Acacia Melanoxylon is also known as Australian Blackwood and is native to eastern Australia. It has been introduced to many countries for forestry plantings and as ornamental trees. It is present in Africa, Asia, Europe, South America and the United states. It was introduced to South Africa in the 19th centur yand is known locally as Knysna Blackwood. Blackwood grows prolifically in the Cape forests. It is classified as an invasive species but is allowed to reach adulthood and sold at auctions of local timber species.
It is an upright tree growing up to 30m tall. The bark on older trunks is dark greyish-black, deeply fissured and scaly.
Blackwood varies in colour from creamy-yellow through red-brown to dark brown. Sapwood may range in colour from straw to grey-white with clear demarcation from the heartwood. The heartwood is golden to dark brown. The timber is generally straight grained but may be wavy or interlocked. The wood is lustrous and possesses a fine texture.
The name of the wood may refer to dark stains on the hands of woodworkers, caused by the high levels of tannin in the timber.
Seasoning and movement
The timber dries well when dried very slowly. It seasons easily with some possible cupping when boards are inadequately restrained. The timber produces very little movement once seasoned.
The heartwood is believed to be very durable.
Working and finishing properties
Blackwood is moderately blunting to work with tools and bends well. It may be nailed or screwed with ease, but gluing may produce variable results. The wood may be stained easily and produces a high quality finish.
The wood is good for many uses including wood panels, furniture, fine cabinetry, tools, boats and inlays. It is of about the same quality as walnut and is well suited for shaping with steam.