Common Name(s): Leadwood
Scientific Name: Combretum imberbe
Distribution: From South Africa north to Tanzania
Tree Size: 32-64 ft (10-20 m) tall, 1-2 ft (.3-.6 m) trunk diameter
Average Dried Weight: 76 lbs/ft3 (1220 kg/m3)
Specific Gravity (Basic, 12% MC): .96, 1.22
Janka Hardness: 3,570 lbf (15,880 N)
Modulus of Rupture: 20,960 lbf/in2 (144.5 MPa)*
Elastic Modulus: 2,494,000 lbf/in2 (17.20 GPa)*
Crushing Strength: 9,950 lbf/in2 (68.6 MPa)*
Shrinkage: Radial: 2.0%, Tangential: 4.7%, Volumetric: 6.8%, T/R Ratio: 2.4*
*Strength and shrinkage values are for the closely related Combretum schumannii
Color/Appearance: Heartwood is a rich, reddish brown to dark brown; color darkens with age. Clearly demarcated sapwood is a pale yellow.
Grain/Texture: Knots and other grain irregularities are not uncommon. Fine uniform texture.
Endgrain: Diffuse-porous; sometimes exclusively solitary; large pores sometimes arranged in radial/diagonal patterns, very few; heartwood mineral/gum deposits common; parenchyma vasicentric and lozenge; narrow rays, spacing fairly close to close.
Rot Resistance: Reported to be very durable, with excellent insect resistance and weathering characteristics.
Workability: Generally difficult to work on account of its density; sharp cutters must be used to avoid tearout. Can also give problems in gluing and finishing. Turns superbly.
Odor: No characteristic odor.
Allergies/Toxicity: Although there are no specific reports on Combretum imberbe, other species in the Combretum genus (particularly C. kraussii) have been reported to cause skin irritation. See the articles Wood Allergies and Toxicity and Wood Dust Safety for more information.
Pricing/Availability: Not offered very often for sale, Leadwood is occasionally available as turning blanks and small lumber. Prices are likely to be high for an imported hardwood.
Sustainability: This wood species is not listed in the CITES Appendices or on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.
Common Uses: Carving, furniture, turned objects, and other small specialty items.
Comments: Smaller trees are used as fuelwood, as the wood burns slowly at high temperatures.