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Wood Technology Transfer Fact Sheet

Baillonella toxisperma


Family: Sapotaceae

Other Common Names: Njabi (Nigeria, Cameroon), Adza (Gabon), African Pearwood (U.K.), Dimpampi (Congo).

Distribution: Found in the dense forests of Equatorial Africa, often in small patches on dry or moist soils.

The Tree: Reaches a height of 200 ft with straight cylindrical boles to 100 ft; trunk diameter 6 ft, reaching to 10 ft, some butt swelling in older trees.

The Wood:

General Characteristics: Heartwood pinkish brown, red brown, or a rich red; sapwood pinkish white or gray brown, rather well demarcated. Texture is fine and even; grain straight, sometimes wavy; has an attractive figure; dust may affect mucous membranes.

Weight: Basic specific gravity (ovendry weight/green volume) 0.65 to 0.77; air- dry density 50 to 60 pcf.

Mechanical Properties: (2-cm standard)

Moisture content Bending strength Modulus of elasticity Maximum crushing strength

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

12% (44) 21,500 NA 9,600

12% (44) 25,300 2,200 12,200

Amsler toughness 242 to 665 in.-lb for dry material (2-cm specimen).

Drying and Shrinkage: Dries slowly and with care seasons without checking and warping. No information available on kiln schedules. Shrinkage green to ovendry: radial 5.9%; tangential 7.5%; volumetric 12.6%. Stable.

Working Properties: Because of silica content there is a rapid dulling of cutters, otherwise works easily; glues and finishes well; has good steam-bending properties.

Durability: Heartwood is rated as very durable, resistant to termite attack; and is reported to be rarely attacked by marine borers.

Preservation: Reported to be not treatable (hot and cold bath).

Uses: Furniture, cabinetwork, decorative flooring, turnery and carving, decorative veneers, joinery, store fittings.

Additional Reading: (3), (19), (44)

3. Bolza, E., and W. G. Keating. 1972. African timbers-the properties, uses, and characteristics of 700 species. CSIRO. Div. of Build. Res., Melbourne, Australia.

19. France: Bois For. Trop. 1956. Moabi (Baillonella toxisperma). Bois For. Trop. 45:27-30.

44.Sallenave, P. 1955. Proprietes et mecaniques des bois tropicaux de l'union Francaise. Pub. Centre Tech. For. Trop. No. 8.

From: Chudnoff, Martin. 1984. Tropical Timbers of the World. USDA Forest Service. Ag. Handbook No. 607.