Classic Timber Choices: the Benefits of Sapele

Classic Timber Choices: the Benefits of Sapele

Published on Friday, November 17, 2017

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Sapele is a wonderful timber to use if you are looking for the perfect plywood, or to create veneers, thanks to its excellent strength. In bite size format, we’ve got all the important information about sapele right here...

What can Sapele be used for?

Its unusual colouring makes it perfect for creating small wooden specialty items. However, Sapele is most commonly used for making:

  • Veneers
  • Plywood
  • Furniture
  • Cabinetry
  • Flooring
  • Boatbuilding
  • Musical instruments
  • Turned objects

What does Sapele look like?

Sapele has a medium to fairly dark reddish / brown heartwood, and can often be spotted with a well-marked stripe. In contrast, the sapwood is a whitish or pale yellow.

Sapele’s working properties

Though Sapele dries fairly rapidly, it does have a tendency to distort during this process. It is good for nailing, and has good gluing properties. It has an excellent polished finish, but care must be taken when staining.


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Sapele timber profile:

  • Strength: Excellent
  • Weight: 620kg/m3
  • Typically grows: Western Africa
  • Maximum tree height: Around 45m with a diameter averaging at 1.5m
  • Availability: Widely available
  • Fun fact: Sapele composes over 70 percent of the timber harvested in the northern Congo

Sapele is a truly stunning type of timber. Come and see for yourself at our Joinery & Woodworking Centre!