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Kingwood, African Blackwood and Cocobolo


African blackwood: Dalbergia melanoxylon: Technically a rosewood, African blackwood is a great choice. It is more stable than ebony, as well as harder, just as heavy and far more stable and crack resistant. The wood tends to be black with subtle greyish grain running through it that I personally find much more interesting than the solid, featureless black of ebony.

Cocobolo: Dalbergia retusa: One of the most commonly used woods in custom knives, cocobolo is incredibly hard, dense and most of all stunningly beautiful. The wood has streaks of black, purple, yellow, red, orange, brown and white. It is simply an amazing wood. High oil content means the wood is very stable, even in damp or marine applications, and it excels in culinary uses. The wood’s oil content has the effect of killing off a variety of pathogens that end up on the surface, helping keep the handle sanitary.

Kingwood: Dalbergia congestiflora: Also called camatillo, this wood is a gorgeous royal purple, swirling with scarlet, black, gold, violet and pink. The wood is incredibly beautiful, with amazing grain patterns and unmatched color. It is also mechanically superb, with amazing hardness and density ratings that in many cases beat even those of desert ironwood. Able to take an amazing polish with an almost mirror-like finish, it is also waterproof and wears well. This is my personal favorite wood, though it has recently been CITIES listed and supplies are dwindling. The two main finishing methods are via wax or oil. An oil finish will greatly darken the wood down to a deep purple-black, while a wax finish will leave the wood with its purple and all the contrasts. The latter is my preferred method.