Possibly the most popular African hardwood species.
Common Names: Sapelewood, Aboundikrou and Sapelli.
Distribution: West and East Africa.
General Description: The heartwood has a medium
to dark reddish brown colour. A very attractive material when a fine grain
is present. Has a cedar-like scent when freshly cut. The timber is liable
to ring or cup shakes. Weight varies between 560-690kg/m3 (35-43lb/ft3)
averages about 620kg/m3 (39lb/ft3); specific gravity .62.
Mechanical Properties: Despite high crushing and medium bending
strength and resistance to shock loads, with a low stiffness category,
sapele has a poor steam bending classification as the wood buckles and
Working Properties: Works without difficulty with both hand and
machine tools but the grain affects machining properties. It nails, screws
and glues well; care is required when staining but it provides an
excellent polished finish.
Durability: Moderately durable. The sapwood is liable to attack by
powder post beetle and moderately resistant to termites in Africa. The
heartwood is resistant to preservative treatment and the sapwood
Uses: Quality furniture and cabinet making, joinery, shop fitting,
office furniture, solid doors, boat building, musical instruments, sports
goods, counter tops and flooring. Extensively used as a constructional
veneer for plywood and selected logs are sliced for panelling and
decorative face veneers for cabinets and marquetry.