Common Name(s): Limba, korina, afara, black limba, white limba
Scientific Name: Terminalia superba
Distribution: Tropical western Africa
Tree Size:65- 100 ft (20-30 m) tall,
5-7 ft (1.5-2.2 m) trunk diameter
Average Dried Weight: 35 lbs/ft3 (555 kg/m3)
Specific Gravity (Basic, 12% MC): 0.43, 0.56
Janka Hardness: 670 lbf (2,990 N)
Modulus of Rupture: 12,510 lbf/in2 (86.2 MPa)
Elastic Modulus: 1,520,000 lbf/in2 (10.49 GPa)
Crushing Strength: 6,580 lbf/in2 (45.4 MPa)
Shrinkage: Radial: 4.3%, Tangential: 6.3%,
Volumetric: 10.8%, T/R Ratio: 1.5
Color/Appearance: Heartwood is a light yellowish to golden brown, sometimes with grey to nearly black streaks and veins. Wood with such darker figuring is referred to as black limba, while plain unfigured wood is called white limba. Sapwood is a pale greyish to yellowish brown, not clearly demarcated from the heartwood. Overall color tends to darken with age.
Grain/Texture: Grain is straight to slightly interlocked, with a uniformly coarse texture. Moderate natural luster.
Rot Resistance: Rated as non-durable, and also susceptible to insect attack.
Workability: Easy to work with both hand and machine tools. Contains a small amount of silica, but blunting effect on cutters is usually small. Glues and finishes well.
Odor: Limba has a mild odor while being worked.
Allergies/Toxicity: Although severe reactions are quite uncommon, limba has been reported to cause skin and respiratory irritation, as well hives, asthma-like symptoms, and bleeding of the nose and gums. Splinters also tend to become infected and take longer than usual to heal. See the articles Wood Allergies and Toxicity and Wood Dust Safety for more information.
Pricing/Availability: In relatively good supply and available in board and veneer form. Prices for white limba are moderate for an imported hardwood, though figured wood such as the more popular black limba is more expensive.
Sustainability: This wood species is not listed in the CITES Appendices or on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Although the species has been cultivated on plantations for timber, wild supplies seem to have diminished in some regions, such as the Republic of the Congo.Lemmens, R. H. M. J., Louppe, D., & Oteng-Amoako, A. A. (2012). Timbers 2 (Vol. 7, p. 631). PROTA. Its unevaluated status by the IUCN is an unfortunate omission.
Common Uses: Veneer, plywood, furniture, musical instruments (primarily electric guitar bodies), and turned objects.
Comments: Despite the black-and-white difference in names, both black limba and white limba come from the same tree species, Terminalia superba.
In veneer form, this wood goes by a number of commercial names, such as afara, frake, korina, and ofram. In addition to its decorative use in veneer, limba has a reputation for possessing good tonal qualities and is frequently used in electric guitar bodies (marketed under the name korina).
Images: Drag the slider up/down to toggle between raw and finished wood. The first sample shows black limba, while the second is an example of unfigured white limba.
A special thanks to Steve Earis for providing a veneer sample of white limba.
Porosity: diffuse porous; in some samples growth rings are subtly discernible due to decrease in pore frequency in latewood
Arrangement: solitary and radial multiples
Vessels: medium to very large, very few; tyloses occasionally present
Parenchyma: vasicentric, winged, and confluent
Rays: narrow width, normal to close spacing; rays not visible without hand lens
Lookalikes/Substitutes: Can be confused with the closely related idigbo (Terminalia ivorensis). However, despite the similar appearance and weight, limba very frequently has elongated winged parenchyma, while idigbo has more modest parenchyma that’s usually just vasicentric, or mildly lozenge and confluent.
|↑1||Lemmens, R. H. M. J., Louppe, D., & Oteng-Amoako, A. A. (2012). Timbers 2 (Vol. 7, p. 631). PROTA.|