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Wood Technology Transfer Fact Sheet

Microberlinia brazzavillensis



Family: Leguminosae

Other Common Names: Zingana (Gabon), Allen ele (Cameroon).

Distribution: West Africa, mainly in Gabon and Cameroon, gregarious, sometimes in pure stands along riverbanks.

The Tree: A tall tree to 150 ft; bole straight and cylindrical but relatively short, up to 50 ft; trunk diameters 4 to 5 ft over low buttresses.

The Wood:

General Characteristics: Heartwood pale yellow brown with narrow darker streaks, striping pattern varies considerably; sapwood white up to 4 in. wide, distinct. Texture medium to coarse; grain usually wavy or interlocked; lustrous; unpleasant odor disappears after 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% (44) 17,200 NA 8,500

12% (47) 22,800 2,340 10,700

Amsler toughness 550 in.-lb at 12% moisture content (2-cm specimen).

Drying and Shrinkage: Difficult to season without warping, should be quartersawn to minimize degrade. Kiln schedule T2-C2 is suggested for 4/4 stock and T2-C1 for 8/4. Shrinkage green to ovendry: radial 6.8%; tangential 1.5% volumetric 16.5%

Working Properties: Saws fairly well, a clean smooth finish is sometimes difficult to obtain with machine or hand planing, tearing of interlocked grain; good gluing properties, veneers need careful handling to avoid cracking.

Durability: Heartwood is durable and resistant to termite attack.

Preservation: Heartwood extremely resistant; sapwood permeable.

Uses: Decorative veneers, turnery. Because of high toughness, used in ski manufacture, tool handles, etc.

Additional Reading: (3), (44), (47)

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.

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

47.Sallenave, P. 1971. Proprietes physiques et mecaniques des bois tropicaux. Deuxieme Supplement. Centre Tech. For. Trop.

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