Sapele hardwood is durable and long-lasting, known for its strength, stability & resistance to decay & insect damage


Sapele hardwood is a versatile wood commonly used in furniture manufacture, interior and exterior construction.  Rated as ‘moderately durable’ to ‘very durable’, Sapele is a long-lasting, tropical wood species known for its strength, stability and resistance to decay and insect damage. Sapele’s  hardness rating is similar to that of European Oak, making it a good choice for heavy-use applications such as flooring and stairs.

Premier Forest Products can machine Sapele hardwood to order in standard and bespoke profiles, including window sills and door linings.  We also offer bespoke joinery solutions using sapele.

Sapele hardwood can vary in colour depending on the specific tree and growing conditions, but generally it is a reddish-brown colour with a straight grain pattern. The colour can range from a light pinkish brown to a dark purplish brown. It may also have a slight purple or reddish cast. The sapwood (the outer edge of the log) is usually a pale-yellow colour. Sapele hardwood can also have a unique and attractive ribbon-stripe figure in the grain, which is often sought after by woodworkers and furniture makers.

Sapele is also resistant to rot and decay, making it suitable for outdoor use. It is also naturally resistant to termite and other insect infestation. Properly finished and maintained, Sapele hardwood flooring, furniture, or millwork can last for many years and provide a beautiful and durable surface. It’s important to note, however, that all wood can be affected by changes in humidity, temperature and exposure to water, so it’s always recommended to apply the right finish and sealants to ensure the longevity of the wood; please call us if you need advice.

Sapele at a glance:

  • Botanical name: Entandrophragma cylindricum
  • Common names: Sapele, sapelli, aboudikro
  • Color: Reddish-brown with a straight grain pattern, can range from a light pinkish brown to a dark purplish brown, sometimes with a slight purple or reddish tone.
  • Grain: Usually straight, but can also be interlocked, wavy or irregular. The wood can also have a unique and attractive ribbon-stripe figure in the grain.
  • Texture: Medium to coarse
  • Hardness: Janka hardness rating* of 1,410 lbf (6,320 N) similar to European Oak
  • Durability: Moderately durable to very durable, resistant to rot and decay
  • Density: Approx 550-670 kg/m3
  • Workability: Easy to work with hand and power tools, glues, stains and finishes well, but can cause blunting of cutting edges.
  • Stability: Stable

*The Janka hardness test measures the resistance of a sample of wood to denting and wear.


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