Common Name(s): Okoume, Gabon
Scientific Name: Aucoumea klaineana
Distribution: Central Africa (primarily Gabon)
Tree Size: 100-130 ft (30-40 m) tall, 3-6 ft (1-1.8 m) trunk diameter
Average Dried Weight: 27 lbs/ft3 (430 kg/m3)
Specific Gravity (Basic, 12% MC): .35, .43
Janka Hardness: 400 lbf (1,790 N)
Modulus of Rupture: 10,870 lbf/in2 (75.0 MPa)
Elastic Modulus: 1,228,000 lbf/in2 (8.47 GPa)
Crushing Strength: 5,250 lbf/in2 (36.2 MPa)
Shrinkage: Radial: 4.6%, Tangential: 7.1%, Volumetric: 12.2%, T/R Ratio: 1.5
Color/Appearance: Heartwood ranges from a pale pink to light brown. Color darkens with age. Narrow heartwood is grayish white, not clearly demarcated from heartwood.
Grain/Texture: Grain is straight to wavy or slightly interlocked. Texture is medium, with good natural luster.
Endgrain: Diffuse-porous; solitary and radial multiples; large pores in no specific arrangement, few; parenchyma not visible; narrow rays, spacing normal.
Rot Resistance: Rated as non-durable; poor insect resistance.
Workability: High silica content has a pronounced blunting effect on cutters. Planing and shaping may produce tearout or fuzzy surfaces. Glues and finishes well.
Odor: No characteristic odor.
Allergies/Toxicity: Although severe reactions are quite uncommon, Okoume has been reported to cause skin, eye, and respiratory irritation, as well as other effects such as asthma-like symptoms, coughing, and conjunctivitis (pink eye). See the articles Wood Allergies and Toxicity and Wood Dust Safety for more information.
Pricing/Availability: Most commonly sold as veneer, Okoume should be moderately priced for an imported hardwood, though highly figured pieces tend to be more expensive.
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, and exploitation.
Common Uses: Veneer, plywood, boatbuilding, musical instruments, furniture, and interior millwork.
Comments: Sometimes simply called Gabon (not to be confused with Gaboon Ebony), the wood is commercially important in the country of Gabon, where it’s the principle timber species. Even though it’s used almost exclusively in veneer form in the United States, solid lumber is much more common in Europe and Africa.
Scans/Pictures: A special thanks to Steve Earis for providing the wood sample (veneer) of this wood species.