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Iroko

Iroko (Milicia excelsa)

Iroko is an imported hardwood

Location

Iroko consists of two species (Milicia excelsa [= Chlorophora excelsa] and M. regia [= C. regia]). Milicia excelsa grows across the entire width of tropical Africa from the Ivory Coast southward to Angola and eastward to East Africa. Milicia regia, however, is limited to extreme West Africa from Gambia to Ghana; it is less resistant to drought than is M. excelsa.

Characteristics

The heartwood varies from a pale yellowish brown to dark chocolate brown with light markings occurring most conspicuously on flat-sawn surfaces; the sapwood is yellowish white. The texture is medium to coarse, and the grain is typically interlocked. Iroko can be worked easily with hand or machine tools but with some tearing of interlocked grain. Occasional deposits of calcium carbonate severely damage cutting edges. The wood dries rapidly with little or no degrade. The strength is similar to that of red maple (Acer rubrum), and the weight is about 688 kg/m3 (43 lb/ft3) at 12% moisture content. The heartwood is very resistant to decay fungi and resistant to termite and marine borer attack.

Primary Uses

Because of its color and durability, iroko has been suggested as a substitute for teak (Tectona grandis). Its durability makes it suitable for boat building, piles, other marine work, and railroad crossties. Other uses include joinery, flooring, furniture, veneer, and cabinetwork. 
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