Sapele: Entandrophragma cylindricum


Sapele is native throughout West and East Africa.


Sapele heartwood is medium to dark reddish brown with well-defined ribbon striping on quartered surfaces. The grain is interlocked or wavy with a fine even texture. Average weight 620kg/m3; specific gravity .62.


Sapele timber has high crushing strength, medium bending strength and resistance to shock loads and it has a low stiffness categorisation. Despite these qualities the wood makes poor steam bending material, as it buckles and ruptures.


Sapele will dry quickly, and is very likely to distort. Quartered material is less likely to do this. There is medium movement in service.


Sapele will work well with both machine and hand tools, although the interlocked grain may cause slight difficulty when machining.  It nails, screws and glues well, care should be taken when staining, but once complete the wood will give a very good finish.


Sapele is classed as moderately durable. The heartwood is resistant to preservative treatment and the sapwood is moderately resistant.


Sapele is commonly used in high quality furniture making, joinery, shop fitting, door and boat building.