Sapele is a reddish-brown wood that in many ways is very similar to Mahogany. A remarkable
feature of sapele is that the grain is interlocked and changes direction in frequent, irregular
intervals. Before WWI the principal demand for this wood came from Germany where it
was used for decorative cabinet work. Interestingly enough, sapele was found in the
propeller-blades of German Zeppelins. Sapele is also one of Europe's most desired woods in
manufacturing doors, windows and hardwood flooring. It has a wide variety of applications
and is very popular as a decorative surface veneer for high-grade furniture such as book
cases and cabinets. It is a great alternative to genuine Mahogany.
OTHER COMMON NAMES
Sapelli, Penkwa, Undianuno.
A large African tree ranging from Sierra Leone to Angola and eastward through the Congo
Heartwood ranges in color from that of medium to a dark reddish- or purplish-brown.
Sapwood is whitish or pale yellow, distinct. Fine texture and interlocked grain produces
a narrow and uniform stripe pattern on quartered surfaces. It has a cedar-like scent
DENSITY AND BUOYANCY
Janka hardness is 1500, 16% harder than Red Oak (1210 Janka). Average weight of
42 lbs./cu. ft. and specific gravity off .55, make this wood similar in density and buoyancy to teak.
DRYING AND SHRINKAGE
Fairly rapid drying and with a marked tendency to distort; careful stacking
Fairly easy with hand and machine tools, and it saws and finishes easily, although
interlocked grain offers difficulties in planning and molding. Sapele has good nailing
and gluing properties, and it finishes well.
Heartwood is moderately durable, resistance to termite attack variable. Sapwood liable
to powder-post beetle attack.
Heartwood resistant; sapwood moderately resistant.
Used extensively, primarily as flooring, furniture, cabinetwork, decorative moldings,
paneling, doors and windows, and anything mahogany is used for.
Sapele ranges from medium to fairly dark reddish-brown to purplish-brown, while sapwood is whitish or pale yellow. This wood is moderately durable, and its resistance to termite attack varies. While sapele is
similar in color to African mahogany, it is more durable than true mahoganies. Its strength is similar to oak.
- works well with hand and machine tools
- finishes well
Standard and custom sizes available in flooring, paneling and mouldings.
- 4/4", 5/4", 6/4", 8/4", 10/4" and 12/4" thickness
- 4" and wider
- 8' and longer, up to 16'
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