Medium to dark reddish-brown heartwood. Interlocked or wavy grain with fairly fine texture. Used for furniture, interior and exterior joinery, solid doors and flooring.
The heartwood has a medium to dark reddish-brown colour, characterised by a well-defined ribbon striped figure on quartered surfaces. Sometimes, when wavy grain is present, a very attractive fiddleback figure, roe figure or occasionally, beautiful mottled figure is obtained. The grain is interlocked or wavy and the texture fairly fine. Has a cedar-like scent when freshly cut. The timber is liable to ring or cup shakes. Weight varies between 560-690 kg/m3 (35-43 lb/ft3) averages about 620 kg/m3 (39 lb/ft3); specific gravity .62.
Despite high crushing and medium bending strength and resistance to shock loads, with a low stiffness category, sapele has a poor steam bending classification as the wood buckles and ruptures severely.
Dries fairly rapidly with a marked tendency to distort. Quartered material is less liable to degrade. Medium movement in service. Moderately durable. The heartwood is resistant to preservative treatment and the sapwood moderately resistant.
Quality furniture and cabinetmaking, joinery, shop fitting, office furniture, solid doors, boat building, musical instruments, sports goods, counter tops and flooring. Extensively used as a constructional veneer for plywood and selected logs are sliced for panelling and decorative face veneers for cabinets and marquetry, etc.