Common Name(s): Bosse, Guarea
Scientific Name: Guarea spp. (G. cedrata and G. thompsonii)
Distribution: West and Central Africa
Tree Size: 100-150 ft (30-46 m) tall, 3-4 ft (.9-1.2 m) trunk diameter
Average Dried Weight: 37 lbs/ft3 (600 kg/m3)
Specific Gravity (Basic, 12% MC): .48, .60
Janka Hardness: 940 lbf (4,190 N)
Modulus of Rupture: 14,960 lbf/in2 (103.2 MPa)
Elastic Modulus: 1,582,000 lbf/in2 (10.91 GPa)
Crushing Strength: 7,910 lbf/in2 (54.5 MPa)
Shrinkage: Radial: 4.4%, Tangential: 6.7%, Volumetric: 11.2%, T/R Ratio: 1.5
Color/Appearance: Heartwood initially a pale pinkish brown, darkening with age to a more golden to medium brown. Pale yellowish sapwood is well defined. Can be highly figured, with grain patterns such as pommele being sought after in veneer form.
Grain/Texture: Grain can be straight, interlocked, wavy, or anything in between. (Veneer sheets also exhibit a wide range of grain patterns.) Texture is medium to fine, with a good natural luster.
Rot Resistance: Heartwood ranges from moderately durable to very durable regarding decay resistance. Bosse also has fair resistance against insect attacks and has good weathering characteristics.
Workability: Results may vary depending upon the grain of the wood: interlocked and/or quartersawn pieces can pose a difficulty planing, with tearout being common. Silica is present in this wood, causing cutting edges to blunt and dull at an increased rate. Glues, turns, and finishes well.
Odor: Bosse can have a distinct, cedar-like odor while being worked.
Allergies/Toxicity: Although severe reactions are quite uncommon, Bosse has been reported as a sensitizer. Usually most common reactions simply include eye, nose, throat, and skin irritation, as well as a number of other effects, such as asthma-like symptoms, nausea, and headaches. See the articles Wood Allergies and Toxicity and Wood Dust Safety for more information.
Pricing/Availability: Occasionally available in the United States—usually in veneer form—prices for Bosse will depend greatly on grain patterning and intensity. Overall, expect prices to be very high for strongly figured pieces of quilted or pommele veneer, with curly figure or weaker patterns in the mid to upper price range for an imported veneer.
Sustainability: This wood species is not listed in the CITES Appendices, but is on the IUCN Red List. It is listed as vulnerable due to a population reduction of over 20% in the past three generations, caused by a decline in its natural range.
Common Uses: Veneer, furniture, cabinetry, inlay, flooring, boatbuilding, and turned objects.
Comments: This wood is vaguely reminiscent of Sapele (both are in the Meliaceae family), though it tends to be a little lighter in color, and does not exhibit the ribboning figure on quartersawn surfaces. Bosse is primarily sold in veneer form (which may be a good thing, given the long list of heath effects that the sawdust can cause).
Scans/Pictures: A special thanks to Steve Earis for providing the wood sample (veneer) of this wood species.