BOTANICAL NAME: Pericopsis angolensis, Pericopsis elata (syn Afrormosia elata), Pericopsis laxifloraof, and Pericopsis mooniana, all of the family Fabaceae (syn Leguminosae) the legume, pea, or bean family
COMMON NAMES: abonsannua (ghana), afrormosia, afrormosia (central africa and congo and germany and ghana and ivory coast and zimbabwe), afrormosia blanc (ivory coast), afrormosia blanco (ivory coast), anyeran (congo and ghana and nigeria), anyeran (nigeria), asamela (congo and ghana and ivory coast), assamela (congo and ghana and ivory coast), assemela (ivory coast), awawai (central africa), ayin (congo and ghana and nigeria), ayin egbi (nigeria), bafini (ivory coast), baracara, bohala (congo and ghana), bohalala (zaire), bohele (ghana and zaire), bois couloucoulou (senegal), bonsamdua (ghana), chianga (zimbabwe), coulo-coulo (senegal), coulou coulou (senegal), devil's tree, dienva (ghana), dua abae (ghana), dua anyan (ghana), dua kobin (ghana), duabai (ghana), duabay (nigeria), duakobin (nigeria), egbi (congo and ghana and nigeria), egen, ejen (cameroon and congo and ghana), elo (nigeria), elouta (nigeria), ghana asamela (ghana), igapo, ipil ayer (sabah), jatobahy do igapo, joemoek (indonesia and irian barat and sri lanka), kayu kuku (indonesia), kayu laut (borneo), kokorodua (central africa), kokriki, kokrodua (central africa and congo and ghana and ivory coast and zaire), kolo-kolo (brazil and guinea and ivory coast and malaysia and senegal), kuku (indonesia and sumatra), maco (angola), makapilit (philippines and sumatra), makarfo (nigeria), mbanga (tanzania), mekoe, mgando (tanzania), mohole (ghana), molole (zaire), moobanga (zaire), muanga (central africa), mubamku (central africa), mubanga (central africa and tanzania and zambia), mulanga (zaire), muvanga (zimbabwe), muwanga (zimbabwe), mwanga (central africa), nani-laoet (irian barat and sri lanka), nedum, nedun (indonesia and irian barat and sri lanka), obang (cameroon and ghana), ole (congo and ghana and zaire), ole pardo, oleo pardo (congo and ghana), pau de sangue branco (ivory coast), peonio, pericopsis (irian barat), pericopsiswood (borneo), redbark, satinwood, teak, tento, umbango (zimbabwe), wahala (congo and ghana)
COLOR: heartwood medium to rich brown, sometimes with a tint of to yellow or green, darkens with long exposure to the colour of teak but unlike teak the color does not bleach out with age, sapwood narrow and lighter in color and clearly demarcated
Dark stains liable to appear if the wood is in contact with iron under damp conditions.
GRAIN: usually straight but sometimes interlocked with a regular wave. One report says "interesting grain" but that has not been my experience and the web pics I have seen and collected do not support it either, although that does of course depend on what you consider "interesting". Quartersawn surfaces reportedly exhibit a mottled figure but I haven't seen this, although I have seen ribbon stripes. One report says that the annual rings are usually distinct because of darker bands of dry-season material, but that has not been my experience nor do I see it in the many web pics I have accumulated. The growth rings are certainly evident, but not a standout the way they are in some woods.
TEXTURE: medium to fine with a medium luster
PROPERTIES / WORKABILITY: A dense, heavy, strong wood with high bending strength, medium stiffness, and high crushing strength. Reports pretty consistently say it works well with hand and machine tools for routing, mortising and so forth and it finishes cleanly, turns satisfactorily, glues easily, sands moderately easily, saws well, carves well, and can be planed smooth (but watch out for interlocking grain), but is difficult to nail. Has moderate blunting effect on cutting edges. My own experience is that it is sometimes too tough to say that it works well with hand tools and smaller nails would rather bend than go into it so I'd say preboring is a must for screwing and nailing but holding properties are excellent.
DURABILITY: heartwood is rated as very durable and could last for more than 25 years in contact with the ground. Highly resistant to termite attack but also extremely resistant to preservative treatments --- sapwood fairly permeable. Should not be used in contact with iron and iron compounds under moist conditions, since corrosion will promote discoloration in the wood.
FINISH: Can be polished to a very smooth high finish, takes stains well.
STABILITY: Movement in service is rated as very small
BENDING: moderate steam-bending properties, with some tendancy to distort.
ODOR: There is no characteristic odor or taste.
SOURCES: West Africa, mainly Ghana and the Ivory Coast but also Nigeria and Mozambique, gregarious, grows in both wet and dry areas. Other countries I have seen mentioned include Cameroon, Congo, and Zaire
USES: a wide range of interior and exterior uses including boat building, decks, heavy construction, flooring, furniture and joinery. Is considered an excellent teak substitute. Also used for boxes and crates, canoes, chairs, charcoal, chests, concealed parts (furniture), decorative veneer, desks, dining-room furniture, domestic flooring, drawer sides, excelsior, figured veneer, fine furniture, floor lamps, furniture components, furniture squares or stock, hatracks, interior construction, joinery, kitchen cabinets, lifeboats, living-room suites, office furniture, parquet flooring, plywood, poles, posts, radio, railroad ties, rustic furniture, shipbuilding, stair rails, stairworks, stereo, stools, stringers, sub-flooring, tables, tv cabinets, utility furniture, veneer, wardrobes, wheel spokes, and wheels.
TREE: may reach a height of 150 ft; bole somewhat irregular, clear to 90 to 100 ft, buttressed to 8 ft and then fluted; trunk diameters 3 to 6 ft.
WEIGHT: about 44 to 48 lbs / cu. ft.
DRYING: Dries rather slowly with little degrade apart from slight warp and sometimes slight surface checking. Reports rate it from fairly easy to fairly difficult to dry and that kiln drying rate is rapid and air drying is slow. Shrinkage is: radial 3%, tangential 6%, volumetric 11%
TOXICITY: The sawdust is reported to be an eye irritant, good ventilation needed.
AVAILABILITY: fairly readily available
COST: low to moderate
COMMENTS: Many reports note a similarity to teak, and several mention that it is favored over teak by some boat builders because the color darkens with age rather than bleaching out the way teak does. It is stonger and less oily than teak and is easier to glue.
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Popular substitute for Philippine Mahogany exhibiting similar color and machining characteristics
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Al Matulevich of the David R. Webb Co. Inc, in Edinburgh, IN, calls afrormosia an esoteric import. "We donít get many calls for it, but when we do itís for wall paneling and furniture." Matulevich agreed that afrormosia has long been substituted for and compared to teak. "In the trades it was once known as the "poor manís teak" because of its appearance and cheaper price. It also was known for a time as "bar teaky" in the trades to play up on the teak resemblance," Matulevich. said.