I am preparing to build a 77" x 45" dining table out of solid Wenge. I
am planning on buying 8/4 stock and resawing it to 5/4 for the top. To
recycle some of the waste, I plan on gluing some of the resaw
remainders together to form new planks that can be used for some of the
middle pieces of the table (since from the surface you can't see any
seams). The top will be edgeglued planks without any trim or edge
rail. So the ends of the table will have exposed grain. I am planning
on using a router to put a quarter round edge all the way around
Aside from a small 'test' project, I've never worked with Wenge and
have a few questions for those more-seasoned woodworkers.
- What sorts of problems should I expect to run into while using this
wood? I am aware that it is brittle and splinters easily.
- Will a router be able to put a quarter round across the grain on the
ends of the tabletop?
- Will the table still splinter at the ends once a nice finish is
- I'm thinking of possibly spraying on lacquer (if I can find a new
local supplier). Are there better alternatives? I'm looking for a
- If I surface glue two planks together (remains of resawing 8/4 down
to 5/4), and use these for middle pieces of the table, will the glue
seam be noticeable on the ends of the table?
- Will Wenge ruin the blades on my thickness planer and jointer?
- Are there recommended techniques for handling this wood to minimize
destruction to my tools? (such as planing in small increments)
Thanks everyone for your feedback. I will post pictures of the
finished product if I survive this one!
Be careful with the router. When I applied a router to a maple/wenge
laminated guitar neck blank it tore out a large hunk from the wenge as
soon as it came down to that. It seems not to be a good wood to route,
so maybe consider planing, at least for the edges that go with the grain.
Wenge is a beautiful wood that is very similar to Doug Fir. I have many
pieces of both vertical grain and flat sawn that look like fir except for
the color of course. I do get many splinters when working the wood which
will get infected so remove them within a couple of hours. While the wood
can splinter easily I find that it works very well and comes up to a nice
polish easily. While dense, it is not especially resinous. I have not had
gluing problems using tb2. Some people like to bleach the wood before
finishing to lighten the color but I prefer it dark. I think you will be
very happy with the stuff (except for the price).
First make sure to wear a dust mask the entire time you are cutting/sanding
wenge.Keep it on until the dust has setteled completly.This is a very nasty
wood as far as the dust from it is along with the splinters that as another
poster said removely immediatly.It will cause problems to your lungs if you
ingest any which by normal breathing you will some some if you are not
wearing a good dust mask.
As long as your glueing is done with good flat edges and clamp it while
curing you should not have any problems with glue lines.
I wouldn't worry about your blades getting dull as any wood is going to
dull your blades some just faster than others.Just start off with good sharp
ones on this project.
Test a piece with your router to see how your wenge will react to your
roundover bits.Again start off with good sharp bits and you should have no
Actually, as far as my friend is concerned, it's a very cheap table.
I'm building this table for a friend for just the cost of materials.
Woodworking for me is a hobby (an expensive, time-consuming hobby, but
still a hobby). My friend needs a table. He realizes that I could
build him a table out of oak or something for about $100-$150 in
material and he would end up with a table that's worth about
$500-$1,000. Or, he could spend about $800 in material (for Wenge) and
get a table that's worth about $6,000-$8,000! It's a win-win situation
-- I want to build a table out of exotic wood, but don't want to pay
for the material and don't need a table; he wants a table made out of
exotic wood but doesn't want to pay the price of one. =-)
I know that it's a toxic wood (they use it in Africa to stun fish, or
something like that), so I will be wearing a good dust mask (the one I
would use when spraying lacquer; with the two intake filter canisters
and an exhaust in the front). I already got a small splinter from
handling a small piece of Wenge on one of my sample projects, so I
learned to wear workgloves when handling it -- especially when still
Here are a few more questions:
- Would you use biscuits to edge join the planks for the top?
- Does anyone have any good designs for attaching removable legs?
The table design is very simple -- solid plank top, edge-joined; four
squared post legs, tappered at the bottom; a 3" skirt with a lower lip.
The top will be attached to a frame using screws in elongated holes
(for wood expansion). The frame will be made up of four 3" planks laid
out in a rectangle slightly smaller than the skirt. The planks will
connect to each other using half-lap joints (since the planks are laid
flat). The skirt will be butt joined onto the frame. Where the legs
will go, there will be a thick diagonal cross brace joining the
adjacent skirts. The legs will have a diagonal notch at the top, so
that it will look like the Superman diamond if you were looking
straight down on the leg. The legs will be attached by two bolts going
through the diagonal cross brace and into the notched side of each leg.
For this design, should I do some sort of tennon to join the diagonal
cross brace to the skirt, or would pocket screws and some glue be
enough? Should I use some of that gorilla glue, or is regular wood
Thanks for your responses so far! Keep them coming!
(A novice woodworker, taking on bigger projects)
Yeah *I* would. But not out of experience or intelligence. That's just what
I do for my larger table tops. Whether "Wenge" adds anything to be factored
into this, dunno...
Maybe I don't understand - but on my recent oak kitchen table project, I
used Loose Tenons to attach apron to legs. My legs didn't have to be
removable. I think you said yours do. In any case, that project and a few
others have convinced me that loose tenon joinery is fast, simple and very
useful (to me, at least).
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