Zebrawood (Microberlinia brazzavillensis)

Zebrawood (Microberlinia brazzavillensis)

View More Images Below

Common Name(s): Zebrawood, Zebrano

Scientific Name: Microberlinia brazzavillensis

Distribution: West Africa

Tree Size: 150 ft (46 m) tall, 4-5 ft (1.2-1.5 m) trunk diameter

Average Dried Weight: 50 lbs/ft3 (805 kg/m3)

Specific Gravity (Basic, 12% MC): .67, .81

Janka Hardness: 1,830 lbf (8.160 N)

Modulus of Rupture: 17,800 lbf/in2 (122.8 MPa)

Elastic Modulus: 2,374,000 lbf/in2 (16.37 GPa)

Crushing Strength: 9,210 lbf/in2 (63.5 MPa)

Shrinkage: Radial: 7.6%, Tangential: 10.8%, Volumetric: 17.8%, T/R Ratio: 1.4

Color/Appearance: Heartwood is a light brown or cream color with dark blackish brown streaks vaguely resembling a zebra’s stripes. Depending on whether the wood is flatsawn or quartersawn, the stripes can be either chaotic and wavy (flatsawn), or somewhat uniform (quartersawn).

Grain/Texture: Has a fairly coarse texture and open pores. Grain is usually wavy or interlocked.

Endgrain: Diffuse-porous; medium pores in no specific arrangement; solitary and radial multiples of 2-3; deposits (brown) occasionally present; growth rings distinct due to marginal parenchyma; rays not visible without lens; parenchyma banded (marginal), apotracheal parenchyma diffuse-in-aggregates, paratracheal parenchyma vasicentric, aliform (winged or lozenge), and confluent.

Rot Resistance: Heartwood is rated as durable and is also resistant to insect damage.

Workability: The wood saws well, but can be very difficult to plane or surface due to the prevalence of interlocking grain. Tearout is common. Zebrawood glues and finishes well, though a pore filler may be desired for the large open pores of the wood’s grain.

Odor: Has a characteristic, unpleasant smell when being worked.

Allergies/Toxicity: Although severe reactions are quite uncommon, Zebrawood has been reported as a sensitizer. Usually most common reactions simply include eye and skin irritation. See the articles Wood Allergies and Toxicity and Wood Dust Safety for more information.

Pricing/Availability: Zebrawood tends to be fairly expensive, though usually not as prohibitively expensive as other exotics such as Ebony or Rosewood.

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. (A closely-related, lesser-used species in Cameroon, Microberlinia bisulcata, is also listed as critically endangered.)

Common Uses: Zebrawood is frequently quartersawn and used as veneer. Other uses include: tool handles, furniture, boatbuilding, and skis.

Comments: Sometimes called Zebrano, the wood is strong and stiff, with a fairly high density. However, the wood is much more frequently used for its bold and unique striping.

Related Species:

None available.

Related Articles:

Scans/Pictures: A special thanks to Steve Earis for providing the turned photo of this wood species.

Zebrawood (sanded)

Zebrawood (sanded)

Zebrawood (sealed)

Zebrawood (sealed)

Zebrawood (endgrain 10x)

Zebrawood (endgrain 10x)

Zebrawood (turned)

Zebrawood (turned)

Zebrawood and Chechen (book)

Zebrawood and Chechen (book)