Sapele, Entandrophragma cylindricum
Sapele is widely imported from Africa, because of the many uses. It is occasionally used as a substitute for Genuine Mahogany, and is sometimes referred to as “Sapele Mahogany.” Technically, the two genera that are commonly associated with mahogany are Swietenia and Khaya, while Sapele is in the Entandrophragma genus, but all three are included in the broader Meliaceae family, so comparisons to true mahogany may not be too far fetched.
Sapele can be troublesome to work in some machining operations, (i.e., planing, routing, etc.), resulting in tearout due to its interlocked grain. Sapele has a slight blunting effect on cutters, but it turns, glues, and finishes well. Uses include Veneer, plywood, furniture, cabinetry, flooring, boatbuilding, musical instruments, turned objects, and other small wooden specialty items.
Heartwood is a golden to dark reddish brown. Color tends to darken with age. Besides the common ribbon pattern seen on quartersawn boards, Sapele is also known for a wide variety of other figured grain patterns, such as: pommele, quilted, mottled, wavy, beeswing, and fiddleback. The grain is interlocked, and sometimes wavy. Fine uniform texture and good natural luster.