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Sapele heartwood is medium to dark-reddish brown with a medium texture, high-luster, pale yellow sapwood. Sapele is very similar to African mahogany, with a fine, interlocked grain. It may also yield a wavy grain that produces a distinctive roe figure on quartered surfaces.

Formal Name: Entandrophragma Cylindricum


Sapele is found in lower tropical rain forests and tropical semi-evergreen rain forests throughout Africa, including West Africa, Liberia, the Ivory Coast, Ghana, Togo, Nigeria, Cameroon, Gabon, Congo, Zaire and Angola.

Working Properties

Sapele heartwood is moderately durable and works fairly well with hand and machine tools. It saws without difficulty, however, the interlocked grain tends to tear easily in planning. Sapele finishes well, with good gluing and nailing properties. It stains well and is suited to a variety of finishes retaining its color over time.

Main Uses

Sapele is used in the manufacture of furniture, cabinetwork and decorative moldings. Selected logs are sliced for decorative face veneer for cabinets and marquetry. Veneer is also used for paneling and plywood faces. Its durability makes it a good choice for flooring and joinery.