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AFRICAN SAPELE

V. Ryan 2008

 

Possibly the most popular African hardwood species.

Entandrophragma cylindricum
Family: Meliaceae

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 ruptures severely.

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 moderately resistant.

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.
 

 
 
 
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