Afrormosia (Pericopsis elata)
Afrormosia (Pericopsis elata)

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Common Name(s): Afrormosia, Afromosia, African Teak

Scientific Name: Pericopsis elata

Distribution: West Africa

Tree Size: 100-150 ft (30-46 m) tall, 3-5 ft (1-1.5 m) trunk diameter

Average Dried Weight: 45 lbs/ft3 (725 kg/m3)

Specific Gravity (Basic, 12% MC): .57, .72

Janka Hardness: 1,570 lbf (6,980 N)

Modulus of Rupture: 14,920 lbf/in2 (102.9 MPa)

Elastic Modulus: 1,715,000 lbf/in2 (11.83 GPa)

Crushing Strength: 9,570 lbf/in2 (66.0 MPa)

Shrinkage: Radial: 3.2%, Tangential: 6.2%, Volumetric: 9.9%, T/R Ratio: 1.9

Color/Appearance: Heartwood is typically a yellowish brown, occasion will have an either reddish or olive hue. Color tends to darken with age. Narrow sapwood is pale yellow and is clearly differentiated from the heartwood.

Grain/Texture: Grain is usually straight, though it can also be interlocked. With a fine uniform texture and good natural luster.

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

Rot Resistance: Rated as very durable regarding decay resistance, and is also resistant to termites and other insects.

Workability: In nearly all regards, Afrormosia is easy to work with both hand and machine tools, though surfacing boards with interlocking grain may cause tearout. Other downsides include a slight blunting effect on cutting edges, and the development  of dark stains if left in contact with iron in damp conditions. Afrormosia turns, glues, stains, and finishes well.

Odor: Afrormosia has a distinct odor while being worked.

Allergies/Toxicity: Although severe reactions are quite uncommon, Afrormosia has been reported as a sensitizer. Usually most common reactions include eye, skin, and respiratory irritation. Afrormosia has also been known to cause nervous system effects, asthma-like symptoms, as well as splinters having an increased chance of getting infected. See the articles Wood Allergies and Toxicity and Wood Dust Safety for more information.

Pricing/Availability: Trade of this species is currently tightly controlled. It’s usually available as lumber in good sizes. Prices are medium to high for an imported African hardwood.

Sustainability: This wood species is in CITES Appendix II, and is on the IUCN Red List. It is listed as endangered due to a population reduction of over 50% in the past three generations, caused by a decline in its natural range, and exploitation.

Common Uses: Boatbuilding, veneer, flooring, and furniture.

Comments: Along with Iroko, Afrormosia is sometimes referred to as “African Teak,” though it is not closely related to genuine Teak (Tectona grandis). Afrormosia does look somewhat similar to Teak, has similar working and mechanical properties, and is extremely durable in outdoor applications; for these reasons, it’s used with a fair degree of success as a substitute for Teak.

Related Species:

Related Articles:

Scans/Pictures: A special thanks to Justin Holden for providing the wood sample of this wood species.

Afrormosia (Pericopsis elata)
Afrormosia (sanded)
Afrormosia (sealed)
Afrormosia (sealed)
Afrormosia (endgrain)
Afrormosia (endgrain)
Afrormosia (endgrain 10x)
Afrormosia (endgrain 10x)
Afrormosia (curly)
Afrormosia (curly)
 
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Jamie

I think I have just turned an Afrormosia bowl from a short sleeper sized chunk I found sitting outside. It looks just like the photos here. The smell though! It reeks of foot! I had to strip off in the workshop before I went in the house. Is this common to this timber?

Andy

Most likely it was Dahoma. Commonly used as railway sleepers, in the past and stinks of rotten eggs when freshly cut.

Jamie

Thanks Andy, I don’t see Dahoma in the database here. Is there another name? Also it’s more a ‘footy’ smell. No trace of the sulphuric egg smell.

Tropical ecologist

AFRORMOSIA is a CITES listed endangered tree species from Africa, whose trade is heavily regulated and mostly illegal. PLEASE do NOT buy Afrormosia. Either you are being cheated or you are contributing to the illegal deforestation of tropical African rainforests. Be a conscious buyer.

