African blackwood is considered to be among the very finest of all woods. It is capable of holding threads and other intricate details. It is often completely black with little or no discernible grain. Occasionally it is slightly lighter with a dark brown or purplish hue. The pale yellow sapwood is usually thin and is clearly demarcated from the darker heartwood. It has a fine even texture with small pores that should not require filling with a grain that is typically straight. It is very difficult to work with using hand or machine tools because it has an extreme blunting effect on cutters. The wood is typically processed on metal-working equipment, giving it a reputation as being metal-like in some of its working properties.