Wenge sapwood and heartwood are very different. The sapwood can be as wide as three centimetres and is almost white, whereas the heartwood ranges from golden brown to dark brown in colour and has black veins. Wenge is highly decorative. It is a coarse textured wood with a straight grain and irregular fibres. It has many growing rings which are easy to make out. The wood is very heavy, suffers minimal shrinkage but is very resistant to mechanical pressure and traction.
Its hardness and high resin content make this a difficult wood to work but, with the right tools, these difficulties can easily be overcome. It saws, turns and carves well but cleaning and lacquering can be difficult. Gluing can also prove problematic. It is a very durable wood because it is resistant to plant and animal parasites. In recent years, wenge has become popular for modern furniture, interior furnishings and, in general, to obtain high-quality veneer sheets.