Common Name(s): Afzelia, Doussie
Scientific Name: Afzelia spp.
Distribution: Africa and southeast Asia
Tree Size: 80-120 ft (25-37 m) tall, 3-5 ft (1-1.5 m) trunk diameter
Average Dried Weight: 50 lbs/ft3 (805 kg/m3)
Specific Gravity (Basic, 12% MC): .67, .80
Janka Hardness: 1,810 lbf (8,050 N)
Modulus of Rupture: 17,740 lbf/in2 (122.3 MPa)
Elastic Modulus: 2,094,000 lbf/in2 (14.44 GPa)
Crushing Strength: 10,750 lbf/in2 (74.1 MPa)
Shrinkage: Radial: 2.3%, Tangential: 3.9%, Volumetric: 6.3%, T/R Ratio: 1.7
Color/Appearance: Heartwood is a reddish brown. Well defined sapwood is a pale yellowish white. Color tends to darken with age. Pieces containing pommele or blistered figure are sometimes sold under the name Afzelia xylay, which is a shortened version of the botanical name of a particular Asian species, Afzelia xylocarpa.
Grain/Texture: Grain is interlocked with a uniform medium to coarse texture; naturally lustrous.
Endgrain: Diffuse-porous; large to very large pores, few to very few; solitary and radial multiples of 2-3; yellowish brown heartwood deposits present; parenchyma banded (marginal), paratracheal parenchyma vasicentric, aliform (lozenge), and confluent; narrow rays, spacing normal.
Rot Resistance: Rated as very durable. Moderately resistant to termites, and variously resistant/susceptible to other insect attacks.
Workability: Generally considered somewhat difficult to work on account of its interlocked grain, causing tearout during machining operations. Afzelia also has a pronounced dulling effect on cutters. Gluing and finishing can be variable, and some species contain water-soluble yellow deposits in the pores which can pose challenges in staining or finishing with water-based products.
Odor: No characteristic odor.
Allergies/Toxicity: Although severe reactions are quite uncommon, Afzelia has been reported to cause skin, eye, and respiratory irritation, as well as sneezing. See the articles Wood Allergies and Toxicity and Wood Dust Safety for more information.
Pricing/Availability: Prices for clear lumber tend to be moderate for an imported hardwood, though Afzelia is more often sold in smaller pieces of figured wood and burls, which are much more expensive.
Sustainability: Afzelia is on the IUCN Red List. Depending on the species, it is listed as vulnerable to endangered due to a population reduction of at least 20% to 50% in the past three generations, caused by a decline in its natural range, and exploitation.
Common Uses: Furniture, cabinetry, veneer, flooring, docks, boatbuilding, exterior millwork and construction, turned objects, inlays, and other small specialty wood items.
Comments: Sometimes sold under the name Doussie, Afzelia has been compared to both Mahogany and Teak for its favorable appearance, durability, and stability. For smaller projects, highly figured pieces of Afzelia are popular for a stunning, almost three-dimensional grain effect.
Scans/Pictures: A special thanks to Justin Holden for providing the wood sample of this wood species.