Sapele (Entandrophragma cylindricum)

Sapele is an imported hardwood


Sapele (Entandrophragma cylindricum) is a large African tree that occurs from Sierra Leone to Angola and eastward through the Congo to Uganda.


The heartwood ranges in color from that of American mahogany (Swietenia macrophylla) to a dark reddish or purplish brown. The lighter-colored and distinct sapwood may be up to 10 cm (4 in.) wide. The texture is rather fine. The grain is interlocked and produces narrow and uniform striping on quarter-sawn surfaces. The wood averages about 674 kg/m3 (42 lb/ft3) at 12% moisture content, and its mechanical properties are in general higher than those of white oak (Quercus alba). The wood works fairly easily with machine tools, although the interlocked grain makes it difficult to plane.

Primary Uses

Sapele finishes and glues well. The heartwood is rated as moderately durable and is resistant to preservative treatment. As lumber, sapele is used for furniture and cabinetwork, joinery, and flooring. As veneer, it is used for decorative plywood.

*Much of the base wood information presented here is made available by the USDA FPL FS. If you are interested in a much more technical description of wood properties, I encourage you to visit the source.