Zebrawood (Microberlinia brazzavillensis)
Zebrawood (Microberlinia brazzavillensis)

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Common Name(s): Zebrawood, Zebrano

Scientific Name: Microberlinia brazzavillensis

Distribution: West Africa

Tree Size: 65-130 ft (20-40 m) tall, 4-5 ft (1.2-1.5 m) trunk diameter

Average Dried Weight: 50 lbs/ft3 (805 kg/m3)

Specific Gravity (Basic, 12% MC): .67, .81

Janka Hardness: 1,830 lbf (8,160 N)

Modulus of Rupture: 17,800 lbf/in2 (122.8 MPa)

Elastic Modulus: 2,374,000 lbf/in2 (16.37 GPa)

Crushing Strength: 9,210 lbf/in2 (63.5 MPa)

Shrinkage: Radial: 7.6%, Tangential: 10.8%, Volumetric: 17.8%, T/R Ratio: 1.4

Color/Appearance: Heartwood is a light brown or cream color with dark blackish brown streaks vaguely resembling a zebra’s stripes. Depending on whether the wood is flatsawn or quartersawn, the stripes can be either chaotic and wavy (flatsawn), or somewhat uniform (quartersawn).

Grain/Texture: Has a fairly coarse texture and open pores. Grain is usually wavy or interlocked.

Endgrain: Diffuse-porous; large to very large pores in no specific arrangement, few to very few; solitary and radial multiples of 2-3; heartwood deposits (brown) occasionally present; narrow rays not visible without lens, spacing fairly close; parenchyma diffuse-in-aggregates, unilateral, vasicentric, winged, lozenge, and confluent, and banded (marginal).

Rot Resistance: Heartwood is rated as durable and is also resistant to insect damage.

Workability: The wood saws well, but can be very difficult to plane or surface due to the prevalence of interlocking grain. Tearout is common. Zebrawood glues and finishes well, though a transparent pore filler may be necessary for the large open pores which occur on both dark and light surfaces.

Odor: Has a characteristic, unpleasant smell when being worked.

Allergies/Toxicity: Although severe reactions are quite uncommon, Zebrawood has been reported as a sensitizer. Usually most common reactions simply include eye and skin irritation. See the articles Wood Allergies and Toxicity and Wood Dust Safety for more information.

Pricing/Availability: Zebrawood tends to be fairly expensive, though usually not as prohibitively expensive as other exotics such as Ebony or Rosewood.

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. (A closely-related, lesser-used species in Cameroon, Microberlinia bisulcata, is also listed as critically endangered.)

Common Uses: Zebrawood is frequently quartersawn and used as veneer. Other uses include: tool handles, furniture, boatbuilding, and skis.

Comments: Sometimes called Zebrano, the wood is strong and stiff, with a fairly high density. However, the wood is much more frequently used for its bold and unique striping.

Related Species:

None available.

Related Articles:

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

Zebrawood (sanded)
Zebrawood (sanded)
Zebrawood (sealed)
Zebrawood (sealed)
Zebrawood (endgrain 10x)
Zebrawood (endgrain 10x)
Zebrawood (turned)
Zebrawood (turned)
Zebrawood and Chechen (book)
Zebrawood and Chechen (Bible)
Zebrawood (19" x 6.9")
Zebrawood (19″ x 6.9″)

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Sarah Howell
Sarah Howell

I have a slice of this zebrano wood out of which I would like to make a kitchen work top saver. Cutting vege or bread. Can i ask everyone’s opinions please. I also have another question for you knowledgeable people, Nyatta hardwood, I got my dad a new bench for his birthday, advertised as Nyatta. But I can’t find it on any wood data base. Help please in identifying this woods origin and future care. Many thanks Sarah.https://www.gardensandhomesdirect.co.uk/balmoral-hardwood-companion-garden-bench.html

Mark

This wood is very beautiful, it is used for many workmanships, in Europe also for fashion accessories.
The important thing is to preserve the natural forests, and to buy it only from areas of cultivation of wood!

Cristina
Cristina

Wow, Very Cool!

Harrison
Harrison

This true. My piece of zebra came from the Rocker Wood working store scrap bin.

Reese O'Toole
Reese O'Toole

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Just got this supposed Zebrawood watch, made by Joycoast. Do you think this is genuine Zebrawood? Either way – it is definitely real wood, lightweight, and unique.

Jess Louwagie

Im wondering if anyone has advice for repairing or restoring zebrawood with water damage. Love this table, but over time and a recent leak has been damaged. Hoping it can be repaired

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John House
John House

Front & Back of REAL Zebrawood SG Style (With matching pickguard from the area on the plank no less, matches pattern.)made for me by a Chinese Company i Don’t know if I can mention them or not… I’ll place the bridge myself. It’s unfinished… I’ll sand & seal it, toss in 3HHH 4DPDT & a 6way switch… then i’ll turn it up to 11.

