Working with Mpingo, or African Blackwood

custom dumbbells

Have you heard of MPINGO? What about Dalbergia melanoxylon?

Known as the East African Blackwood, Mpingo is the Swahili word for a small, gnarled heavily branched tree that grows extremely slowly; not being harvestable for 70-100 years. The dark heartwood of Mpingo makes it one of the most economically valuable woods in the world.

The properties of this wood are actually fantastic for dumbbell handles, as it is soft and tactile yet has a gentle grain that offers surprisingly good grip. It is an easily workable wood, and is thus very popular in East Africa for traditional sculpture.

Back in Europe, the deep black colour contrasted with 304 stainless steel is a perfect pairing for monochromatic interior schemes and feels refreshing and modern.

We built these weights initially to compliment the Technogym Personal Line of cardio equipment, which is also finished in black and chrome, for the family home of a sports star in the UK.

The finished articles are captured here modelling a Gym Marine bespoke end plate for the purposes of this photoshoot.

All our wood is (of course) sustainably sourced.