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An African hardwood which resembles plain Sapele in appearance the Sipo sapwood is light brown in color. The heartwood is pinkish-brown when first cut, and darkens to a rich red or purple-brown with exposure. The sapwood is reported to be up to 2 inches (0.50 cm) wide and clearly demarcated from the heartwood. The attractive grain is usually broadly interlocked, producing a ribbon figure or a wide, often irregular stripe on quarter-sawn surfaces.
Formal Name: Entandrophragma utile
Other Names: Kalungi, Liboyo, Mufumbi, Okeong, Utile
Sipo grows in the high forests of tropical west and east Africa, specifically in Sierra Leone, Cameroon, Liberia, Gabon, Uganda, Equatorial Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria, Zaire, Angola, the Ivory Coast and Ghana.
Sipo works fairly easily, with hand and machine tools, but it may char during boring. An interlocked grain may cause some tearing of the wood during moulding. It is easy to saw and it can be planed to a perfect finish. Sipo holds together well using all modern adhesives and glues and provides moderate hold when nail or screws are used. It acquires a fine sheen when polished, which is highly valued in furniture finishing.
Sipo is often used as a substitute for mahogany and is commonly used in furniture, cabinets, joinery, paneling and stair parts. It is a popular material for decorative plywood and decorative veneer.