David Winograsky
David Winograsky

I would bet my entire wood stash… That is not “real” zeberawood. I have handled thousands of board feet of the stuff. That is defiantly some kind of dyed laminated man made product. Probably made from layers of birch or something similar.

Phil Terrell
Phil Terrell

Wouldn’t birch laminate be significantly heavier? These bodies are comparable in weight to ash and alder. And zebrano is less expensive than sitka spruce and wenge and mahogany. And mahogany is standard even in cheap Chinese Epiphones. I don’t see why the assumption would be that this is NOT zebra wood. Especially since this is China we’re talking about. China doesn’t care what you import and they don’t care about sustainable forestry. And they pay lumberjacks less than $10 a day.

Spaltkinguitars
Spaltkinguitars

Can anyone identify this wood type? I was told it was zebrawood but its clearly not. Orange stripes on dark dense wood. Cheers

David Hall
David Hall

The term zebra wood has been used for three different species. Check on wikipidia

GM Reszel

It’s a beautifully dyed piece of plywood. Looks fantastic!

Guest
Guest

My custom made Zebra wood horse bow from Attila’s Archery.

Silntrob74
Silntrob74

I just found some zebra wood scales in an old box and it has a slight bow in it. What is the best way to straighten the scales before I start my next knife

Tami
Tami

try Hardwood Lumber & Millwork in Lakeland, FL

Michael Bailey
Michael Bailey

Just used some of this for a knife project…sands well and I don’t mind the open pores. Coated with wipe-on poly:

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James Foley
James Foley

I am also using zebrawood scales for a knife handle. Now that I see yours, I will have to be patient and do it right. I do not want to rush and ruin it. Did you use linseed oil on it? I sometimes use a clear acrylic on handles, but for this blade linseed oil may be what I will use.

Michael Bailey
Michael Bailey

I used Minwax Wipe-on Poly in clear satin. Just wiped it on about 10+times, (not really paying attention to the directions) every couple hours if it seemed dry enough. Used a cotton swab for the nooks and crannies, and just kept the rag in a ziploc bag. Worked out really well, although I’m sure you could use linseed or tung oil. I just wanted a little more water resistance, and the poly goes on in such thin coats it really brings out the wood grain. Good luck with your knife project!

Jamie welsh
Jamie welsh

I make handcrafted cajons. The look of this wood gives a great contrast
to a lot of other woods. I like to use this wood for the head of the
drum. The head of these drums are planed down to 1/8″ thick. It does
tear out badly! Usually at the ends. I have also made a full body cajon
of this wood. The sound quality of this drum is amazing. I really like
this wood.

Chris
Chris

Can someone help me, I am looking for a good wood filler for Zebra Wood.
I enjoy making things from this lumber, but find that after much time
of sanding the end grain holds a pore finish, any brand or store that
sells wood filler and finish for Zebra Wood be great thanks

Jamie welsh
Jamie welsh

I make handcrafted cajons. The look of this wood gives a great contrast to a lot of other woods. I like to use this wood for the head of the drum. The head of these drums are planed down to 1/8″ thick. It does tear out badly! Usually at the ends. I have also made a full body cajon of this wood. The sound quality of this drum is amazing. I really like this wood.

Spencer
Spencer

Zebrawood is dense, hard, and beautiful. It doesn’t need to be heavily finished for the grain to dazzle. I have made few things with it, but nothing too great. I do have a friend who has been making wood sunglasses out of zebrawood for sometime now. He says it is the perfect wood because it is so hard… he’s been trying to get me to buy a pair from him

Toph
Toph

Recently built a table with zebrawood inlay. This required a large amount of sanding. Halfway through I developed a severe hayfever like allergy and could not wor for 2 days despite wearing a dusk mask.

Corey Jean
Corey Jean

Built a 63 foot bar top for a restaurant in Madison WI out of Zebrawood. Throughout the process of sanding, cutting, etc… a lot of people around the bar top had bad allergic reactions to the dust and shavings. I was sick for a week

Chris
Chris

Can someone help me, I am looking for a good wood filler for Zebra Wood. I enjoy making things from this lumber, but find that after much time of sanding the end grain holds a pore finish, any brand or store that sells wood filler and finish for Zebra Wood be great thanks
Chris

George Kinketh
George Kinketh

Hi sir ,
i wish just to know if the wood zebrano is found in cameroon . if possible where in cameroon in which part o the country.
thanks