Panga Panga
Common Name:Panga Panga
Scientific Name:Millettia stuhlmannii
Distribution:Eastern Africa
Tree Size:60-90 ft (18-27 m) tall, 3-4 ft (1-1.2 m) trunk diameter
Average Dried Weight:54 lbs/ft3 (870 kg/m3)
Janka Hardness:1,640 lbf (7,310 N)
General Description
The heartwood is a very dark brown with black streaks, and in this respect it can be indistinguishable from Wenge. Care must be taken when applying a finish because some products, particularly those with an oil base, can cause the wood to become nearly black, which might be the goal is using this wood, as some do, as a substitute for Ebony. In general, Panga Panga features a straight grain but a very coarse texture. Panga Panga also has very large pores. The presence of these pores can be problematic is the user is seeking to achieve a perfectly smooth or leveled finish. Heartwood is a very dark brown with black streaks. Upon application of a wood finish (particularly an oil-finish) the wood can become nearly black. Has a straight grain and a coarse texture. Panga Panga also has very large pores that can present a challenge to fill if a perfectly smooth/leveled finish is desired. Panga Panga is very similar in working properties and appearance to Wenge, and it’s not uncommon for the two species to be used and mixed interchangeably.
Panga Panga is not listed with either the Convention in International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) Appendices or the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) as being threatened or endangered, but that doesn’t mean that conservation and good forestry practices shouldn’t be of overall concern when working with or purchasing any species. One source from South Africa, where Panga Panga is quite rare, report that stocks of the Panga Panga trees are in danger of serious depletion in Zimbabwe, Mozambique and Tanzania due the commercial success of the wood. This wood species is not listed in the CITES Appendices or on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.
Market Value and usage
Panga Panga is not a wood commonly offered by dealers in the United States. Care must be taken if you are determined to use actual Panga Panga as some dealers will offer Wenge and Panga Panga interchangeably. This shouldn’t present a problem for most users as the woods look and behave virtually identically. Tends to be on the high side, close to other exotic tropical hardwoods such as Cocobolo or Zebrawood. Panga Panga and Wenge can both be dark enough to be used as substitutes for ebony. Can be difficult to work with hand and power tools. Blunts tool edges. Can sand unevenly due to differences in density between light and dark areas. Can easily get splinters when handling this wood, which tend to go septic (see safety information below).
As might be expected in a wood as dense and hard as Panga Panga, the resistance to rot and insect, including termite, attack is quite high. However, the general cost of Panga Panga timber would tend to rule out uses where these characteristics would be of most value. Very durable, and resistant to termite attack.
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