Sapele, also called Sapelli and Sapeli(scientific name: Entandrophragmacylindricum), has a heartwood of golden to dark red-brown. Its texture is fine and uniform, luster is good and grain is interlocked, occasionally wavy.

Quarter cut/sawn wood shows a common ribbon pattern. Other grain patterns that can be seen are pommelS, quilted, mottled, wavy, beeswing, and fiddleback.

Sapele is commonly found in tropical Africa. It ranges from moderate to very durable for decay resistance, and is moderately resistant to insect attack.

Janka Hardness :

6,280 N(1,410 lbf)

Average Dried Weight :

670 kg/m3(42 lbs/ft3)

Workability :

Interlocked grain makes it difficult to work within machining operations such as planning and routing, and makes it prone to tear-out. It has a slight blunting effect on cutting tools. Direct contact with the iron causes discoloration and staining. It is good with glues and finishes well.


Pricing / Availability

While veneer and figured lumber made out of Sapele’s premium variants such as pommel Sapele and quilted Sapele are often very costly, its quarter-sawn and plain-sawn variants are relatively reasonably priced.



Sapele is listed in the IUCN’s Red List as ‘vulnerable’ because of a one-fifth decrease in its population in just the last 3 generations brought about by human exploitation and a natural decline in its range. It is, however, not listed in the CITES Appendices.


Common Uses

As it a moderate to expensive ranging exotic wood, Sapele has both common and premium applications; ranging from its use in the manufacture of boats, furniture, cabinetry, veneer, as plywood and the manufacture of finer objects such as musical instruments and fine specialty wooden objects.

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