So named for its significant weight and density, this South African wood is seldom seen in the US in lumber form. Its heartwood is a robust medium to dark brown (sometimes with a reddish tint), and is known to darken with age; sapwood is pale yellow. Grains are straight or irregular, and knots are not uncommon. Its texture is fine and consistent, and it displays a pleasant natural luster after fine sanding.
Leadwood is an excellent wood for any outdoor applications where strength, insect resistance and durability are required. Its tremendous density makes it difficult to plane and hard on cutting tools and saw blades — and its high natural oil content can make it difficult to glue — but its tightly uniform, fine grains allows it to turn, sand and finish beautifully.
Sustainability: Not currently listed in the CITES Appendices or on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.
Common Uses: Carvings, furniture, turned objects, fuelwood and miscellaneous small specialty items.
Comments: In its native Africa, Leadwood is commonly used as fuelwood, as it burns slowly and at very high temperatures. It is popular with carvers familiar with it: its color and texture are fairly consistent, it turns superbly, has excellent stability and its great density holds details well. It is said that before metal products were introduced, Africans made their tilling hoes from this lumber.