Blackwood – Acacia
A close cousin to Hawaii’s coveted Koa, Australian Blackwood is growing in popularity as it becomes more known in both guitar and furniture-building circles. Its name is misleading, as there are no black hues ever seen in its grains. Highly-figured lumber is not uncommon, nor are pieces with a shimmering chatoyance, reminiscent of Koa. Hardwood colors can range from a light golden brown to various dark shades of brown; streak and highlights of various differing colors is not uncommon. Sap colors can range from tan to a dull light gray, and is clearly demarcated. Its grains can range from straight to wavy to interlocked, and its texture is typically fine, with an impressive natural luster.
Other than the occasional tear-out, issues associated with lumber with interlocking grains, the wood is very easily worked. It turns, glues, and finishes well. Australian Blackwood also bends easily, which combined with its toughness and durability,¬† has made it an historically popular wood in Australia for boat building.
Not listed in the CITES Appendices or on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.
Why We Love This Wood
Aesthetics can vary greatly with this emerging Australian alternative to Koa. Larger boards are becoming more sought after by acoustic guitar luthiers in the US (for back-and-sides sets), although they remain in demand for furniture and cabinet makers, domestically. Not unlike Koa, the more sought-after boards are the highly-figured ones, which naturally command a significantly higher price.