Often called African teak, afrormosia grows in relatively dry forests in the Congo basin of west Africa. Typically available in larger leaves than teak, it has a beautiful golden brown color; a fine, uniform texture; natural luster; and a typically straight grain that may produce a broken stripe when quarter cut. This veneer can be stained to a variety of colors and is a popular choice for architectural and boat interiors.
Avodire is a pale yellow African wood with a natural luster, moderate to fine texture, and very little contrast between heartwood and sapwood. A wide range of grain patterns and figures, combined with a shimmery chotoyance (cat’s eye effect), make it popular in cabinetry, furniture, and architectural interiors. Highly figured logs fetch high prices.
In both color and aroma, bosse resembles cedar and for that reason this large West African tree is sometimes called African cedar. The color varies from pale pink to deep mahogany and veneer is often highly figured with fiddleback, mottle, or a highly prized pommele figure—all of which ensure one-of-a-kind architectural installations. Availability and cost can vary widely based on grain patterning and intensity.
Bubinga is a striking veneer with a very broad color spectrum ranging from pink to brownish-red to nearly violet. It has a beautiful texture and fine contrasting growth lines that may be wavy in some logs due to the grain’s interlocked fibers. Bee’s wing and block mottle figures are fairly common. Behemoth lengths and widths make it well suited for large architectural installations. When rotary cut, bubinga is called kevazinga. This African veneer is a sophisticated and elegant choice for interior environments.
While most etimoe trees are tapped for rubber, untapped trees are often sliced to produce this rare and striking veneer. The light red-brown to grey-brown wood has a straight grain, often with striking black-red veins or stripes, and a fine, even, lustrous texture. Etimoe is available in large sizes and in a variety of figures, most commonly curly and fiddleback.
Kevazinga is the name given to Bubinga veneer that has been rotary cut to capitalize on its eccentric grain patterns. This exceptional veneer is red-brown in color; with dark veining, a coarse texture, and a lively, swirly grain interspersed with “peanut” or pommele markings. Highly sought after for high-end cabinetry and architectural use.
The wood is yellowish-white to cream in color and becomes yellowish-grey when steamed. Sliced veneers are used for door skins and inner surface veneers. Rotary veneer is used for plywood panels and bleaching + dying.
Although veneer is often labeled white or black limba, there is really just one limba tree. Black limba refers veneer selected from the darker heartwood of the tree—typically reddish brown with varying degrees of irregular black streaking—and is somewhat more rare than white limba, which is cut from the lighter sapwood of the same tree. Figured wood is highly prized for architectural use.
Equally apt in contemporary, global, and traditional settings, mahogany has been traded from African ports for hundreds of years. Typically red to red-brown, and darker than South American mahoganies, this specie often develops a plain to ropey stripe, and may be marked with highly decorative cross figuring. Crotch veneers with vivid, flame-like patterns are one of nature’s most beautiful works of art.
Also called African cherry, makore shares the light pink to deep red coloring, dark growth lines, and small pores common to cherry. In architectural installations it has the added benefit of availability in large sizes not found in American cherry. Cut on the quarter, makore shows a contrasting stripe that may be plain or crossed with a variety of decorative figures. Flat cut, it bears the distinctive cathedral grain pattern.
One of the largest trees in equatorial Africa, this tropical hardwood’s immense size ensures large leaves and volumes of veneer well suited for architectural use. Regarded for its shimmering luster that refracts light, this species ranges from pinkish brown to rich red in color with a fine, even texture, and a typically straight grain that may be decorated with a wide range of widely variable figures, including a highly prized pommele. As with most veneers, almost every log is unique.
Movingui is an exotic wood with a lustrous surface, fine texture, and bright lemony-gold to orange-brown color. It has a fine, even texture and produces a variety of figures including fiddleback, mottle, and bee’s wing. Deviations in the fiber appear as horizontal stripes that emphasize its satiny finish. Because it resembles satinwood, particularly in its intense luster, it’s sometimes called Nigerian satinwood.
This contrasty African relative of rosewood has a deep brown background with notable dark brown to ebony streaking and a nice natural luster. Outside Africa it’s increasingly used as a more affordable substitute for walnut. Produced in both quarter and flat cut veneers, this intense and well veined veneer is in demand for high-end architectural settings--the stronger the veining, the more valuable the wood. Due to its excellent tonal qualities, the wood is prized for the production of musical instruments.
Sapele varies in color from log to log, but is generally medium to dark red-brown. Finishing brings out an intense depth of color and highlights its natural luster, which is similar to mahogany. This veneer has a fine grain, a distinct and desirable stripe formation, and often carries a lively figure. Flat cut sapele shows the characteristic heart or cathedral grain The highly prized pommele sapele is intensely marked with a swirly grain and randomly interspersed blisters, or pommele markings. A high degree of luster gives sapele a three-dimensional effect.
This African species is easily recognized by its exotic, tiger-like look—deep reddish-orange with dark stripes that vary from fine lines to heavy, pronounced swatches. Like mahoganies, tigerwood has a lustrous surface, good yields, and is highly adaptable for furniture, cabinetwork, and matched architectural paneling.