Arley

I just turned an eight inch bowl using Aformosia yesterday.
1. It’s pretty hard, so i had to sharpen tools about every ten minutes.
2. You don’t get nice long shavings while turning; rather, you get small “chunks” and a lot of dust.
3. The wood polishes very well and easily with sandpaper.
4. It is beautiful when finished = a soft brown with streaks of ivory color.

Pepi mara

Hi, I’m in Ireland. I recently bought a heap of timber sold to me as teak but I’m unsure if it is teak or afromorsia. It’s toungue n groove planks 40mm bolted on edge to form 1.5x1m panels. They were brick curing boards from a factory in Nothern Ireland. I have found quite a few very small insect holes in it as I’m cleaning it up but I can’t tell if they are active or not. Ye are smaller than the average woodworm we get here. Each panel weighs approx 50kg. 6m3 was over 5 tonne. I’m not upset if… Read more »

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Pepi

This is as good as I could do with the camera phone

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Julie Piper

I believe I have a table made of Afromosia. My deceased father in law was a principal at an American school in Legos, Nigeria in the late 60s-70s. It is beautifully hand carve Do! Anyone know what it is worth? Thank you

RON KLEBBA

i am curious if Afrormosia will turn the silver gray color when exposed to natural weathering conditions as Teak does?

David

I hung quite a few doors made of afromosia in Coventry cathedral in late 60s , early 70s, I’ve got an oilstone box made of Afromosia, lovely timber.

lsiders@hotmail.com

can I make a bow out of afromosia?

Dallas D. Enos

What other types of wood do you use for bows?

Grommit

English longbows were made from yew

Watty

Yes you can if your laminating the woods together , I have used Iroko ( another African teak like wood)

Ali Sadaqat

I’m building my new home this year 2015. I’m looking for advise that can i use Afrormosia for my doors in indoor and outdoor. I want to know should it behave good of shrinkage and termite resistant?
Looking for your advise..
Regards

John Gillespie

Around 1964/65 I was an apprentice Carpenter and Joiner working in a woodworking machine shop and was involved with the manufacture of large (approx 4m square) multi sectioned window frames designed for a Hospital complex, – and all made from Afrormosia. Being the 1960’s PPE was unheard of and dust masks or respiratory equipment just weren’t issued! I experienced a reaction to working with this wood after a while and this manifested itself in the form of my body becoming covered in very itchy blotches and with any splinters or ‘skelfs’ which penetrated the skin, (No gloves in those days… Read more »

James Pritchard

I started my carpenter and joiner apprenticeship in 1962. We used aformosa but I did not get any reaction from it or from any other timber.
I agree, not any health and safety in those days except, for what is sadly lacking these days, common sense and the wrath of the foreman if he did not approve of what you were doing,
James

omoty

Pls have u heard about the name ‘ebelebe’. Its d name they call a particular wood in Kogi state. Can someone help me with other names they call it. Thanks

Carla Kelly, luthier

I have a djembe drum from Guinea made of Pericopsis laxiflora, otherwise known as afromosia or, as the drum maker called it, Kolo Kolo. It is considered quite a rare and special wood for drums and I’ve only seen three out of this wood out of many hundreds. It is a wonderful drum wood. I haven’t carved or sanded it, so have no info about problems, but many hardwoods are toxic on the skin or in the lungs. One of the worst is cocobolo, a rosewood. Don’t take chances breathing any hardwood dust. When it mixes with mucous inside the… Read more »

Lawal Ademola

I want to know if the local name for afromosia is Ayin in d western part of Nigeria

Jman

Be very careful when working with this wood. Particularly sanding. Wear a mask. I first hand experienced why you should do this. You do not! This will affect people differently however it is not pleasant whatsoever if you end up being as sensitive to its toxicity as I was. Overall you will be OK as long as you wear respiratory protection and work with it OUTSIDE no matter how small a project.

Segun

Am work on afrormosia elata i need information on d silvicultural treatment

Anthony Ojedokun

I’m working on Afrormosia as my project right.pls helpme out with informations.

Wahab

I wanna use Afromosia elata as project