Other Common Names: Mutete (Angola), Mukwa (Zimbabwe), Mtumbati (Tanzania), Kiatt, Kajat (South Africa).
Distribution: A wide distribution over south-central Africa, common in savanna woodland.
The Tree: Commonly grows to a height of 40 to 60 ft; bole usually straight, 10 to 25 ft; trunk diameter 1.5 to 2.5 ft.
General Characteristics: Heartwood highly variable, pale uniform brown, golden brown, chocolate brown, brick red, or purplish brown, with darker or redder streaks that tone down on exposure; sapwood pale gray or yellowish, clearly defined. Texture medium to coarse; grain straight to interlocked; attractive
figure; no luster; scent faint and aromatic. Dry sawdust may cause nasal irritation and bronchial asthma.
Weight: Basic specific gravity (ovendry weight/green volume) about 0.59; air-dry density 41 pcf. Timber from Zimbabwe is rather lighter in weight (34 pcf).
Mechanical Properties: (2-cm standard)
Moisture content Bending strength Modulus of elasticity Maximum crushing strength
(%) (Psi) (1,000 psi) (Psi)
Green (9) 12,300 1,100 5,890
12% 13,700 1,220 8,280
Janka side hardness 1,300 lb for green material and 1,480 lb for dry.
Drying and Shrinkage: Dries very well but slowly, no warping and little or no tendency to check or split. Kiln schedule T10-D5S is suggested for 4/4 stock and T8-D4S for 8/4. Shrinkage green to 12% moisture content: radial 1.0%; tangential 1.5%. Movement in service is rated as small.
Working Properties: Works well with hand and machine tools, only moderate blunting cutters, straight-grained material planes and shapes to a good finish, peels and slices cleanly, good gluing, excellent turning and carving.
Durability: Heartwood is rated as durable or moderately so, and very resistant to moderately so to termites and marine borers; sapwood is liable to powder-post beetle attack.
Preservation: Heartwood is resistant to preservative treatments; sapwood moderately resistant.
Uses: Furniture, fine joinery, flooring, decorative veneer, turnery, boat building.
Additional Reading: (3), (5), (9)
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.
5. Bryce, J. M. 1967. The commercial timbers of Tanzania. Tanzanian For. Div. Util. Sec. Moshi.
9. Farmer, R. H. 1972. Handbook of hardwoods. H. M. Stationery Office. London.
From: Chudnoff, Martin. 1984. Tropical Timbers of the World. USDA Forest Service. Ag. Handbook No. 607.