The newly cut heartwood of Sapele (pronounced su-pē’lē) is pink to pink-brown. Over time the color darkens to a red-brown or purplish-brown. The grain is moderately interlocked or wavy and the texture is medium fine. The luster is described as high and golden.
West, Central and East Africa rain forests, Ivory Coast, Ghana, Nigeria, Cameroon, Uganda, Zaire and Tanzania
Aboudikro, Libuyu, Muyovu, Penkwa, Sapelli, Sapelii
1510 – 16% harder than Northern Red Oak
The species is reported to be relatively secure within parts of its range but it is known to be vulnerable in Cameroon and the Ivory Coast.
Sapele is a large rain forest tree from Africa. It is reported to grow to heights of 150 feet, with trunk diameters of 48 to 72 inches. Boles are usually clear and cylindrical to heights of 80 to 100 feet.
The heartwood of Sapele is pink when freshly cut, but it matures to a medium to dark red-brown. The sapwood is grayish -pink or cream in color. The grain is fine and moderately interlocked or wavy. Quartersawn cuts of Sapele yield a ribbon striped effect. Other cuts feature other desirable patterns, including fiddlebacks. The texture is considered fine and the luster is described as high and golden.
Information currently unavailable
Sapele is most commonly found in flooring, fine furniture, turnery, paneling, decorative plywood, cabinets and boat building.
Sapele wood is quite durable and provides moderate dimensional stability. Some movement in use has been reported.
Sapele wood works easily with both hand and machine tools. It saws easily and there are no known problems with nailing. It sands satisfactorily if the proper sanding sequence is followed.Care in staining is required as the stain may over-darken the wood. There are no known finishing problems.