Black Limba

 Limba-Species-Guide-Exotic Wood Zone
 Common Name Limba, Black Limba, White Limba, Korina, Afara, Frake, Ofram, Limba Clair, Limbo, Noyer Du Mayombe, Light Limba, Akom, Dark Limba, Chene Limbo
Scientific Name Terminalia superba
Distribution The Black Limba is indigenous to Tropical western Africa.
Tree Size The tree can grow up to a full fledged height of65-100 ft (20-30 m) tall, with a trunk diameter of 5-7 ft (1.5-2.2 m).
Dried Weight ( average ) The average weight of the wood is 35 lbs/ft3 (555 kg/m3).
Specific Gravity 43, .56
Janka Hardness 670 lbf (2,990 N)


To begin with, let's start with a short history lesson. The Black Limba native to Tropical western Africa was in continuous supply because of its wide availability and overharvesting. This continued for decades until this tree's population was drastically decreasing. The supply chains had stopped one by one. Products made from this wood were not available in the markets anymore. This wood was not available either in lumber form or in the form of wooden blanks. The people knew if immediate action did not take place their children and their future generations would only hear about this wood in folksongs and folklores to come. By the 1950s people began their efforts in replanting the trees. There were many plantations that were solely dedicated to this tree. Eventually, thanking the joint efforts of these people, the population rates began growing, and to this day this tree has not been listed either in the CITES or the IUCN red list. The Black Limba has been on the market for commercial purposes. 

 This dark figured wood occasionally with grey or black streaks is easy to work with. It has many purposes like veneer, turned objects, furniture, table tennis bats, musical instruments, etc.

Although the downside of this wood can be the severe reactions that are caused during the handling of this wood. The Black Limba has been reported to cause skin irritation and respiratory irritation, as well as hives, asthma-like symptoms, and bleeding of the nose and gums. Splinters also tend to become infected and take longer than usual to heal. These are some of the main reasons why protective gear and good, well equipped working environments should be provided to the workers. The other downside that this wood has is that this wood is not durable and is susceptible to the attack of insects, pests, and termites. But this issue can be solved to a certain extent by using a good protective coating while finishing this wood.

Color: There are mainly 2 styles of Limba wood out there. Wood with such darker figuring is observed as Black Limba, whereas plain unfigured wood is named White Limba. Heartwood could be a lightweight yellowish to a golden brown, generally with gray to just about black streaks and veins. sapwood could be a pale greyish to yellowish-brown, not simply differentiated from the heartwood. The wood consists of dark and light colors within the wood however these are not to be mistaken for the duramen and wood. Color tends to darken with age as is common with most of the exotic woods. Typically, Black Limba wood is characterized by attractive black striping, orange ambrosia streaks, and residual bug holes from the creatures liable for imprinting those streaks. it's a very ornamental wood.

Texture: The grain is straight to slightly interlocked, with a uniformly coarse texture. Moderate natural luster which may be improved by using the appropriate polish. Diffuse-porous; solitary and radial multiples; medium to giant pores in no specific arrangement, terribly few; tyloses and different duramen deposits common; parenchyma vasicentric, winged, confluent, and generally banded; slim rays, spacing fairly shut.

Workability: As the Black limba could be a relatively lightweight wood it makes the work all the better for woodworkers either by hand or by the utilization of machines. It will take a tiny and not therefore serious toll on cutters owing to the presence of small amounts of silica in them. This wood responds to gluing and finishing fine.

Odor: Limba encompasses a gentle odor while being worked and may cause respiratory infections once inhaled directly into the lungs.

Availability: Normally the Black Limba or any of the limba species encompasses a relatively sensible provide chain, not like different exotic woods. costs are mediocre for an imported hardwood, although figured wood like Black Limba is probably going to be costlier.

The Black limba or any of the Limba species has not been listed within the CITES Appendices or on the IUCN Red List of vulnerable species.

Uses: The highest quality Black Limba logs are made into Limba veneer rather than sawn into boards. This is for economical reasons and holds for almost all wood species. However, when the quality of the log depends on the figure density there is often a disconnect between the appearance of the veneer and the lumber. Veneers typically look spectacular. The lumber, not so much. For projects that use both lumber and veneer together, this presents a matching problem. Hence, we bring in sawn lumber boards as close to veneer quality as possible.

Veneer, plywood, furniture, musical instruments (electric guitar bodies), and turned objects. It is used for making furniture, table tennis blades (as outer ply), and musical instruments and prized for its workability and excellent color and finish.

The most well-known example of its use in guitars is when Gibson produced their now highly sought-after Flying V and Explorer guitars in 1958.

Makers of table tennis blades choose limba, and in particular black limba, for its flexibility and the idea that it enhances top-spin. When finished in a clear coat, white limba results in an attractive light golden color.

Here is the few finished product's images:

Black Limba Bowl
Black Limba Bowl
Black Limba Guitar
Black Limba Guitar Sets

Frequently asked Questions


The striping colors of Limba are stunning after the finish is applied. It will take shellac, oil or poly finish well. However, the porous nature of the grain requires filling. Clear grain filler yields a more natural appearance than colored grain filler.


The black limba grows in Western areas of Africa


Black Limba or the Terminalia Superba, is a beautiful West African species that has black stripes in the lower trunk of the tree presumably were the tree disposes of its toxins. Upper sections of the trees have white heartwood and this is called white Limba and is generally sold as a different species on the commercial market. It is easy to work and slightly less dense than American walnut. Worm or pinholes are common with the species. Uses include guitar bodies, turned articles, fancy boxes, and other fine woodworking projects.


The striping colors of Limba are stunning after the finish is applied. It will take shellac, oil or poly finish well. However, the porous nature of the grain requires filling. Clear grain filler yields a more natural appearance than colored grain filler.