Common Name(s): Obeche, ayous
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.
Scans/Pictures: A special thanks to Steve Earis for providing the wood sample of this wood species.