, salad bowls and ornaments. It has also found acceptance, to a limited extent, for guitar back and sides and bagpipes.

Because leadwood is very hard, it is tricky to cut and plane. However, it turns well, has a fine grain and provides a beautiful glossy finish.

When thoroughly sanded leadwood parts become black brown, the colour typical of the African blackwood.

Leadwood characteristics

  • Botanical name: Combretum imberbe
  • Alternative names: leadwood
  • Average dry weight: 76 lb/ft3 (imperial); 1220 kg/m3 (metric)
  • Leadwood hardness: 3,570 lbf (15,880 N) on the Janka scale
  • Variegated with figured grain pattern


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

“I received through my friend the turning blanks. Let me tell you that the quality is outstanding! I look forward to doing additional business with your company.”

~ Pedro Jorge

About leadwood

Botanical name Combretum imberbe
Family Combretaceae
Local name Hardekool
English name Leadwood
Distribution From Tanzania in the north to KwaZulu-Natal in the south
The tree Semi-deciduous, the leadwood tree grows to a height from 7 to 15 metres, sometimes in shrub. It grows in open woodland of all types. Leadwood bark is pale grey and cracked in rectangular shapes. Leadwood is a protected species in South Africa. Leadwood harvesting is subject to permits.
The wood Leadwood is hard, heavy and greyish to black. The sapwood is yellow. Leadwood density is 1.2 t/m3 when air-dried.
Seasoning The wood dries fairly quickly – if stacked properly, in approximately four months.
Workability The wood is stable. It is hard to saw because of its silica content and blunts tools quickly. The wood is therefore cut in stages – first broken down into slabs on a band saw with a flexible thin blade and then cut into parts with tungsten-tipped blades.

Leadwood turns well. It is fairly fine grained and when polished, provides a glass-like surface.

Uses Historically, leadwood was used for agricultural implements, fence posts, railway sleeper and mine prop. It has also been extensively harvested as firewood, explaining its protected status.

Today, it is popular with turners and knife makers. Because of its stability and ease of turning, it has also found application for highland bagpipes and guitar back and sides.

leadwood tree
leadwood knife handle
leadwood peppermill

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