USDA Forest Service
Forest Products Laboratory
One Gifford Pinchot Drive
Madison, WI 53705-2398
(608) 231-9200


Wood Technical Fact Sheet


 Combretodendron macrocarpum

syn. C. africanum


Family: Lecythidaceae

Other Common Names: Abale (ivory Coast), Owewe (Nigeria), Abing (Cameroon), Abin (Gabon), Minzu (Zaire).

Distribution: Throughout tropical West Africa, fairly common in wet forest areas, infrequent in the dry high forests.

The Tree: Up to 120 ft or more in height; bole straight and cylindrical, sometimes shallowly fluted, 60 to 80 ft long, unbuttressed but flared at the base; trunk diameters 2.5 to 5 ft.

The Wood:

General Characteristics: Heartwood reddish to dark red brown, sometimes with darker streaks; sapwood yellowish white, clearly demarcated. Texture fine to moderately coarse; grain varying from straight to interlocked; when freshly cut, wood has a rotten cabbage odor which disappears on drying.

Weight: Basic specific gravity (ovendry weight/green volume) about 0.70; air-dry density 53 pcf.

Mechanical Properties: (2-cm standard)

Moisture content Bending strength Modulus of elasticity Maximum crushing strength

(%) (Psi) (1,000 psi) (Psi)

12% (40) 20,300 2,100 10,850

12% (44) 16,600 1,520 8,100

12% (46) 15,400 1,830 7,400

Janka side hardness 2,180 lb for dry material. Amsler toughness 232 to 250 in.-lb. for dry material (2-cm specimen).

Drying and Shrinkage: Dries slowly and is very prone to warping and checking, thick stock liable to collapse and honeycomb. Kiln schedule T2-C2 is suggested for 4/4 stock, very difficult to dry thicker stock. Shrinkage green to ovendry: radial 5.4%; tangential 10.4%; volumetric 14.2%. Movement in service is rated as large.

Working Properties: Rather difficult to work, saws moderately well, dresses to good finish but there is tearing of interlocked grain, may char in boring, has poor steam bending qualities, glues satisfactorily.

Durability: Heartwood is resistant to moderately resistant to attack by decay fungi and termites, sometimes damaged by pinhole borers.

Preservation: Heartwood extremely resistant to preservative treatments; sapwood is permeable.

Uses: Sliced to produce decorative veneers, heavy construction work where end splitting and checking are not objectionable.

Additional Reading: (3), (40), (44), (46)