Obeche (Triplochiton scleroxylon)

Obeche (Triplochiton scleroxylon)

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Common Name(s): Obeche

Scientific Name: Triplochiton scleroxylon

Distribution: Tropical West Africa

Tree Size: 65-100 ft (20-30 m) tall, 3-5 ft (1-1.5 m) trunk diameter

Average Dried Weight: 24 lbs/ft3 (380 kg/m3)

Specific Gravity (Basic, 12% MC): .32, .38

Janka Hardness: 430 lbf (1,910 N)

Modulus of Rupture: 8,820 lbf/in2 (60.8 MPa)

Elastic Modulus: 970,000 lbf/in2 (6.69 GPa)

Crushing Strength: 4,250 lbf/in2 (29.3 MPa)

Shrinkage: Radial: 3.1%, Tangential: 5.3%, Volumetric: 8.7%, T/R Ratio: 1.7

Color/Appearance: Heartwood tends to be a pale yellow, with the sapwood not clearly differentiated from the heartwood. Colors darken slightly with age.

Grain/Texture: Grain is interlocked, with a medium to coarse texture and good natural luster.

Endgrain: Diffuse-porous; solitary and radial multiples; very large pores in no specific arrangement, very few; parenchyma vasicentric, diffuse-in-aggregates; narrow to wide rays, spacing normal.

Rot Resistance: Rated as non-durable; poor insect resistance and liable to fungal staining and discoloration if not dried promptly.

Workability: Generally easy to work, though the interlocked grain can cause some rough surfaces in some machining operations. Carves, stains, glues, and finishes well.

Odor: Has a strongly unpleasant odor when green, which mostly disappears once dried.

Allergies/Toxicity: Although severe reactions are quite uncommon, Obeche has been reported as a sensitizer. Usually most common reactions simply include eye, skin, and respiratory irritation, as well as runny nose, sneezing, hives, and asthma-like symptoms. See the articles Wood Allergies and Toxicity and Wood Dust Safety for more information.

Pricing/Availability: Lumber is sometimes available, though it’s primarily exported as veneer or plywood. Obeche is relatively inexpensive for an imported hardwood. 

Sustainability: This wood species is not listed in the CITES Appendices, and is reported by the IUCN as being a species of least concern.

Common Uses: Veneer, plywood, carvings, furniture, and interior millwork.

Comments: This African hardwood is very soft and lightweight, but has a decent strength-to-weight ratio. It’s fairly stable in service, and its bland grain patterns are frequently stained a darker color.

Related Species:

None available.

Related Articles:

None available.

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

Obeche (Triplochiton scleroxylon)

Obeche (sanded)

Obeche (sealed)

Obeche (sealed)

Obeche (endgrain)

Obeche (endgrain)

Obeche (endgrain 10x)

Obeche (endgrain 10x)

7 Comments

  1. Ed January 7, 2019 at 11:12 am - Reply

    Excellent as bench seating in sauna. Used over 25 years with no rot, staining or discolouration. Key feature is that it feels relatively cool to the skin even when the sauna is cranked hot. Better than cedar or pine in this regard although cedar is first choice for sauna walls and ceiling.

  2. Graham VIck December 12, 2018 at 11:14 pm - Reply

    I used to it for building sailing dinghy centreboards and rudders. They would be fibreglass sheathed (8oz and polyester resin). Chosen because it is easily worked, stiff for its weight and the resin adhesion is good.

  3. Marcel Dam January 11, 2017 at 11:28 am - Reply

    Used by Paul Reed Smith Guitars Private Stock Department as bodywood with a quilted or flamed Maple top glued on it. It sounds similar to Mahogany although a little bit brighter.

  4. bivaterl August 18, 2016 at 12:57 am - Reply

    used in tesla dashboards

  5. xy May 15, 2013 at 3:44 am - Reply
    • Jacques de Hooge September 4, 2018 at 8:44 am - Reply

      = abachi

  6. Shane December 8, 2012 at 8:42 pm - Reply

    Lightweight, strong wood with minimal knots. Used for frame construction of racing boats (hydroplanes) because of strength/light weight/straightness. Can be a minor irritant when milling/sanding – recommend using a respirator/mask.

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