BOTANICAL NAMES: Tieghemella heckelii (syns Dumoria heckelii and Mimusops heckelii) and Tieghemella africana of the family Sapotaceae, the chicle or sapodilla family

COMMON NAMES: abacu (ghana), abaku (ghana), abam, abeco (ghana), acana (central africa), agamokwe (nigeria), aganokwe (ghana and ivory coast and nigeria), aganope (ivory coast), akpa (ghana), babou (ivory coast), babu (ghana and ivory coast), bagwain (ghana and ivory coast), baku (ghana and ivory coast), baku-douka, beujabi (cameroon), boujabi (ivory coast), bulletwood (ghana), butusu (ghana and ivory coast), cherry, dimori (ivory coast), dimpampi (ghana), diutu (ghana), djika (gabon), douka (cameroon and gabon and ghana), duka (cameroon and gabon), dumori (ivory coast), dzurutu (liberia), garesu (ivory coast), gwah (liberia), kondo-findo (zaire), kondofindo, kpo (liberia), m'babou (ivory coast), m'babu (ivory coast), mahogany, makaru (ghana), makore (ghana and ivory coast), makwe (ghana), maori, mbabou (ivory coast), moabiere (gabon), mosime (sierra leone), n'jabi (cameroon), oben mahogany, okola (equatorial guinea), okolla, okolo (ghana), okulaholz (west africa), opepe (ghana), pero d'africa (africa), rubbertree (ghana), wosime (ghana)

TYPE: hardwood

COLOR: heartwood varies from pinkish-red to blood red and red-brown, sometimes streaked with dark lines, with sapwood 2 to 3 in. wide, whitish or light pink, clearly demarcated.

GRAIN: usually straight, but many logs have a decorative moire pattern, or mottled, or even dark streaks. Growth lines and pores are similar to cherry but the rays are weaker than in cherry and the pores in makore, unlike cherry, tend be in radial strands.

TEXTURE: lustrous, uniformly fine-textured (some say medium textured, and I've seen some that I would call medium textured), close in appearance and characteristics to Genuine Mahogany. The first time I got a piece, I really thought that I had been sent mahogany by mistake, until I took a closer look. Freshly cut heartwood would not generally be mistaken for mahogany because of the pink color.

PROPERTIES / WORKABILITY: severe blunting of cutters due to silica content. Below 20% moisture content, carbide saw blades are required. Tends to split in nailing, but holds screws well. works reasonably well with hand and machine tools, good veneering properties, good gluing properties.

DURABILITY: Heartwood is highly durable and resistant to termite attack but susceptible to attack by powder post beetle and also extremely resistant to preservative treatment; sapwood liable to powder-post beetle attack and moderately resistant to preservative treatment.

FINISH: Excellent finish is obtained if filler is used (it can be a little grainy and a filler smooths it out). Stains well.

STABILITY: Movement in service is rated as small.

BENDING: Heartwood is suitable for moderate steam bending, however sapwood will buckle.


SOURCES: Central Africa along the Western coast from Sierra Leone to Cameroon, Gabon, and south to Cabinda; widely distributed in the high rain forests.

USES: Furniture, cabinetwork, turning, high-class joinery, interior fittings, lab benches, paneling, flooring, marine plywood, decorative veneers.

TREE: Reaches a height of 180 to 200 ft; boles straight, cylindrical, and clear to 100 ft, free of buttresses; trunk diameters generally about 4 ft but may be up to 10 ft.

WEIGHT: about 40 pounds per cubic foot

DRYING: SEASONING: Dries either slowly or rapidly depending on who you read, tends to twist or split around knots, otherwise little degradation.

AVAILABILITY: readily available

COST: normally listed as expensive, but that has not been my experience. I've obtained what I find to be very attractive pieces (but with no figuring, just straight grain) for less than $1.50/BF ($3+/BF with shipping).

TOXICITY: For some users, Makore dust is severely irritating to eyes, nose and throat. Skin irritation can occur for others who are individually allergic to wood dust.

COMMENTS: Liable to blue stain if in contact with iron compounds in moist conditions.

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