African Sapele


African Sapele is a timber of the mahogany type. It has a well-marked stripe or roe figure which shows to advantage on accurately quarter-cut veneers.


Colour – The sapwood is whitish/pale yellow. The heartwood is a medium to fairly dark reddish-brown wood. Occasional logs with wavy grain yield veneers with a highly decorative fiddle-back figure.

Grain – Interlocked and sometimes wavy.

Texture – Medium to fine.


  • Strength – Comparable to European Beech.
  • Weight – About 560 -690 kg/m³ average about 640 kg/m³ seasoned.
  • Ease Of Drying – Dries fairly rapidly but with a marked tendency to distort.
  • Movement In Service – Medium.
  • Preservative Treatment – Resistant. Sapwood moderately resistant.

Working Properties

  • Machining – Medium.
  • Planing – Optimum cutting angle 15 degrees due to interlocked grain.
  • Sawing – Satisfactory.
  • Blunting effect on cutters – moderate.
  • Bending – Buckles and ruptures severely when bent.
  • Nailing – Good.
  • Gluing – Good.


  • Care required when staining. Gives an excellent polished finish.