Leadwood

This wood was initially introduced to our American distributor then followed to our UK distributor and finally got wider acceptance.
Leadwood has found acceptance for narrow applications like knife handles, smoking pipes and to a limited extend for guitar back and sides and bagpipes.
As this wood turns well, has a fine grain and provides a glossy finish application like salad bowls and ornaments have become popular.

Heartwood

The wood ranges from grey to darkish black. Sapwood is distinctively yellow. The wood is very hard and heavy and of limited porosity.

Saw milling characteristics

The wood is hard and therefore cut in stages. In a first stage, the logs are broken down in slabs on a band saw with a flexible thin blade. In a second stage, into parts with tungsten tipped blades. As silica is often present, leadwood blunts tools quickly.

Seasoning

It dries fairly-well and quickly to 1.2 t per m3 which is high and explains its acceptance for musical instruments like guitar back and sides and bagpipes.

The standard parts we endeavour to keep in stock

Turning squares in mm
3/4 x 3/4 x 6 20 x 20 x 152
1 x 1 x 6 26 x 26 x 150
11/2 x 11/2 x 3 38 x 38 x 75
11/2 x 11/2 x 6 38 x 38 x 150
11/2 x 11/2 x 12 38 x 38 x 310
11/2 x 11/2 x 16 38 x 38 x 410
11/2 x 11/2 x 18 38 x 38 x 457
2 x 2 x 4 51 x 51 x 100
2 x 2 x 6 51 x 51 x 150
2 x 2 x 8 51 x 51 x 205
3 x 3 x 12 76 x 76 x 300
3 x 3 x 18 76 x 76 x 457
Bowl blanks  
4 x 4 x 2 100 x 100 x 50
5 x 5 x 2 125 x 125 x 50
6 x 6 x 2 150 x 150 x 50
8 x 8 x 2 200 x 200 x 50
8 x 8 x 3 200 x 200 x 100


Clients, Turners and carvers

Botanical name Combretum imberbe
Family Combretaceae
Local name Hardekool
English name Leadwood
Distribution From Tanzania in the North to KwaZulu-Natal in the South
The tree Semi-deciduous tree, 7-15 meter tall, sometimes in shrub.  It grows in open woodland of all types. The bark is grey pale, it is cracked in rectangular shapes. It is a protected species in South Africa. Harvesting is subject to permits.
The wood The wood is hard, heavy, greyish to black, the sapwood is yellow. The density is 1.2 t/ m3 when air-dried.
Seasoning The wood dries fairly quickly, if stacked properly approximately 4 months.
Workability The wood is stable. It is hard to saw because of its silica content. It turns well. It is fairly fine grain and when polished provides a glass-like surface.
Use It has been extensively used for agricultural implements, fence posts, railway sleeper and mine prop. It has been extensively harvested as firewood, explaining its protected status. It is popular with tuners and knife makers.

Because of its stability and ease to turn, it has even found applications for Highland Bagpipes and guitar back and sides.