Afrormosia, also known as African teak (as well as assembla, ayin, egba, kok- rodua and assamela) is an
African species harvested during the
last 50 years almost to extinction. The
main supplies of this tree were in the
Ivory Coast, Ghana, and Nigeria, with
smaller supplies in Cameroon and the
Democratic Republic of Congo.
The wood has traditionally been
used for boat building, joinery, flooring, furniture and even decorative
veneers. It’s considered an excellent
teak substitute. In fact, because the
wood resembles teak in appearance
and has even more attractive strength
and working properties (especially decay and insect resistance and very low
movement with humidity changes), the
tree has been heavily logged during
the past 50 years.
Today, illegal logging and contin-
ued illegal exportation threaten this
tree with extinction. A continued
market demand for this wood today en-
courages these illegal activities and will
eliminate this species from the African
forests in the next decade.
The tree itself may reach as high as
150 feet, with the first branch occurring 100 feet or higher off the ground.
Diameters range from 3 to 5 feet.
When all is considered, it’s the nearly
perfect wood. ;
African teak threatened with extinction.
; Want more? For more on this and other species, search the Wood Explorer collection at
by Gene Wengert
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Density. The wood has a density of
dry lumber just over 40 pounds per cubic
foot. A board foot of kiln-dried lumber
would weigh about 3-1/2 pounds.
Drying. Drying is slow, but without significant quality losses. Shrinkage in drying
is only about 5 percent.
Gluing and machining. The wood
glues with some difficulty. Surfaces must
be very flat and true. Machining charac-
teristics are very good with sharp tools.
Stability. Fairly stable, but not as good
as teak. It takes a 5 percent MC change
for a 1 percent size change in the tangential direction and nearly 10 percent MC
change for a 1 percent change in the
Strength. Strength (MOR) of afrormosia
is 18,400 psi. The bendability (MOE) is
1. 94 million psi. The hardness is 1,560
pounds. For comparison, northern red
oak values are 14,300 psi, 1. 82 million
psi and 1,290 pounds.
Color and grain. Golden tan when
first sawn, but the color rapidly darkens to
a medium to dark brown upon exposure
to air and light.
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