Entandrophragma cylindricum
Family: Meliaceae
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Sapele

 

Other Common Names: Aboudikro (Ivory Coast), Penkwa (Ghana), Muyovu (Uganda), Sapelii (Cameroon), Libuyu (Zaire).

 

Distribution: Ranging from the Ivory Coast to the Cameroons and eastward through Zaire to Uganda.  Occurs in evergreen, deciduous, and transitional forest formation.

 

The Tree: May reach a height of 150 to 200 ft; bole straight and cylindrical, clear to 100 ft; trunk diameters to 6 ft over broad, low buttresses, sometimes not buttressed.

 

The Wood:

General Characteristics: Heartwood a medium to fairly dark reddish brown or purplish brown; sapwood whitish or pale yellow, distinct.  Texture rather fine; grain interlocked, sometimes wavy, producing a narrow, uniform, roe figure on quartered surfaces; lustrous; without a distinctive taste but with a cedarlike scent.

 

Weight: Basic specific gravity (ovendry weight/green volume) about 0.55; air-dry density 42 pcf.

 

Mechanical Properties: (2-cm standard)

 

Moisture content   Bending strength   Modulus of elasticity   Maximum crushing strength

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

Green (9)                     10,700                                     1,390                           5,220

12%                             16,100                                     1,700                           5,500

 

12% (26)                     16,500                                     1,700                           8,900

 

Janka side hardness 1,020 lb for green and 1,500 lb for dry material.  Amsler toughness 200 in.-lb for dry material (2-cm specimen).

 

Drying and Shrinkage: Seasons fairly rapidly but with a marked tendency to warp, very variable in drying properties, requires careful stacking.  Kiln schedule T2- D4 is suggested for 4/4 stock and T2-D3 for 8/4.  Shrinkage green to ovendry: radial 4.6%;  tangential 7.4%; volumetric 14.0%.  Movement in service is rated as medium.

 

Working Properties: Works fairly well with hand and machine tools, tends to tear interlocked grain in planing, saws easily, finishes well, good gluing and nailing properties, satisfactory peeling and slicing.

 

Durability: Heartwood is moderately durable, resistance to termite attack variable. Sapwood liable to powder-post beetle attack.

 

Preservation: Heartwood resistant; sapwood moderately resistant.

 

Uses: Furniture and cabinetwork, decorative veneers, plywood, joinery, flooring, paneling.

 

Additional Reading: (3), (9), (26)

 

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.

9. Farmer, R. H. 1972.  Handbook of hardwoods.  H. M. Stationery Office.  London.

26.France: Bois For. Trop. 1974. Sapelli (Entandrophragma cylindricum).  Bois For.  Trop. 154:27-40.

 

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