Typical Tree Height:
When newly cut the heartwood of Sapele is pink but then darkens to a red-brown or purple-brown on exposure. The grain is moderately interlocked or wavy, with a fine texture. The wood can exhibit an attractive range of figure, with ribbon and regular stripe on quarter sawn boards. Plus fiddleback, mottle or roe on other cuts. Typically though, Sapele is fairly consistent in colour and grain but boards can differ from one to another. Sapele paints well and is a good all round performer
Sapele is good for: Doors, Windows, Mouldings, Facias, cover fillets and much more.
Scented Mahogany, Aboudikro, Sapele Mahogany, Penkra, Sapelli, Saplelewood
The heartwood of Sapele is moderately durable but is resistant to preservative treatment. The sapwood is vulnerable to the power-post beetle, and is moderately resistant to preservative treatment. Sapele is a good performer for external joinery and is relatively stable in service, needs to be painted or stained (and coats well). For areas of high exposure - consider a more durable hardwood.
The drying and seasoning of Sapele is dependant on a number of factors; the speed in which it is processed after felling and logging, the method of drying and the specific kilns or location (if air dried). Generally the care taken by those processing the wood will have an impact on its drying and seasoning. As an overview; Sapele - It dries quickly and is prone to distortion, although this is less of a problem with quarter sawn timber sections. There is a medium movement in use. Please note that all wood is liable to move when in service plus there can be dimensional change. The extent of this will depend on; the stability of the species itself, the conditions it is exposed to, the coating, decoration and protection. You will find more information about the suitability of this wood, for any proposed application, by using our interactive system and the filters shown.
Sapele has medium resistance to shock loads, medium bending strength, high crushing strength, low stiffness and poor steam-bending properties. It works well with both hand and machine tools, with a tolerable blunting effect on cutting edges. Sapele planes and moulds easily. It drills, routers, carves, nails, screws, stains, varnishes and paints well. Sapele glues fairly well. It sands very well and can be brought to an excellent polished finish.
Furniture and cabinetmaking, musical instruments, office furniture, kitchen cabinets, doors, stairs, window frames, boats, flooring and sports goods. Decorative veneer from choice logs is used for marquetry, panelling and cabinetwork. Sapele is also rotary-cut for plywood.
Mahogany (Sapele is part of this family) is a strong wood. Its spiritual properties include healing of the emotions and spirit. It can help you grow spiritually and provide guidance.
Considered vulnerable by The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species (this was last assessed in 1998 and considerable changes in awareness and more stringent forestry controls may have had an impact and the results of the latest assessment are due soon) for more information and latest updates please visit http://www.iucnredlist.org and type in the botanical name of the species into the search box. It should also be noted that one unintentional shortcoming of the Red List is that it only considers the risk of extinction; broader issues dealing with habitat destruction or deforestation are not considered. Also, it does not necessarily take into account the maturity of the trees (i.e., centuries-old trees are cut down, and subsequently replanted with saplings) Therefore we hope that further assessments will consider this long term commitment to re-growth.
The reason that Sapele is considered is a risk is due to; it has been heavily exploited throughout its range. Genetic erosion caused by the large-scale depletion of mature individuals from populations has taken place in some countries
Wood Worker's Thoughts:
Stress factures' can be present. But a nice timber to work with.
Brazilian and African mahogany is challenging to source these days so Sapele offers a good alternative and is from the same 'family'. Another alternative to consider is Utile.
Wood Database feature on: Sapele
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