In its native Africa, this handsome, rot- and bug-resistant, very durable wood has been used as a substitute for Teak (thus earning its nickname, “African Teak”). While having a similar look, it also has working and mechanical properties which mimic Teak while having none of its oiliness. (Afrormosia has a well-established track record for holding up in the most extreme conditions, proving the comparisons well justified.) Its heartwood color can be a muted tan, muted gold or any of a series of light- to medium-colored browns (from very muted to slightly, in hue), highlight by darker stripes, of varying degrees and coloration, which can run the length of its typically straight or wavy (though sometimes interlocked). Despite its similar “fuzzy” appearance (to that of Teak), it is fine grained, presenting a nice natural luster when sanded. Over time, the wood will darken, rendering an appearance often more like that of Black Walnut than of Teak. Despite being considerably harder than Teak, Afrormosia is generally very workable, and it turns, glues and finishes well.
Sustainability: This species is in CITES Appendix II, and is classified as “Endangered” on the IUCN Red List.
Common uses: Boatbuilding, veneer, flooring, cabinetry, furniture and turnings.
Comments: Afrormosia is a very durable wood, and it works well with either hand or machine tools. Despite being tough, it is also flexible — having been used in boatbuilding in Africa for centuries. It turns, glues and finishes well. Its sometimes wavy grain patterns can make it a very aesthetically pleasing exotic wood, as well. This versatile wood has proven itself throughout the respective indigenous regions of its native continent of Africa.
Afrormosia is well known and popular throughout Europe, boasting a pedigree of being a preferred wood for home interiors: providing a rich, luxurious option for cabinetry, trim and fine furniture. Given its moderate price range, great durability and handsome looks, this wood has untapped potential here in the US — with woodturners, furniture makers and musical instrument craftsmen, alike.