Common Name(s): Ekki, Azobe
Scientific Name: Lophira alata
Distribution: West Africa
Tree Size: 100-150 ft (30-46 m) tall, 5-6 ft (1.5-1.8 m) trunk diameter
Average Dried Weight: 66 lbs/ft3 (1,065 kg/m3)
Specific Gravity (Basic, 12% MC): .82, 1.06
Janka Hardness: 3,220 lbf (14,330 N)
Modulus of Rupture: 28,390 lbf/in2 (195.8 MPa)
Elastic Modulus: 2,754,000 lbf/in2 (18.99 GPa)
Crushing Strength: 13,890 lbf/in2 (95.8 MPa)
Shrinkage: Radial: 8.0%, Tangential: 11.1%, Volumetric: 18.3%, T/R Ratio: 1.4
Color/Appearance: Heartwood is a dark reddish or violet brown. Pores contain light-colored mineral deposits which form small but conspicuous streaks throughout the wood. Sapwood is a pale pinkish white, with a gradual transition zone between the heartwood and sapwood.
Grain/Texture: Grain is interlocked, with a coarse texture and low natural luster.
Endgrain: Diffuse-porous; predominantly in radial multiples; very large pores in no specific arrangement, very few; light-colored mineral deposits common; parenchyma banded; narrow rays, spacing fairly close.
Rot Resistance: Rated as very durable, with good resistance to insect attacks. Good weathering characteristics.
Workability: Difficult to work on account of its density and interlocked grain, which can cause tearout. Ekki also has a pronounced blunting effect on cutting edges. Gluing can also pose problems due to its density and oil content.
Odor: No characteristic odor.
Allergies/Toxicity: Although severe reactions are quite uncommon, Ekki has been reported to cause skin irritation. See the articles Wood Allergies and Toxicity and Wood Dust Safety for more information.
Pricing/Availability: Ekki is seldom available in the United States, though it tends to be more readily available in Europe. Prices are expected to be in the mid to high range for an imported hardwood.
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: Bridges, boatbuilding, marine applications, decking, and flooring.
Comments: This tough, durable wood can be difficult to work, but its longevity (especially in marine applications) make it well worth the effort.
Scans/Pictures: A special thanks to Steve Earis for providing the wood sample of this wood species.